Digital distribution of text, books, videos and games drives the marginal cost toward zero. Conventional economics says that this should also drive the price toward zero. Thus, we have Digital Abundance. The trouble is, creators of this content still need things that are scarce like housing, food and clothing. Publishing exists at the border of these two worlds – digital abundance and conventional scarcity. There are a number of ways to deal with this ranging from the artificial scarcity of DRM to service-based offerings. Best practices are still evolving.
School is a game. Using Bernard Suits’ definition, it has a goal, rules, feedback and voluntary participation. But the existing “Game of School” was designed around scarcity of teacher time and material resources. Digital abundance will change education just as it has changed publishing. Learning can be mass customized in ways similar to online publishing. This opportunity arises just as society is turning toward education as our solution to poverty.
But you can’t just take school, add technology, mix and serve. Breakthrough education solutions that serve the most needy in our society will require the joint efforts of innovative publishers, pioneering schools and supporting data systems. The work is already underway. We want you to participate.
This session is sponsored by Shared Learning Collaborative
Brandt Redd is Senior Technology Officer for Education Programs at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With more than 25 years of experience in computer software, digital media and education he has served as a software engineer, project manager, DBA, chief scientist and CTO.
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