Inspirational keynotes are great, but this was the one I anticipated the most. The Blackboard corporate keynote is typically the venue for announcing new cool educational technology. I was not disappointed.
Blackboard CEO, Michael Chasen, opened the corporate keynote with an entertaining animation on the active learner (see first 2 minutes). The complete (1 hr 15 min) keynote was just made available:
The real news, the highlight of the keynote, in my opinion, was the Chasen's announcement of a new ground breaking product...
|Michael Chasen announces xpLor|
Project XP: xpLor
XP stands for "cross-platform" and Lor stands for "learning object repository". Yes, finally a way for faculty content experts to share and consume modular learning objects - no matter what learning management system they use! Easily shareable cross-platform learning content has been the holy grail of learning technology for at least the 20+ years I've been in this business. I hope they succeed.
Chasen introduced David Mills (founder of ANGEL Learning) who has been quietly working on Project XP in his new role as the Chief Technology Officer at MoodleRooms (recently acquired by Blackboard).
Though the web app is still in alpha, David did a live demo of xpLor showing how faculty can search and instantly embed free learning objects from other sources (e.g, MIT, Stanford, Khan Academy) into his or her learning management system (Blackboard Learn, Sakai or Moodle). The system takes advantage of the IMS Common Cartridge and IMS Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standards to make it truly cross-platform. Of course, faculty can generate their own xpLor modules complete with tests that feed back to the host LMS gradebook. Will this make native LMS learning modules obsolete?
Chasen then introduced three of his division leaders, Ray Henderson, Katie Blot, and Kayvon Beykour who drummed even more excitement about Blackboard’s future.
Blackboard Learn Fundamentals
Ray Henderson, Chief Technology Officer and President of Academic Platforms, discussed recent advances and the future roadmap for Learn, Blackboard’s keystone education platform. Here are some of his announcements with links to more information:
- New 2-Way SMS Platform (ConnectTxt is used by more than half of all colleges and universities in the UK)
- McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley, and Cengage learning content now fully integrated with Bb Learn
- Improved support, cohort programs, new openness (LTI, Scorm, Oscelot, LIS, CAS, Common Cartridge), and transparency
- Bb Learn innovations: improved global navigation, assessment insight, and item analysis in SP8; enterprise surveys (free), text messaging in SP10
- Bb Analytics for Learn: new dashboards for improved decision making
- Bb Collaborate v12 will improve integration, including grade book, and support mobile delivery
- Bb Social: social learning coming in the fall for FREE with Community module! Stream status, Spaces (clubs etc) very cool.
|Sketch notes by Gerren Lamson|
Bb New Professional Services
Katie Blot, President of Global Services Division, presented on new professional services aimed at expanding program and course development, marketing, and student lifecycle support services.
Bb Mobile Showcase
Kayvon Beykpour, General Manager of Blackboard Mobile and founder of Terribly Clever Design, showcased some great new capabilities in the Blackboard Mobile Learn and Mobile Central offerings:
- Mobile Central enhancements to maps include augmented reality
- Mobile Learn enhancements include mobile assessments
- Usage and analytics are now available via reporting tools in Mobile
- Push notifications were also recently released to provide more timely notifications
- Bb announces an End User License option for students to purchase a $1.99 1 year license or an unlimited license at $5.99
|Sketch notes by Gerren Lamson|