Some 10 years ago,, it would have been hard to imagine a classroom without printed textbooks. But today, textbooks are being abandoned in lieu of 'leaner' and more cost effective alternatives. This trend is being observed in the adoption of large scale content and collaboration platforms as well. Techcrunch, a popular online site tracking technology trends, observes that schools now choose "collaborative stream-based social environments" like Edmodo over monolithic platforms such as Blackboard and Moodle. Edmodo's dominance in the Ed Tech market is certainly impressive, having amassed over 18 million users in 6 years.
This is what we see today: schools are increasingly choosing an a la carte model for not just their collaborative needs, but also for their content and curriculum. They are cherry-picking products and solutions to address specific needs, rather than one textbook or platform that attempts to serve every classroom need (and often fails) Teachers have been doing this for years with their lesson plans. Assembling a binder of curriculum materials instead of using a single textbook. Now, schools are beginning to adopt a similar approach with technology products - putting together a "binder of virtual products" from different vendors to meet specific goals such as planning a lesson, teaching concepts, assessing students or sharing best practices with peer teachers.
The challenge for solution providers is to ensure that the products within this "virtual binder" can interact with each other seamlessly, wherever necessary. But the days of monolithic solutions might be passe, don't you think?