Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Campus Technology 2008 – Keynote Address

8:30 am

I’m sitting in the keynote address hall for A ‘New’ American University for Next-Gen Learners presented by Adrian Sannier. He is with Arizona State University and will talk about six transitions to the new university. Rightfully calls us a “roomful of geeks.”

He defends the name of his presentation, A New American University. In the previous century universities tried to emulate the likes of Harvard and Berkeley. What makes them great is they are selective, which means you can’t go. We need to change what “access” to college means. It means reaching out to the community. The 21st century won’t be like the 20th century. What are the people going to do if they don’t get a higher education. They won’t be able to participate in the economy.

We have faith in only one thing in this country: technology. There will be all kinds of presentations around wikis and blogs and its exciting he said.

Looks back at “promises” made in the 20th century. When 2001 came around there was no HAL like in 2001, no moon base, no flying cars. But some predictions did come true. We now have a form of telepathy in the form of instant communication. It has crept up on us, but it is taken for granted by our children. It’s incredible the way they communicate. It’s like a giant hive mind.

The singularity is coming and the kids are closer to it then we are.

Says that the Encyclopedia Britannica is the greatest invention, but notes that no one has read it. Millions of copies have been sold, but no one read it. It used to be what every high school report was built upon. Then along came Wikipedia and now its free.

He notes that Amazon.con can pick out better gifts for his mother than he can.

Took 85 years to get 80% of households to adopt the landline telephone.

Think about bundled services where you get television, internet, and telephone in one service.

Universities need a revolution in technology because they are falling behind in the technology game.

Teaching kids multi-column addition like they will be a bookkeeper in 1935 will not last long. Calculators don’t matter any longer. Only ones that use it are kids in school because they can’t use computers. He railed against his son’s schools because they banned all technology. “They can teach them like its 1950 and they can work in a factory. Except there are no factories.”

He said schools are still “sage on the stage” and tell him on tests what he told us. He rails against the dullness of the classroom. “That’s the dirty little secret, schools are dull.” Next-gen students are saying we will tune you out until you tune us in.

Frank Rhodes, President Emeritus of Cornell, “most instruction is still a cottage industry…they have not diverged much from Socrates, except that they moved indoors.”

John Chambers in Forbes magazine “Many agree technology should play a role in education, but they don’t know what role it will play in our future.”

Six keys for the future

  1. From Context to Core: The enabling transformation – most difficult, but most critical – it liberates resources. We have been spending money on technology for the last 30 years. – In the early 1990s we had better technology than industry. Universities are the cottage industry for IT. It’s all about climbing the value stream.

    Core Processes: The processes that differentiate you from competition everything else is context. Have to spend 80% of your budget on core processes, rather than 20%. No strategic advantage in investing in IT, industry has already done it. IT and bandwidth is like electricity (statement by Nicholas Carr in The Big Switch).

    Concept of “1”: Reduce redundency in context, the things that people do not buy your offerings.

    Concept of “0”:
    Don’t do it, get someone else to do it, someone bigger, richer, and more powerful. At ASU they hired Google to provide 65,000 students with email, storage, etc. Google delivered it in two weeks and saved them $400,000. From a corporate perspective, could Google provide similar services in a secure manner?
  2. From info to Intelligence: ASU partnered with Oracle to manage information and transform it it into knowledge.
  3. From Cattle-car to 1:1 No more forcing them into one form of technology. IT need to support virus-laden student laptops, not building the next email system. Also provide value in software, web-delivered services, etc.
  4. From Cop to Concierge: IT too busy prohibiting things then helping students. Web sites are constructed that way. Finding info on university websites is like playing Twister. Calls for “Amizon.com-ification” website presence, there is no proprietary web page. To get there you need “Prune Concentrate” that requires pruning your website. ASU has thousands of webpages, but only 50 are getting the majority of hits. These should be concentrated in a single location. Help desks must be available 24/7.
  5. Physical to digital: Burn down the library; all books are digitized. Single search brings up everything we have. Publishing should be digital as well, don’t need professional publishers. Remove the cost to look at the published documents.
  6. From Traditional to Hybrid: Don’t know how to do this. We’re tool rich, but the problem is culture. The faculty don’t believe this. Faculty believe only technology they need is death ray from their eyes.

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