How is Technology Changing Education for the Better?

| February 7, 2014

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Creating the trained, skilled workforce of the future is the responsibility of our educators today. It is a challenge staying ahead of the learning curve when it comes to technology for educational institutions. The rapidly changing world of both hardware and software can sometimes feel like a technological arms race, but the winners definitely are the institutions or countries that invest in technology to further the quality of education for its students.

As in many sectors, Australia maturing and growing in the area of job creation and skilled trades, as well as business and administrative career opportunities. Preparing our current students (or returning adults in continuing education or job retraining programs) is essential to keeping the progressive trajectory that the robust Australian economy is currently enjoying. We are creating jobs and keeping them, thanks in part to our investment in qualitative education and technology.

What kinds of technologies are being embraced in some of the educational outlets in Australia? We’ll take a look at some examples of innovative thinking and design.

What is Fueling Change in Australia?

According to a report by Ernst & Young “University of the Future – A thousand year old industry on the cusp of change” the higher education sectors in Australia are undergoing rapid change. The research for the report was collected from over forty representatives from universities (public and private) as well as policy makers around Australia.

The report found that on-campus training on large built infrastructures would become outdated in as little as ten to fifteen years. This is due in part to the rising costs of building maintenance and operations, rising salaries and increased costs for utilities such as water and hydro. The report indicated that in order to survive, Australian Universities would have to learn to streamline their processes to become more efficient and adopt some innovative alternatives to in-class study.

The report identified five key trends as the “drivers of change” for higher education and academic organizations in Australia which are predominantly fueled by technology, mobile access and distance online learning. They are:

1. Democratisation of Knowledge

Given the proliferation of available learning and knowledge online through the internet, Universities will be forced to expand their culture of being the “keepers of information” to being a source of translating the available information into training with meaningful benefits. There is no proprietorship of advanced knowledge as was once the case with higher educational facilities.

2. Contestability of Markets and Funding

Universities have become accustomed to receiving both Government, corporate and private donations without having to compete much for this support. The globalization of education means that the competition for these funds has increased, and the Universities of the future in Australia will need to learn to market themselves more broadly for funding supports.

3. Digital Technologies

The global community of academia changed dramatically when new technologies were introduced that changed the way that traditional instruction and training was received. Rather than on campus, digital portals such as distance education and even virtual world training (using the avatar experience). While the principles and curriculum may remain somewhat unchanged the method by which students access this information will be driven by mobile technology. IT services management teams will be evaluating the integration of digital technologies for distance learning.

4. Global Mobility

Students from Australia are not always choosing to be educated in Australia and many students opt to study abroad to gain international work experience. Academic institutions must compete on the global marketplace to recruit and retain students and tuition revenue. The ability to appeal to local students as well as international students will determine the success or failure of some higher educational institutions.

5. Integration with industry

The successful College and Universities will be the institutions that build deep connections with businesses and niche industries, offering training programs that address changes in the workforce and in skilled labor needs. Universities will receive funding from industry when they remain active in the supply chain of creating more qualified workers to drive the economy growth in Australia, and that includes supporting an entrepreneurial culture which creates new business opportunities.

The report went on to discuss that Australian Universities in the future would need to streamline their delivery of academic training to cut costs while appealing to a broader and more diverse audience. It also indicated that several niche dominating academic institutions that would specialize in specific areas (such as Executive MBA course delivery) would become more of the norm as a means of competing globally with other educational providers.

The Impact of Rapidly Advancing Technology on Education

This appears to be a rapid change for somewhat ingrained educational organizations, but the rising cultural change and adoption of mobile technology has forced many business and academia into keeping pace with the way people access information. Once the gatekeepers of all knowledge, technology has forced Universities to adopt more progressive practices that keep pace with the changing technology and offer education that utilizes things like mobile devices, online learning and even virtual world (avatar based) learning.

Technology can be seen as one of the greatest stimulants for change, which is a good thing for Australian academic institutions. Competing on the global market for students means that curriculum, equipment and even the caliber of faculty are evaluated from a competitive standpoint. What are Australian schools offering students and returning students that both support the University’s growth while ensuring that skilled technological laborers are being trained to feed the accelerated economic growth of the continent.

The Green Trend

Another trend that has impacted Australian educators is applying design technology into building more sustainable, green spaces. Much thought has gone into the design and implementation of healthy building or ecological practices for sustainability. Creating learning environments that inspire development while supporting healthier classrooms and spaces has become an important aspect of new school development in Australia, creating lower carbon footprint buildings. Not only is the aesthetic appealing but it also helps to cut costs (reduce lighting, need for temperature moderation and cooling) which allows institutions to appropriate the funds to other areas, such as marketing or the development of innovative curriculum and programs.

Australia is keeping an eye on the future by modifying its educational strategy according to forecasts to ensure that it is poised to meet the rising demand (and competitive climate) of the global academic landscape.

KrishnaAuthor Bio: Krishna Kumar, an engineer by education, has experience of serving the IT industry for 13 years. Currently he is the CEO of Simplilearn Solutions and displaying his expertise in e-commerce, through innovative online learning portal, which was started with the aim to help professionals round the world in achieving their world recognized professional certification. He wants to share a little about IT Service Management. It Security Management and Certification.

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Category: Australia, Internet

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JJay blogs on Technology related products ,websites, SEO, Social Media and blog promotion. JJay also writes articles for Stock market , Finance and business blogs and websites.

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