In this episode of review:ed I had the pleasure to talk with Shiv Rajendran, Director at LanguageLab.com who is a well- known guest on my various shows. We talked about Pearson & Ning, Babbel & Livemocha, India & the $35 USD laptop, eduFire & Camelback Education and asynchronous content, live lessons and social games in education.
Thank you to our sponsor VODBURNER which provides review:ed with great Skype Video Recording & Editing.
Pearson sponsoring educational Ning networks
After Ning’s new CEO decided that there won’t be free offers anymore and the rage of educators who simply cannot (don’t want to) pay for their networks Pearson announced that they would sponsor educational Nings, at least the smallest version.
The question for me was: why? For the backlinks, for publicity? Shiv came up with an interesting point about how much Pearson will get out of this deal data wise, so how much data will Ning share with Pearson about the teachers and students involved. I think this is a good and valid point.
Babbel & Livemocha
Babbel and Livemocha seem to follow two different strategies to get a lead in the race. Babbel invests in technology like the recently released voice recognition feature which was only available with Rosetta Stone’s TOTALe (in a comparable product). Livemocha hired a top executive, Michael Schutzler, and hence invested in human capital.
I think it is great that Livemocha got a CEO with such a track record. It is a positive sign for the entire industry that high profile executives start working for online education startups. It is also a sign that Livemocha is getting serious about business now. Babbel’s investment in technology proves on the other hand that people are interested in products that help them to learn at their own pace and everywhere at any time.
- Babbel now Knows What You are Saying – Introduces Voice Recognition
- The new CEO of Livemocha goes Mobile and Looks Out for the Best Customer
India introduces the $35 USD laptop / tablet
A couple of Indian companies and universities built a laptop / tablet device which only costs $35 USD and the plan is to get the price down to $10 USD. It will be delivered to 110 million students in the country in a first push and the second push will be delivered to higher education.
Shiv and I talked about the impact of this device on the educational landscape. His take on the story with the comparison of that $35 USD device with a currently very popular $499 USD tablet and what people were actually missing in the cheap device (nothing…most likely) was interesting to hear and lead me start thinking in a new direction.
eduFire now part of Camelback Education
Jon Bischke, Founder and CEO of eduFire announced that his platform is now a part of Camelback Education which makes this the first “exit” in our niche. I don’t know any of the details but nevertheless there is of course room for us to speculate. And that’s what Shiv and I did ;).
We also talked about the opportunity that one of the big universities in England would ask Shiv if he would sell LanguageLab to them.
Live Lessons, FNACs, asynchronous Content and Gaming in Education
In the last part of our talk we came to the impact of asynchronous content, the place of live lessons in online education and what role gaming will play in the near future. As LanguageLab is on the forefront of language education using a virtual world based on Second Life I asked Shiv about his experiences and where he sees the educational games compared to regular games in terms of development.