Opening Keynote: Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky

Blackboard’s new CEO, Jay Bhatt, introduced the opening keynote speaker, Clay Shirky, an internet idol or icon, a forward thinker with education and media. Shirky wrote the best selling non-fiction book, Here Comes Everybody.

“Here comes Clay Shirky,” introduces Bhatt.

Clay Shirky at BbWorld13

Education has always been collaborative. We produce and publish things in education to get a conversation going. There are new ways of doing things in education, but we don’t know how to use those ways yet. The new resource for bringing people together in new ways to learn things is cognitive surplus.

It took 100 million hours of human thought to create Wikipedia.

How big is that compared to television?

200 billion hours go into TV watching, in the US alone, every year.

We spend a Wikipedia amount of time watching TV commercials in a single weekend. (WOW!)

Shirky introduced An Xiao Mina, who studies memes and uses Instagram to share her research. (

Here is a story about these little plastic discs, or CDs, and the rise and fall of Napster. Napster went from zero to 80 million users in 18 months, and it was killed overnight. The music industry took control back, but still lost control of distribution because it was impossible to unbundle those bundled albums on CDs.

music distribution services
Let’s bring it back to Education with the story of a student at Ryerson University, Chris Avenir, Chemistry 101, and how a Facebook group led to a $10 Million Lawsuit against Ryerson University.

  • The first MOOC from Stanford – students in the MOOC started a MeetUp to fill the social void that was not present in the MOOC, but was necessary to learn and succeed in the course.
  • Devlin’s Angle – there is now no reason to have a distinction between textbooks and class notes
  • BibSoup – collaborative filtering of books and libraries

We now use music we like to find other people that we would have something in common to talk about. With BibSoup, we can filter through data related to books and research.

Education is becoming a demand driven environment. The educational landscape is about to be transformed by student demand.



About Meegan
Meegan has over fifteen years experience working in higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Western Michigan University and a Master of Education with an emphasis on Instructional Technology from American InterContinental University Online. She is currently the Instructional Technologist/Designer at Grand Rapids Community College where her main focus is helping faculty to develop and deliver quality online and hybrid courses.

One Response to Opening Keynote: Clay Shirky

  1. Pingback: What I’ve Learned from the BbWorld13 Bloggers (Hint: A lot) | Bill on Design

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