Is Technology Convergence Disruptive in Education? You Decide
I recently read an interesting article entitled "What the Educational Technology World Can Expect - Convergence, Product Evolution, and Problems with Metadata Management" by Roy Renalds. In this article, Renalds raises some interesting points about how technology convergence is disruptive in education. Below is a section from his article that I found very compelling.
"Technology Convergence is particularly disruptive in educational technology because our industry has had a long history of individual systems when it comes to technology devices and other products — textbooks, workbooks, computers, classrooms, etc.
And this is why tablets will be the most disruptive device to hit education since the introduction of the Web. They offer a convergence of lifestyle and mobile productivity that will likely change how learners access and interact with content as well as how they produce it and then share with others.
I know that many folks have trouble seeing how this will happen. “The iPad isn’t really for e-books,” they might say. Or, “It’s not robust enough for certain productivity tasks students will need to perform.”
While those concerns may be accurate at the moment, however, they reflect a point of view that is looking at tablet devices from an older, siloed perspective.
Tablets aren’t e-readers and they aren’t word processors. However, they do both of those things reasonably well (and will get better), and they are also ideal research and information consumption devices, and they support a wide array mobile communication options. And its precisely because they do all of these things, and play movies, and play music, and bring you the news, and are ultra portable, and cost under $500, that they will dominate the student market and disrupt education.
No, students may not be purchasing tablets as e-readers or as word processing devices but they will use them for these tasks simply because convergence is the path of least resistance. Generally speaking, folks (students especially) will opt for the device(s) that is the easiest to use and provides the greatest array of functionality for lifestyle and study.
So, yes, it matters that in the December quarter iPad sales accounted for approximately 7% of the global PC market. By fall 2012, tablet devices will account for 25% of the computing devices in Higher Education. "