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RE: Proposed W3C priorities for education

From: Marcos Caceres <marcos@marcosc.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:13:12 +1000
To: crispin.weston@saltis.org
Cc: "public-most-important-priorities@w3.org" <public-most-important-priorities@w3.org>, "Michael Champion (MS OPEN TECH)" <michael.champion@microsoft.com>
Message-ID: <etPan.54e46631.1f16e9e8.dabe@Zero-privacy.local>

On February 18, 2015 at 7:19:36 PM, Crispin Weston (crispin.weston@saltis.org) wrote:
> Thank you Marcos.
> I understand what you are both saying about the Core Group, in which I am not myself participating.  
> However, I am now somewhat confused about what the Education Group is meant to be doing.  

Personally, I would hope you would do exactly what I suggested. Go forth, make something great and expose limitations in the platform.  

> My paper was intended for the Education Group, which appears to share a mailing list with  
> the Core Group. I assumed that the existence of this group presupposes that W3C is interested  
> in getting involved in the education vertical. 

Yes, that would be correct - I imagine everyone at the W3C wants to see web technology being used in pedagogical contexts (as opposed to, say, iOS-only apps that are limited to only wealthy people). Jeff, as CEO, I imagine will have more ideas about how the W3C can assist educational institutions participate in the standards setting process. I was hoping the Ars Technica article can help serve as a model for how to force change where needed (and if needed!). 

> I understood that the scope of the group was to look at what education needs from the web. 

This is correct - but what has been presented so far seems to only cement that what the web provides is adequate (it talks about leveraging various existing standards, which is fantastic because it seems "the system works"). There are a set of underpinning formats, protocols, and APIs that constitute "the Web" (for simplicity, let's call that HTML5). 

Again, in what way is HTML5 failing the needs of educators or those building educational software? Is the underlying technology flawed/limited in a particular way? Where are these protocols, formats, and APIs failing to deliver? 

> If I was wrong in that and the scope of the  
> Education Group is just to bring recommendations for modifications to the underlying  
> Web Platform, then, as you suggest, it seems unlikely to me that it has anything of substance  
> to contribute. Or maybe we just have a case of crossed wires?

Maybe wires got cross somewhere - evolving pedagogical approaches are not really the concern of the Web (that would be good for a CG, however): that the Web can enable stable expression and innovation within the domain of education (through its protocols, formats, and APIs) is a core concern of the Web platform - specially if the Web is somehow not enabling that to happen for educators and students alike. 

I can give you another example I'm working on right now. Today, we can't control playback of media in the browser through play/pause/ffwd/rewind buttons. Imagine a student is watching a lecture online and taking notes, it would be nice if the student was able to simply press the play/pause button on their headset to pause playback of the lecture. This would allow them to take notes and/or complete an exercise - then resume playback of a lecture without needing to actually touch a pause button on the screen (instead they could use the play/pause button on their headset). It's simple things like that which can enable simple, and pleasurable, pedagogical experiences.   

See: https://github.com/whatwg/media-keys

If we don't get use cases like the above, we won't be able to act on anything you are proposing at the core level. We need simple, clear, problem examples and descriptions that we can act on. Again, I urge you to look at the responsive images use cases: this again enables a mass amount of powerful use cases and solves a real problem affective millions of people today. If the responsive images project is successful, we should see a significant reduction on the amount of data being sent across the internet in the coming years - everyone benefits, not just one community.    

Hope that helps! 
Received on Wednesday, 18 February 2015 10:15:46 UTC

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