How Schools Can Respond To The Threat Of Technology
Ed note: This post was first published in 2012–actually within the first couple of weeks of the launch of our site. As a consequence, no one read it, so we’re resharing it now, primarily due to the strength of Staton’s graphic.
As schools try to utilize technology, they need to understand which aspects (or services) of school are likely to be better accomplished through technology. They should “outsource” or embrace technology and allow it to perform functions that were previously delegated to people, even instructors and advisors. This will allow staff and faculty, instructors and advisors to focus on higher-level tasks.
Even though many people feel threatened, ultimately they should feel liberated to focus on higher-level tasks that improve the quality of education for all. Such scalable technology will ultimately make school more efficient; increasing quality and reducing cost through technology should be the primary objective of all educational leadership, even if layoffs are part of the compromise.
Schools, especially universities, should also acknowledge that their ultimate competitors aren’t other universities, but rather choosing not to attend school at all. Right now, most universities are focused on a narrow competition with similar schools. But the universities’ ultimate survival and ability to thrive in a world transformed by technology will be to add significant value in a world where many of the things currently provided by universities can be replaced with technology. Universities need to find a way to survive and thrive in a world where they are being “disintermediated, disaggregated, and unbundled,” as other industries have.
Ultimately, the way to not end up like the failing local newspapers is to reinvent yourself before your market slowly evaporates. Educational Leadership, School Administration, the challenge and opportunity are right in front of you. This is a framework that will help you think about what roles schools will excel at, what they should use technology for, and what they should just simply leave to technology.
All you have to do is take the leap.