General

EDUCAUSE: Seven Things Review

What is it?

EDUCAUSE: Seven Things is a series of concise reports that provide brief snapshots of trends within emerging learning technologies and IT in higher education. The series covers a broad range of topics such as, Connected Learning, MOOCs, and Video Communication, to name only a few. Each report answers seven questions about a single learning technology, practice or concept:

1. What is it?

2. How does it work?

3. Who’s doing it?

4. Why is it significant?

5. What are the downsides?

6. Where is it going?

7. What are the implications for higher education?

 

2. How does it work?

Each issue tackles one technology, starting with a scenario that illustrates how it would work in the  real world when its potential is fully realized. This makes it very easy to grasp the key features of the technology and is the first step to imagining how it could be used in one’s own context. The seven questions follow, exploring both the pros and cons and potential of the technology.

 

3. Who’s doing it?

EDUCAUSE Learning Initative (ELI) is a subset of the not-for-profit EDUCAUSE dedicated to promoting the advancement of learning technology.

 

4. Why  is it significant?

Within a profession subject to information overload, the Seven Things series is particularly useful for identifying key learning technology trends to technical readers, and identifying and explaining them to  non-technical readers. As the reports are written in non-technical language, they are very accessible to educators, venturers and others outside the immediate field of learning technology, such as decision makers within an institution that may lack knowledge or context of an emerging trend.

As well, the seven question format is a valuable organising principle and according to the Seven Things About Seven Things issue, has been copied extensively (for example, this review).

 

5. What are the downsides?

The series is designed as an essential overview of a single learning technology topic, therefore, it is a great place to start an investigation. Further reading is required to develop an in-depth understanding of the subject. Technical minds may crave more practical details.

 

6. Where is it going?

Wherever emerging technologies dictate. The publication is on its 100th issue since 2005.

 

7. What are its  implications?

This resource would be my first port of call for any new learning technology or trend that I needed to grasp quickly. Because the audience is not limited to learning technologists or IT specialists, I would recommend it to venturers and other educationalists, as well as colleagues.

Average: 2.9/5 Stars

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