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I am beginning to get a feel for the ‘tsunami strategy’ that Google envisions for Google Classroom.
K-12 Google Classroom—>University Google Classroom—>Life Google Classroom
Once one has invested in the Google ecosystem it becomes too sticky to leave, a honey trap of free tools and services so useful that leaving is inconceivable. Once a school is vested in Google Classrooms it is like Blackboard has become at my university only cheap/free. Blackboard is tied into our authentication system (Banner), it has its own servers (and server admins), and has a yearly licensing fee. I think it conservatively costs our university about $300K a year to run.
Why aren’t we using Google Classroom? Because Blackboard has that same kind of sticky use factor. Faculty, administration, students all have their tongues frozen to that flagpole. Better the devil we know than the cheaper, proprietary, profit-based devil we don’t.
Proves the point that just as in the financial world, there are learning management systems too big to fail. And that cartel practice seems to be what all of the players aspire to be.
I don’t trust any of them. Cheap (aka the Goog) carries with it the risk of abandonment. Google has done it before. Expensive and proprietary carries with it the same risk, but perhaps in a different direction: increasing costs brought on by monopoly practice or Google sees the way to buy out a majority share in the online learning market by acquiring and shuttering Blackboard.
Google might be able to accomplish all of this just by doing what it is already doing with its 50 million teachers and learners–creating a ‘tidal wave of inevitable’ that universities with shrinking enrollments and budgets must accede to. Other learning management systems will simply be sacrificed on the altar of expedience. Besides, Google has told us its corporate mission is to do no evil. Right? I triple dog dare you to say otherwise.