The rapid and constant pace of change in technology is revolutionizing modern educational methods and curriculums. Today’s youth, thru school, 3rd party providers, and online social interaction have access to an unprecedented volume of information. How to successfully leverage this information, access to, and affective use of is creating a new set of challenges for educators, parents, schools, and the organizations that provide educational and testing platforms.
Opportunities to students include greater access to rich, multimedia content, increased use of online course material and testing, the widespread availability of mobile computing devices that can access the Internet, the expanding role of social networking tools for learning and professional development, and the growing interest in the power of digital platforms for more personalized and targeted learning. At the same time, the pace of change is creating challenges for all involved. Schools are forever playing technological catch up as digital innovations emerge that require upgrading schools’ technological infrastructure and building new professional development programs. 3rd party providers of educational material and testing are coming under greater scrutiny based on content, security, and continuity of services.
Over the last few years we’ve seen significant challenges with access and availability of online educational and standardized testing platforms. Between 2013 and 2015, 46 states had significant issues with access to or security of their chosen online testing platforms. (Just last week the Minnesota Department of Education suspended online testing in the wake of another cyberattack.) Additionally, 61% of schools don’t meet the 50Kbps educational standard for bandwidth. So, what are the primary concerns schools are facing?
- Inadequate school infrastructure
- Accessibility and performance issue with 3rd party platforms
- Teachers are falling behind on technology
- Security of systems
- Privacy of student and testing information
Balancing the current challenges, technology trends, and developing strategies to maximize security, availability, and content need to be a top priority. Trends to consider are:
- Access to Mobile Devices – 89% of high school students and 50% of 3rd thru 6th graders have access to mobile and or internet connected devices, with 75% of those students carrying and leveraging those devices in school every day.
- Internet Access – 64% of student either have a personal device or access to a device that has 4g or 4G internet connectivity, with an additional 23% connecting thru gaming consoles. This trend away from broadband other traditional connectivity methods is increasing exponentially year over year.
- Use of Online Video for Classroom and Homework – 60% of students are using online resource both during and after school or educational purposes, study, testing, and research.
- Online Standardized Testing – Nationwide use of online testing for standardized testing has increased dramatically over the last 2 years. Students are increasingly leveraging 3rd party testing companies for measurement against national standards.
Technology in education is helping level the national playing field, but the notion of education as an industry is creating concern. Schools, educators, parents, students, and 3rd party providers need to carefully balance the need to leverage education not only for the transmission of knowledge and specific skills, but also to transmit values and principles from one generation to the next. Over the last two year increases in online testing and access to online resources increase 300% nationally. How will schools, students, teachers, parents, and the business of education respond?
The issues noted above are just a few of the issues that RSM resolves for their clients. If your organization has technology needs, please contact our technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.