Vertical thinking

The “education vertical” sounds a bit more thrilling than it is.  The first time you hear it, it seems to share the weird poetic syntax of “the body electric” and “the life everlasting”. It’s education, on an updraft.

A bit of googling fishes up a turn of phrase that has more concrete aspirations. This vertical is both market and solution  (“Callista cracks open education vertical“) and it continues intermittently to appear in the promotional talk of software vendors and government procurement. So it’s one of those ways of thinking about what we do that slips off the tongue a bit more readily after a slurp of the corporate Kool-Aid.

But it hasn’t really entered the vernacular or the affect of the higher education workplace. We don’t feel ourselves to be operating in a client vertical of any kind, and we mostly don’t use this kind of language to describe our position in a complex network of learning experiences. Dimly, we’re aware that the students currently sitting with us have come from somewhere, and are on their way to somewhere. But we have our heads down, concentrating on our bit of the conveyor belt. Continue reading