Received a very interesting comment from Simonfj (who only identifies with EDNAGroups 😦 regarding my post relating to Glen Davies’ thoughts and ideas from the Rob Curley keynote. I finished that post expressing the usual frustrations of trying to get institutionalised teaching practices, and institutionalised learner expectations to change and start adopting a far more multi media, web2 approach. I said, “how do we get this market to the conversation” – referring to the Cluetrain of course.

Simonfj inverted the slogan and asks how do we get this conversation to market, making some observations of the comparativesuccesses that web2 has in attracting numbers of people when compared to a classroom.

We can compare the mindsets (and their results). (institutionalized) Teachers will use Web tools to communicate but try and keep their media limited to their local PLU’s.
Market growers will look to their global peers and create environments to help them learn from one another.

..and there are those who straddle both.

I recently unplugged myself entirely from EdNAgroups, and I’ve noticed a few edubloggers stating a similar decision. I want to focus on the glocalisation, and am tired of the introverted discussion in may arenas, sapping the energy of people who would clearly be better off having their views considered by a wider network.

Simon finished with this strange line however:

One thing we do know. Peers can only change institutions from the inside. Otherwise all they can do is set up a blog, wiki, etc and throw stones at them.

I’m not sure where Simons perspective comes from on this. What is the effectiveness of those ‘stones’ if we consider their impact on other institutions like politics and elections, journalism, and marketing… just to name a few biggies. And most people I know who work on the ‘inside’ say its almost impossible to seed change there.

I think 2007 will be an interesting year for the adoption of the new socially networked, open source practices. The change agitation has been building in pressure on/in institutions for some time now, I’d hope that at least a few of the suggestions for socially networked and open source will have made it through and there will be a suit of attempts towards those new practices. I’d expect 2 big crashes for every 1 project that makes it through though – as this is the second wave, and earlier adopter euphoria and persistent passion has started to wear off. For those institutions with extreme web filtering turned on, and huge investment on what amounts to nothing but an expensive reinvention of a wheel (sharepoint for example), I’d expect almost 100% failure. See Simon’s comments.

As an interesting relation to this topic Alec Couros has pointed to a turn of events over at BECTA. Perhaps this is an indication for what 2007 will bring – the year where the end began. BECTA released a report last year (or was it the year before) that basically said open source in education is a good thing for UK schools and saves a lot of money. They are currently working on a report on Microsoft Vista and Office 2007 with some initially damning comments we should all make sure our IT departments see. The bewildering bit about it all though, is the fact that BECTA is continuing their Microsoft contract.

To me, this is the sign that the end for Microsoft’s monopoly in Institutionalised Education has begun. BECTA’s left hand is not yet getting heard by its right hand, but is getting heard loud and clear by the BECTA readership. This will have an inevitable end, unless that right hand is corrupt. When in the face of its own research BECTA’s right hand cannot rationally justify its continued relationship with proprietary software like MS, then the left hands suggestions will take hold. BECTA will adopt open source technologies, a few other educational flagship will follow suite and the snowball will roll. OpenSource usability and reliability will surpass proprietary software, the user base will grow, more product developers and service providers will include support for open source, the market will shift etc. Not all this in 2007, indeed most of it is already happening, but the clear beginnings of socially networked, open source change in instutionalised education will occur in 2007.