4 Tips to Impact Digitization in Education

Shawn Nason, Contributor , Mar 31 2016

Over the past several years the hype in education (from K-12 to higher education) has been technology, technology, technology. According to CB Insights, EdTech funding increased by 55% in 2014, and it is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. Global Industry Analysts (GIA) estimated the value of the global e-learning market at around $107 billion in 2015. Multiple sources indicate that funding for EdTech will surpass $2 billion in 2016, and become one of the hottest markets for venture capitalists (VCs).  

Can education evolve fast enough to keep up with the rapidly changing environment? I would say, Yes! But only if there is a willingness to have a shift in thinking and get politics out of the way. Educational leaders must be willing to change – to shift how they think and strategize around their institution’s educational delivery and be open to new challenges. In other words, they must be future-proofed.

Here are four tips on how to make school cool with technology:

 1. Hire tech-aware faculty members

Leaders and staff members should have the understanding of where technology, innovation, and education need to intersect for the greatest impact. Although this can be a challenging role, it is a must for any institution or organization if they want to move forward and ensure their future. There will be numerous hurdles, challenges, and internal politics to overcome in this process – after all, the institution of education has seen little change or innovation in the past century.  

2. Invest in integration

Take your institution’s technology from a slow-moving, outdated machine to a cutting-edge, well-oiled “smart” one.

3. Experiment and evolve

Once you get everything working like the well-oiled machine it needs to be, make sure to leave room for innovation. You also need to allow for a bit of “messiness” to happen. Don’t break the machine, but enable it to evolve when it needs to be.

4. Build a culture of innovation

Culture is where I feel is there is the need for the most significant change required to future-proof your institution. Ask yourself the following questions:

i) Is your organization willing to take small, yet calculated risks? You will need to tear down and rebuild – and tear down again. You will be investing with uncertainty. Change is required, but the rewards are significant.

ii) Is your institution ready and prepared to test different technologies?

iii) The future of education requires partnerships with students, faculty, and alumni. Do you engage meaningfully with your campus? I highly encourage you to not only listen to the needs of faculty and students but more importantly, respond to the needs of faculty and student.

iv) Is your institution willing to seek outside partnerships with startups? Engaging your students and educators with the innovators in your community is vital to creating a future forward synergy for your institution and increasing the value of your degrees.

If you did not answer yes to a majority of these questions, then you are not yet future-proofed for the road ahead. But most importantly, you are not yet ready to become a leader in innovation within education.

Read the full article in our print magazine The Quarterly



Shawn Nason is the CEO and Innovation Evangelist at Nason Group. Prior to that, he was Chief Innovation Officer at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he created and developed the Xavier Center for Innovation. Shawn also spent six years at The Walt Disney Company in various capacities within Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Cruise Line. He is currently working on his DBA in Organizational Leadership & Change.



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