EdTech In Greater Schooling: Breaking Down Silos
EdTech in higher education
Silos are not good in any organization, but they exist in almost all. Universities are no exception. Silos can exist in various services, offices, and teams in higher-level areas such as academic affairs, student affairs, and other administrative departments. Assessment, institutional research or accreditation bureaus or centers for teaching and learning; Curriculum committees, faculty development and / or student success teams. Silos can also exist between and between faculties, students, directors of individual programs or departments, and / or university directors. Ironically, every single company, regardless of the silo, strives for the same thing: student success.
Fortunately, there are educational technologies that can help break down these silos. By collecting the right data and returning it to educators and educational institutions in relevant, consumable formats, EdTech can bring the students’ learning and success efforts together and create the cohesion and collaboration that meaningfully connect these silos. It can remedy existing dysfunctional ways of being and help to unify and coordinate intentions, actions and effects. Here is an example of how that can happen.
Roles and responsibilities in Higher Ed
Within higher education institutions, those with accreditation responsibilities work to demonstrate mission alignment and solid financial responsibility in all efforts. The assessment office and staff strive to continuously improve all educational practices and ensure that students achieve learning outcomes. Those charged with developing the faculties seek to expand or improve the faculties’ skills and promote excellent teaching performance. Curriculum Committees build an effective framework to enable student success and ensure comprehensive coverage of content in line with professional standards and future market demands.
Faculties work hard to create a strong, positive learning environment in which students can successfully demonstrate their learning through assessment performance. Students are busy studying, trying to demonstrate their proficiency in formats they may or may not be familiar with. And student care offices offer services and programs that seek to meet the cognitive, social, and emotional needs of students for their overall success. How can EdTech bring these groups together to drive student success?
How technology can help
A strong review platform can do this with the help of data. An assessment platform can help improve integrity, but it should also include features that enable curriculum mapping, psychometrics for analyzing assessment items, and various assessment options from rubrics to automated assessments. Together and separately, all of these features enable the generation of reliable data on assessment performance that can be used by faculties and administrators to:
- Check the strength and quality of the rating and points.
- Review the effectiveness of the curriculum and content;
- Study of the effectiveness of teaching;
- Identify the students who need proactive support to succeed and provide all students with data on their strengths and growth opportunities. and,
- Efficiently develop result reports that can be used to demonstrate compliance with accreditation records.
With this holistic approach, an EdTech platform can help various stakeholders unite about their roles, responsibilities, and goals by providing the data necessary for student success. The data can be used by faculty and program directors to work together to determine if there are any gaps in the classroom, course, or curriculum in the program, or elsewhere. The faculty development offices can use the data to assist individuals or groups of faculties by aligning them with best practices for effective instruction and assessment.
Curriculum committees and / or individual program faculties can update or innovate their curricula to provide a better framework or better reporting on content. Individual students in need of early intervention, remedial action, or support are provided with the tools they need for academic success. In cooperation with the faculty, assessment experts can evaluate the data on the students’ learning outcomes and document the resulting continuous improvement processes for successful accreditation or confirmation. You can also work with the faculty on effective best practices for creating and evaluating items. All of this and more can be achieved while promoting integrity and empowering students to make the right decisions about academic honesty.
You still need people
This was just one example of how an EdTech can break down college silos by providing meaningful data-driven decision making for educators and educational institutions. Regardless, every EdTech has its limits, and for any of them to be successful (i.e., when the technology serves its purpose and all of the silos are broken down) it still comes back to the people. The responsibility still rests with people as we are an integral part of the technology adoption and change management processes. Educators must be proactively, fully, and consistently trained in the full use of the technology in order to immerse themselves in the full scope of the technology. Otherwise the technology will become unusable.
If robust processes are not established for the adoption and continued use, learning and innovation of technology, the technology will again become inoperable and pointless. If the institutional culture doesn’t encourage vulnerability and learning where an educator can say, “I’m overwhelmed and don’t know how to use this technology and make the most of it” without losing face, there is another opportunity to collaborate . Mutual learning and the group’s engagement with technology are lost.
In addition, attitudes towards new technologies and EdTech must change so that collaboration can take place and silos can be destroyed. Too often there is skepticism about why a certain technology is being introduced in the first place. Too often, decisions are made by a select few without involving the necessary stakeholders in the process. This type of decision making leads to suspicion and poor, incomplete, or ineffective implementation, adoption, and use. And unfortunately, in the end, it is the students who end up suffering.
Many EdTech companies have emerged from the entrepreneurship of companies closely related to higher education to meet a need or fill a void. The important question is: Are we, as education professionals, willing to join in the hard work to transform our institutional processes, cultures and methods in order to learn and effectively use existing and future technologies, to break down silos and unlock the full potential of technology really exploit it? ? Can we commit to our own success and that of our students? I hope the answer is yes.