The real power of the Gates Next Generation Learning Challenge is not the money, although that helps, but the ability to focus the problems in higher education around a defined set of issues. Gates has us all speaking the same language.
In talking with Cameron Evans (Microsoft), Ray Henderson (Blackboard), and Don Kilburn (Pearson), the conversation kept coming back to the role that their companies can play in addressing the issues that have been identified by Gates.
Leadership from technology, LMS, and publishing companies are now all focused on utilizing the power of their companies to work on the specific issues that the Next Generation Learning Challenges are designed to address.
This is different. Gates and the Next Generation Learning Challenge has changed the conversation – and I think that this new conversation is the big story to come out of EDUCAUSE 2010.