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The world is flat, but not frictionless.

kirk-st-amantDuring my search for Canvas LMS migration topics, I came across the site for the Clemson University “National Distance Learning Week 2014“.  The Keynote Address. “Rethinking Online Education for the Age of Globalization: Recognizing Risks and Realizing Rewards was by ECU professor, Kirk St. Amant.

In the presentation, Dr. St. Amant stated that “the world is flat,… but not frictionless.  Friction points: Anything that slows the flow of information and ideas across the surface of the flat earth.”  He then went on to list 10 friction point considerations:

  • Platforms and delivery
  • Software and compatibility
  • Timing and infrastructure
  • Credit and accreditation
  • Financing and payment
  • Laws and policies
  • Ethics and expectations
  • Language and translation
  • Global students and local focus
  • Scale and sustainability

Emerging economies (formerly referenced as “developing nations”).  These are the locations to focus upon regarding growth in Internet access and online education:

  • Brazil
  • Russia
  • India
  • China

He made a point that emerging economies have in some cases “leap frogged” certain technologies (laptops/PCs have been replaced by hand-held devices, smartphones/tablets) as the choice for online education and that you have to plan for and offer multiple contingencies for loss of Internet connectivity.

And of course, when I hear these things, I immediately start to think about the power of WordPress as a mobile communications tool that is responsive (dumbs itself down depending upon the device being used – PC, laptop, tablet, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphone, etc.).  I can both create and deliver content easily from a device with WordPress, or using its email posting capabilities.  The Internet is unavailable, I can still create multiple email postings, and then when I have connectivity again, they are automatically sent and posted.

I also think about something like Screenly and a Raspberry Pi.  The app will continue to rotate the display items even if connectivity has been lost, and then once connected again will download content and make any schedule changes that were made during the outage.


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