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  • mcquaid 11:53 am on November 20, 2011
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    Tags: , , , Ventures   

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/creators-canadian-designed-tablet-hope-bring-internet-entire-112507389.html Interesting venture-related article on a couple of Canadians hoping to get $60 tablets (running on $2/month limitless Internet plans that run on cellular networks) in the hands of the entire world. In a somewhat-related story, I was talking about augmented reality with a couple of musician friends of mine before a show yesterday (they […]

    Continue reading Tablets for several billion people… Posted in: Blog Café, Week 06: eBooks, Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 7:21 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Read up on what happened with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project. It’s considered by some as a pretty massive failure because they didn’t budget for training people how to use the machines, or maintaining the machines, or providing necessary infrastructure for machines.

    • mcquaid 2:59 am on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m familiar with the project – even used one of the devices once. I haven’t read much about its downfall, though – maybe when I’m done of this program and have some extra time!

      • kstooshnov 2:16 pm on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Stephen,

        There was quite a lot of reading on the OLPC for ETEC 510, one of the core courses in the MET program. You could even develop an Augmented Reality entry for the UBC Design Wiki, if you are interested in taking this course sometime soon.


  • bcourey 8:46 am on October 9, 2011
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    Tags: , Ventures   

    I realize that this has nothing to do with the Emerging Markets Analysis conversations going on right now (or maybe it really does) but I do know that we are all digging into our Assignment # 1.  I ran into this blog post through Twitter, from a colleague that I highly respect, and it is […]

    Continue reading Ventures in Education…why they fail? Posted in: Blog Café
    • Karen Jones 12:33 pm on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Wow! Excellent article, Brenda.

      I think it is an interesting jumping off point from which to consider Assignment 3, and one that makes you question your own assumptions and motivations regarding educational ventures. It also strikes at the heart of why it is taking so long to change the traditional industrial approach to education, even in the face of a multitude of technological opportunities.

      Like it! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • jarvise 2:59 pm on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Brenda,

      That was great! I started reading it and thought “oh no, this looks long” but soon enough, I moved from skimming to reading. He makes some good points I never considered.

      I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot (and discussing it with all my educator friends, whether they like it or not). I have been reaching a few conclusions. One is the fact that a lot of people who are buying for education (district or board level) are doing so on someone’s advice. Education seems to be an area where a couple of good anecdotal reports, backed by a pretty good product and some cash means an investment. A lot of times, the people making the buying decisions aren’t business people. They are education people. How do you get your product positioned to get considered? How do you create good buzz among educators with purchasing power? Maybe this author is right, and this is a market to avoid.

      I came away from this article with another piece of concluding evidence. Targeting to a market that has students who are generally “screwed” (in his words) is a way to go. Being in an Aboriginal education situation, I have seen large expenditures be made on new programs or ideas, many of which do not last more than a few years. The risk I see with focusing on populations that are seeking a big change (this author points out the poor; I’ll extend that here to Aboriginal ed) is that if a positive change does not become evident in 3-4 years, often times they will move on to the next target. I’m not sure how that plays out for the entrepreneur, but major educational gains in such a short period seems unlikely.

      Assignment 3 considerations are starting to wake me up at night, and my poor husband gets the glazed-over look when I start trying to engage him in the discussion.

      Thanks for providing another ear…


      • bcourey 4:59 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Happy to be an ear Emily! Working in our central office, and watching some of the decision making about technology is a real eye-opener. Our IT department is part of a department called Corporate Services – headed by the business Superintendent. Most times, the purchases of hardware and software is done without a single consultation of the curriculum departments…it is based on costs and sales pitches with the focus on value for the dollar, not value for the learning. It amazes me! Another example of screwing those that need the most help is the Bring Your Own Device model – one that we are about to step into…how do we ensure equity for those who don’t have devices? I am having trouble getting the conversation on the table.

    • David Vogt 7:55 pm on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I hadn’t seen this, Brenda – thanks!

      I find most of what he says completely valid, but not necessarily relevant to all ventures. It’s worth reading this blog posting together with this weekend’s New York Times article on educational software that doesn’t deliver on its promises.

      The point is, like almost every market, you can target people who are screwed and make money by screwing them even more (promise lots, but deliver little). The $100 laptop fad to poor countries was a great (incredibly expensive) example.

      There are other ways of doing business, and our lamented friend Steve Jobs is one example there.


      • jarvise 7:16 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi David,

        Great article as well. This supports my anecdotal evidence that educators buying learning technologies often do so based on anecdotal evidence. I wonder if this means that in order to effectively market to this, one should use word of mouth type of marketing. If people are not really evaluating something (scientifically speaking) before a purchase, then a key strategy might be to use social networking avenues for marketing. This feels like word of mouth. Alternately, positioning yourself and your product where there are lots of educators with buying power (conventions?).


    • bcourey 5:02 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the article David! I will be showing that one at my office! Another example of how we can take pitches at face value, even though we all know that data can be skewed to say anything we need it to say – we often don’t take the time to investigate more thoroughly.

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