Educause Recap 2014 – Lecture Capture, Accessibility and More

Another Educause has come and gone, in bally and storm ridden Orlando this go around but the action was just as intense inside the oversized Orlando Convention Center.  What the education community may or may not know is ed tech players like Kaltura have a love / hate relationship with the conference.  Its a grueling, exhausting few days that are in parallel the most amazing 72 hrs of meeting the players and participants in the ever evolving ecosphere of educational technology.  300 sessions, 270 exhibitors, over 500 speakers leads to incredible interaction, comradery and face paced moment to take the pulse of technology’s advancement (or lack thereof) in impacting education.
The themes of this years conference were in line with past years –  analytics, social, mobile, adapting learning, personalized learning, standards advancement, retention, ROI, etc.  While many major trends evolve over time, this year appeared similar to the key buzz words we have dwelt upon the last year.  What stood out as unique compared to previous years was the international attendance.  There is an intense hunger from leading institutions worldwide to understand what tools and best practices are supporting online learning.  Of the 800 people that visited Kaltura’s booth over a 48hr time period –  roughly 20% came from international institutions.  Japan, Italy, Brazil, Russia, – while our translations were not always perfect – each engaged in a passionate demonstration and discussion of video’s potential impact on their students and faculty success.  In many of these countries the completion rates are worse than the US and their populations / economies are demanding a scalable infrastructure to support explosive online learning.  Kaltura is eager to be that enterprise layer that will bring video (live and on demand) video to life.
As I scanned sessions, listening to presenters and engaging with a hundred ed tech organizations the hyping of “the next big thing” was a bit subdued.  Typically there would be consistent grand proclamations of “the next biggest widget in edu” being proclaimed by publishers and tech companies alike; but Educause 2014 was slightly more restrained.  My hypothesis – the hype, sizzle and potential flatline of the MOOC buzz and rhetoric has exhausted the community.  What was pledged to completely disrupt our space, has of course made an impression in marketing action and inspired technical innovation, but more of the same exists as 24 months ago.  Campuses are still trying to drive more online positive experiences, improve learning outcomes, meet rising consumer expectations, balance fiscal concerns, curb student debt, just as before.  The old saying is “evolution not revolution” and our market continues to evolve in incremental ways to tweak all aspects of the learning process.
On our front, Kaltura shared major announcements just prior and leading up to the conference.  First we announced the expansion of our Video Creativity Suite including CaptureSpace which, based upon initial client feedback will provide some much needed simplification to the personal video capture experience.  This new product, by far, was generating the most buzz during the conference.  Confirming our recent report that 46% of the education community feels there still are not sufficient tools for faculty to leverage video in learning experiences, the promise of CaptureSpace to ease video capture, management and distribution – and unleash student and faculty creativity is great.  Secondly, we announced the formation of our Accessibility Advisory Board.  See the full press release here, but in essence some leading institutions are partnering with Kaltura to advance accessibility standards.  From searchability, metadata standards, and best practice advisory we are anxious to see where we can improve our already market leading players, applications and toolkits.
So we are exhausted physically after a sprint race of meetings and presentations at Educause – but mentally fired up about the opportunity ahead to advance student outcomes improvement with our partner institutions, districts and ed tech partners.  With over 150 institutions joining the Kaltura community in the last 12 months there is much to do to continue supporting our world class education partners in fulfilling their academic mission.
It is almost a given certainty we will return to overhyping the “next big thing” in education but in the meantime, we at Kaltura are building evolutionary and revolutionary toolkits to bring student and faculty engagement to the masses with the most complete, accessible and simple video toolkits in education.

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