The C in ICT
I remember Larry Ellison holding up that fake circuit board and pronouncing the era of the thin client – the circuit board was allegedly something they just picked up and pretended to be the board for the thin client. Anyway, that never really materialised and acts as an example that it is difficult to make the future – WAP never took off but TXT did – no one made TXT happen.
What we have emerging now is a combination of thin and fat client – a connected and on-line world – being on-line is what matters – it’s the C in ICT. Google mobile maps is an example – you have a small application on your device and information is downloaded just in time as required – you don’t download the whole thing all at once. The Microsoft Sea Dragon project is a similar example where you only download the bit you actually need at the time.
Finally, practical web resources are exploitable for use and getting better.
What does this mean for colleges:
I was once the proud early manager of a full offering to our students – every student had a college mailbox and storage space – we could offer far greater space and functionality than could be had on the Internet.
Today 1Gb mobile memory costs about £8 and you can have more than 1Gb of storage on most Internet mail systems. 30Gb memory sticks already exist – it won’t be long before we can buy 100Gb memory sticks – where once we paid £1 per Mb we will be paying £1 per Gb.
It makes sense for colleges to make use of available resources – students use their own Internet mail, web spaces, web storage or local storage –why not use your phone to store your files (more about phones in a later blog).
I can see the changes – instead of buying, installing, maintaining, securing and backing up student mail and storage servers students use their own and have responsibility for their own resources. College’s will act as communications hubs – somewhere you can physically socialise (meet teachers and fellow learners) and somewhere you can connect to good bandwidth. College IT will provide a network and less servers. Carrying this argument forward you could see that the building would be used by fewer people simultaneously and we could make do with less space – there would be less need for such large institutions – we could operate from a greater number of smaller centres and of course out of other institutions (more about this in a future blog)
The summary of this blog is that we need to look at ways of using what students already have access to – google mail, myspace, memory sticks, smartphones, youtube etc etc
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