Education technology expert Leo Gaggl has warned IT consumers against the dangers of accepting technology monocultures over competitive diversity.
In a blog posted on Saturday, Mr. Gaggl advises that sourcing products from a single company to reduce complexity from technology, it is a lure.
Mr. Gaggl’s blog, called We Need to Talk about Standards, warns that creating an artificial IT monoculture is a very dangerous one.
“My (now distant) agricultural background alone tells me that no monoculture is sustainable in the long run,” Mr. Gaggl writes. “They do initially reduce complexity, allowing “economies of scale” to develop and reduce some expenditures in the short term.
“However, it’s not a reflection of reality. Life is complex and creating artificial limitations in educational contexts can often produce outcomes that students are struggling in real-life environments where the one tool they are comfortable with is not available.”
Austrian-born Mr. Gaggl is the founder of Brightcookie.com, an Adelaide-based company that supports the delivery of e-learning, such as Moodle and Mahara, and m-learning (mobile learning) by facilitating the use of innovative technologies
Mr. Gaggl wrote his blog post after reading We need to Talk About Androidby Fraser Speirs
“I am not arguing for Android – nor am I arguing against Apple,” he writes. “I am arguing the case for Open Standards - in this context mostly HTML5, but also ePub and similar cross-platform standards - over the ‘seeking refuge in a walled garden’ scenario.
“For me, the walled garden approach is a cop-out. It is taking the easy road. It’s the ‘if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ mindset and, worst of all, we are actually setting this as an example for our kids.
“I have two kids going through high school and I try to show them that there many ways to achieve an outcome. You don’t need Microsoft Word to create a text document nor Adobe Photoshop to manipulate an image.”
While Mr. Gaggl acknowledges the validity of concerns about fragmentation and perceived lack of security in the open systems environment, he argues that any IT professional knows that a closed platform does not mean more security any more than an open platform means less security.
“I think a more complex ecosystem of multiple devices and operating systems actually reflects the real world and learning the concepts of Cybersecurity is something that should be part of our teaching - although a by-product,” he wrote.
“The conclusion to put all your eggs in one basket is in my eyes the wrong one.”
You can read Leo Gaggl’s full blog at http://www.brightcookie.com/2012/09/we-need-to-talk-about-standards/
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