(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes a look at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education and technology.)

To be clear, I don’t really want to talk about the metaverse but, since this is a weekly roundup of the latest articles and posts I’ve collected, I’m pretty much obligated to go where the flow takes me.

And it’s hard to ignore headlines like “10 Institutions Opening ‘Metaversity’ Campuses,” or “Metaverse and Education: What Do We Need to Know?” Which is a good question. At this early stage in the hype cycle, what do we need to know? For starters, it might be helpful to read this post about what people really “own” when they purchase things in the metaverse. Or, it might be worth the time to consider the real costs of embracing VR and the metaverse as teaching and learning technology. You might also enjoy Dave Winer’s brief post on remembrance of simulations past

Another mainstream-education crossover topic was also big in the past week’s news: subscriptions (in particular, related to streaming media). In case you missed it, Netflix announced that it would be introducing new, lower-cost streaming packages that included advertising. The move, along with news of declining growth and a loss of subscribers to competitors caused the company’s stock to drop 37%. But Netflix wasn’t the only streaming media provider to disappoint. After acquiring CNN and closely evaluating the just-launched CNN+ service, Warner Brothers opted to pull the plug.

What’s happening in streaming media? In spite of the great original programming offered by different services — Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon, HBO, Disney, etc. — the cost of multiple subscriptions, along with separate access is proving to be too costly and way too complex for many users. Cable anyone?

For those of you keeping track of the educational content game at home, this is a major challenge for that industry as well. More and more providers offer or are preparing to offer subscription models (for example, here and here). But do they make sense in an ecosystem where we have yet to realize the dream of creating dedicated, loyal lifelong learners? Right now, it feels like we’re just making things more complex.

One of the original (or illusional/delusional) promises of subscriptions was that they would save us money and allow us to get only the programming we really needed. But what to do when things get more complex and we’re still paying too much? In the education world, one answer has been to switch to open educational resources (OER) for course materials and, in some cases, full courses. This past week we had positive OER news regarding their effectiveness in addressing the high cost of course materials, as well as a new report on OER’s potential impact on teaching and equity. The report, created by SRI Education, a division of the nonprofit research institute SRI International, also points to the need for greater institutional support for OER and their development and integration.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Phil Hill’s post, “Let’s Not Romanticize 2019 for Online Learning.” This is an overview of his OLC Innovate 2022 fireside chat with Joe Moreau, Vice-Chancellor Technology for Foothill-DeAnza Community College District. This discussion (video included) addresses the lessons learned from the massive pivot to online learning during the pandemic and how we can apply those lessons to future developments in online learning.

Further Reading

Higher Education

6 Types of Credentials Non-Traditional Students Want

The State Authorization Network (SAN) – Meeting an Important Need

Why One University Is Moving Toward a Subscription Model

Florida bid to change public colleges’ accreditors, add post-tenure review becomes law

Stress prompts 76% of 4-year college students to weigh leaving, survey finds 

Let’s Not Romanticize 2019 for Online Learning

For-profit coding school BloomTech sued over alleged misrepresented job placement rates

Academic freedom can’t be separated from responsibility

K-12 Education

Can learning ecosystems work for all learners?

The Case Against Homework

The Contradiction Between Transparency & Learning Innovation

Dispelling 3 common misconceptions to spur school progress

The Bigger Picture of Charter School Results

Education, Educational Technology, and Learning Design

Newly Updated Statistics On English Language Learners In U.S. Schools

Let’s Not Romanticize 2019 for Online Learning

the power of story

Teachers, students love OER, but officials not all on board

Expensive Textbooks Are Still A Problem. Will Higher Quality OER Help?

OER Sustainability Business Models

What Edtech Can Learn from Covid Vaccines

2022 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition

There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Metaverse (for Education)

10 Institutions Opening ‘Metaversity’ Campuses

Metaverse and Education: What Do We Need to Know?

Why You Should Personalize Corporate Learning With AI

7 Edtech Trends to Watch in 2022: a Startup Guide for Entrepreneur


the power of story

Video: Recognizing and rewarding skills development is more important than ever

Employers Claim to Value Alternative Credentials. Do Their Practices Match Their Promises?

Technology and Culture

Gov. Whitmer Announces First-in-the-U.S. Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging Road System

Twitter Said to Be Re-examining Elon Musk’s $43B Takeover Bid

Netflix stock plummets 37% as CEO says company plans ad-supported tier

Can Netflix Compete With the Real World?

Drones have transformed blood delivery in Rwanda 

Donald Clark Plan B: The Drone War: Ukraine

Musk Says Neuralink Could Treat Obesity, Experts Partly Agree

Here’s the thing about Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of the metaverse

Can you truly own anything in the metaverse? Not really, says a law professor

Tech Wage Inflation Puts Pressure on Companies

Why is Everything Subscription-Based Now?

I Tried a Roboburger Burger Made by a Robot for $7 and It Was Average

DALL-E 2 shows the power of generative deep learning, but raises dispute over AI practices

Being a Web Developer: Expectations vs. Reality

The Programmer’s Brain