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Teaching and Learning Application ‘Ecosystem’ Sprouts From Internet2 NET+ Providers, Box and Instructure

Aug 12, 2013, by Shelton Waggener
Tags: Box, Canvas, Community-Driven Innovation, Executive Insights, InCommon, Innovation Platform, Instructure Canvas, Internet2 NET+, Products & Services

Think about the amount of information you have instant access to through your app-enabled smartphone. Today with a “tap” from anywhere you can access a unified environment of applications, data, and services that in the “old days” (if you were lucky), would have been available to your desktop computer. Barriers to working together have fallen and productivity has soared, while device cost has continued to decline. Now, consider how those same advances have the potential to revolutionize teaching and learning. For over 15 years, the Internet2 community has embraced collaboration and worked to enhance access to leading edge research and teaching innovations, and it’s terrific to have industry members who increasingly share that philosophy.

One of the early Internet2 NET+ service provider partners, Box, recently announced the unveiling of a new collaboration ecosystem specifically focused on education. I think it’s a major step toward empowering educators and students to work together to create better learning outcomes using cloud technologies. Noting a recent survey of US college faculty using Box, 86% think online and mobile tools make it easier for students to learn, but only 34% are using any education-focused apps. In another survey, Box found that 50% of US college students are using Box to do school work on a daily basis on their smartphones and tablets. Box’s new ecosystem aims to enable a Content + Collaboration + Mobile platform that provides a wealth of next-generation tools to enhance productivity for students, teachers and administrators.

Box’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise, Whitney Bouck, said of the announcement: “Future success for students and educators will be dependent on how well we integrate technology into our modern learning environments.” We couldn’t agree more, Whitney! And, we should add that a next-generation environment of tailored cloud, trust, and advanced network applications deployed through a new unified, innovation platform will help research and education (R&E) leaders accelerate a new era of learning, application development and research breakthroughs that have a rich legacy of driving national competitiveness and improving the global collective.

Collaboration is key to innovation, and the announcement flexes collaborative muscle by partnering with Box’s fellow Internet2 NET+ service provider and the leading learning management system, Canvas, by Instructure. Together, they are providing tools for educators to manage their classrooms in new ways. Further, by integrating Box and Crocodoc technology to enhance user experience and building a new network of OneCloud partners, Box is catalyzing development of mobile solutions for education “use cases” that enable students, teachers, and parents to store files in a central place, and to access and review them quickly.

Box also provided some lagniappe (as creoles know – a “little extra”) for the R&E community by officially joining Internet2′s InCommon – higher education’s trusted identity standard for over 6 million individuals in R&E – making user identity integration easier, faster and more manageable for universities with Box and all other applications.

We salute Box and Instructure for these new developments, and look forward to seeing their impacts.