IT Trends To Watch As Higher Education Moves Into a New Decade
Edtech couldn’t have hoped for a better launch into the new decade than the push the industry received from COVID-19. Even the most tech-resistant institutions and individuals have been forced to come to grips with online teaching tools, and most will never go back to their pre-pandemic technology status.
The trends we can expect (those we can predict, at least) fall into three broad categories that directly tie to our learnings over this time. They are also on trend with the general technology in other industries.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been lauded almost as the elixir of life in technology circles. The potential for it to lead the way in personalized learning development is vast.
We only have to look at Netflix’s implementation of AI to understand its strength. Netflix uses AI to develop profiles of users and identify their tastes and interests. It then suggests content the user is likely interested in watching. The company estimates it has saved a massive $1 billion a year in lost subscriptions by actively reminding its users of its relevance.
Within education, AI’s application extends beyond retention. It can be used to identify a student’s areas of weakness and even make recommendations of what remedial activity is most likely to be effective in that individual’s case. AI can control the pace of teaching to suit individuals – something no teacher can do.
The Digitization Of Everything
We will see a definite shift in the limits of our digital world. Improved technology has increased processing speeds and storage capability to the point where these will become non-issues. The idea of cleaning up your mailbox because you’ve reached your mailbox limit will be laughable.
Technologies like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) allow for almost instant account setup. They effortlessly replicate users’ on-campus technology experience anywhere there is an internet connection, regardless of their device.
Convergence is a given as we advance, and technologies like VDI fit seamlessly into e-learning platforms or Learning Management Systems (LMS). Social Learning Management Systems (SLMS), like Pedagogue, are capable of matching the classroom capacity, resource management, and data storage of entire campuses. Their overlay of social media features brings them close to replicating the “total campus experience” – on the screen of a smartphone!
The potential of the first two trends colliding to the detriment of the student is acknowledged. One only has to conceptualize the digital footprint created for children before they can even consent to understand their risk exposure. The trend in IT governance going forward will focus more on the ethical use of data more than compliance.
The best summary seems to be, to borrow a quote from visionary author Douglas Adams, “We no longer think of chairs as technology, we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often “crash” when we tried to use them.
Before long, computers will be as trivial and plentiful as chairs, and we will cease to be aware of the things. In fact, I’m sure we will look back on this past decade and wonder how we could ever have mistaken what we were doing with them for ‘productivity.'” Adams died in 2001.