Yesterday at the Future Learning 2020 Summit, knowledge platform company EdCast announced a new social media platform that allows people to post snippets of educational content–the verb to describe this activity is called ‘EdCasting’.
Dr. William J. Perry with EdCast CEO Karl Mehta
EdCasting is akin to tweeting, with the difference being that each post is based on a video or link that can be described without being limited to 140 characters. It is meant to be an informal learning ecosystem, where users follow channels or people/groups, and educators can curate relevant content for their followers. Imagine following teachers or mentors and continuing to see content they endorse on an ongoing basis. Unlike Twitter, this is not mixed with personal comments or the latest news, it is a pure-play channel for educational content. Also, there is no “re-sharing”, so that the information flow is not diluted with recycled information–everything in your feed is a hand-selected link or video created by the source you are following. (There is also a Chrome extension that allows people to do EdCasting from wherever they are on the web.)
EdCast launched with an impressive core of initial Edcasters signed up, including the following (for the full list, see the press release):
• Dr. William J. Perry (page), former U.S. Secretary of Defense and head of the Dr. William J. Perry Project, providing public education on the danger of nuclear weapons
• Mitch Kapor (page), founder of venture capital firm Kapor Capital
• Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (page), director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
• John Seely Brown (page), former Chief Scientist and Director of Xerox PARC
• Vivek Wadwha (page), of Singularity University
• Joi Ito (page), Director of MIT Media Labs n Entrepreneurship
• Mark Surman (page), of the Mozilla Foundation
• TJ Bliss (page), of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
• Karl Mehta (page), the outspoken founder of EdCast and nonprofit Code for India
This could be a very intriguing way for educators to keep those they reach up to date on information of interest. Additionally, the platform allows for a seamless transition to courses on the EdCast network–facilitating the transition back and forth from formal and informal learning.
To try it firsthand, I signed up for an account and easily created my own page. When faced with considering what to post, it was a pleasantly unique experience: hmm, what is the best content I can think of to share? I settled on a recent Class Central piece, as well as something from my personal blog…then I thought of something else. Among the video footage I have from the interviews I’ve conducted, there were several pretty interesting snippets. I decided to share one, and it felt good to put it out in the open. Then I did another. And another. Before long, I was in a state of flow which I suppose must have been ‘Edcasting’…and I must say, it felt pretty satisfying…
Will Edcasting survive its initial push by the initial set of content curators and turn into a mainstream thing? Or will it remain a small niche for dedicated educators to funnel information to their accumulated cohort of learners? Or will it wither away altogether for lack of momentum (there is no lack of examples of these…)? Only time will tell. But however things turn out, this will be a good experiment to help pave the way for new & improved ways to support lifelong learning in our modern society.
Feel free to check out Edcast to see for yourself, and comment with your thoughts!