Are We Really Ready For Disruption In Edtech?
A species of innovation, disruption in edtech involves radically shaking up the way that we think about, and use, edtech. One of the most recent disruptions in edtech occurred a few years ago when a significant number of US universities began providing full degree programs online for remote learners to access. Though it caused consternation among traditionalists, this change was ultimately a positive one as it widened access to tertiary education and generated a significant amount of additional revenue for universities.
When done well, disruption can have enormous advantages. Most saliently, it makes edtech more efficient and opens education up to new markets. In the case of the online college degrees mentioned above, for example, the new market consisted of remote learners. Artificial intelligence, gamification, and m-learning are predicted to be some of the key disruptors in higher education technology in 2018. So, are we ready for this disruption when it hits us?
In an important sense, we can never be fully prepared for disruption. This is because disruption brings with it unforeseen consequences and new horizons. Nevertheless, there are three essential ways that higher education institutions can prepare themselves to make the most of disruption in edtech.
- Provide adequate training. Disruption becomes an opportunity when academic and administrative staff are trained to use new educational technologies. When a new m-learning app comes out, it is vital that staff at your institution can use it so that they can get an edge over the competitors (who will also be rushing to make use of the app) and also provide students with an exciting new way to learn.
- Integrate edtech with existing teaching practices. Good edtech will complement, rather than replace, traditional methods of teaching such as lectures and seminars. Minimise the challenges of disruption by formulating strategies to absorb the new technologies into the existing structure of your course.
- Run a trial period. Iron out any difficulties that may occur with a new technology by ensuring that your institution does a ‘dry run’ with that newly released AI device or LMS before you officially start using this technology in your actual teaching. Keep your old systems running before you switch to a new system.
What has been the biggest disruption that your institution has faced? How did you turn disruption into an opportunity?