The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) released a report Wednesday pushing for the educational use of new Learning Content Management Systems (LCMS), which help unite the functions of Content Management Systems (CMS) that store online content and authoring tools with those of Learning Management Systems (LMS) that allow for the flexible delivery of online courses.
For the acronym literate among us, a better summary might be:
LMS + CMS = LCMS (FTW!)
And for the rest who had to use Urban Dictionary to figure out “FTW!” is textspeak for “for the win!” (Or more literally, “great point!”), just think of CoSN’s report like this: Using more flexible software that centralizes the merging of social media and blogs with more “traditional” online lessons can enhance the virtual learning experience (Duh?).
The report reflects a push from many in the ed-tech world to bring more flexibility to online components of education, often with cloud applications like Google Docs or other wikis. Ironically, it’s often school technology departments that oppose such a push, in part because of the potential for the wrong person to access sensitive information (More on this from our ISTE 2010 coverage).
There are safeguards for most security concerns. But another obstacle to increasing the flexibility of online tools may be explaining exactly what that means. All those acronyms can look, well, cloudy, but CoSN is just trying to encourage the use of software that centralizes the technology tools whose benefits we already know. We understand that social networks can connect people over long distances for student learning and professional development, and that wikis can adapt to changing information while books can’t.
Wouldn’t calling an LCMS a “common-sense organizational tool” encourage its use among the tech weary more than labeling it, as CoSN’s press release says, as a “cutting-edge” system to “transform teaching and learning”? Or am I losing something in the abbreviations?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.