Maelstrom? Tsunami?

In the last couple of months my attention has been caught by a succession of virtual-world developments that, taken together, seem to be changing forever the landscape of teaching and learning. By now I shouldn’t be surprised that educational institutions scarcely notice the tremors, and are if anything somewhat hostile to even the thought that there might be other ways than the traditional.
Today it’s Skype, which I’ve known about for quite a while. This morning I happened to look at the slipstream of and added a Skype-related link to my own Ron Nigh has that collection as one of his RSS feeds, and he sent me a “Ron wants to talk to you via Skype” email (with a link to quick setup), so I thought well why not? and within 10 minutes I was talking to him –as he was setting up his class in Mexico City.
A few weeks ago it was Camtasia, thanks to Jon Udell’s postings on what’s now being called ‘screencasting’, and not too long before that, it was podcasting… All of these are facets of, well, what? Ubiquity (the proliferation of devices that are computers, though many don’t look like the traditional idea of a computer) is part of it, lotsa available bandwidth is another, and RSS and USB are other essential bits.
I can sit at my desk computer, at home or at work, and be continuously educating myself about a kaleidoscope of subjects, linked to one another by my interest in them, and my efforts to manage their flow. It’s infinitely varied and fascinating and productive, much more fun than whatever it was I used to do before the virtual tide rolled in.