I thought I'd cross post an article I wrote on my blog regarding some thoughts on transforming education here on the PXTLD blog since it directly relates to some of the work we do.
I've spent some time over the past few months carrying out some strategy work in the education market as a part of our Education Transformation solution offering. The way technology is leveraged by kids has always been something I've been interested in (here are past posts), both because I have children of my own & because I am always looking for ways that organizations can extract real value from their investments in information technology.
As I have worked with my own children over the past couple of years, I've come to see more and more that this generation of children is really changing due to being a digital generation. I saw this as well when I created and operated the Youth Technology Camp program for children.
Our children are changing, the world they will enter after school is changing, so why is it that education has not changed that much? I don't think that it has kept up with the changing nature of the world with which it has found itself (a good video that drives home the point of rapid change is this one titled Did You Know).
So how is education changing and where is it all going? What does it mean to transform our education system into a 21st century model? To best understand this change, we need to understand the changes as they relate to the various stakeholder, processes and objectives. The transition from Education 1.0 to today's Education 2.0 and eventually the future Education 3.0 is causing a fundamental paradigm shift in various aspects of education. The diagram to the left tries to capture this change. Most importantly is the move to a customized approach for each student. That is truly disruptive. It is akin to the the level of customization we receive in so many other areas of our lives. For example, banks have embraced technology to try and deliver us a more customer-intimate experience, a one-on-one relationship between the bank and its customers. The expectation is part of the culture today and kids are growing up with that. Education needs to strive to deliver that type of learning environment to today's youth.
Technology can help enable this important transformation, but it plays a secondary role in my opinion. Cramming computers into classrooms, deploying laptops to students and hanging Smartboards on the wall are not enough to have any measurable effect on the quality of education. I've seen this first hand in discussions I've had with schools. Further, the research done by others shows the same thing (read Disrupting Class for an excellent in-depth look at this). This isn't surprising to me. As I've seen in other industries, technology itself is seldom the silver bullet to transform an industry.
What is needed is the proper, strategic use of technology. Without this important element, the all important processes and people (change management) elements won't fall into place and you end up with under utilized investments in technology. That is why my focus when working with organizations it to employ a sound strategic process that puts the needs of the organization first and the use of technology second. In education, technology is not the end-game. A richer learning environment is the end-game, and technology is the enabling means to get there.
If you are interested in ways that myself and Project X Ltd. are assisting educational organizations with transforming their use of technology, click here for more information.