While everyone else is over the moon about education technology, extolling its benefits, you are flummoxed about what it’s really worth and whether you should really go for it.
Well, there’s no reason for you to feel ashamed about being confused. For all you know, this initial confusion could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Education technology is like marriage. Most people are excited about it and want it badly without really knowing how to make it work for them. Almost everyone thinks it is necessary. But, only the aware individuals have actually realized its benefits (or the elusive “marital bliss”).
Is education technology too risky an endeavor to undertake? In fact, with the right approach, technology can deliver unprecedented benefits, which you even might not have envisaged before. Although there may be many different theories about the right approach, here are a few things you should consider before investing in education technology, which can help you maximize the benefits of your technology investment.
Know Your Goal
What do you really intend to do with technology? That’s the foremost and the most basic question that you need to ask yourself before even considering any technology solution. You must be completely honest with yourself while answering this question. Remember, no one else but you gains or loses anything based on how earnest your answer is.
You need to be certain of the goal. A journey with no end in sight will end up with the traveler in the middle of nowhere. Technology can be a great enabler. But, you must be sure about the role technology is going to play in your organization. Is it to reach out to learners across geographies, and build an online evaluation system, or deliver live, online classes to a large group of learners, and get deep insights into learner engagement and behavior? Whatever your reasons, you need to know exactly how you are going to leverage education technology.
Get Everyone On Board
Sometimes, you are so consumed by an idea that you lose objectivity, misjudge the real effectiveness of a technology solution, and make a wrong buying decision. Moreover, as you might have entrusted some key people in your organization with certain roles, they need to see and be convinced about the real value delivered by the solution. After all, they will be the ones interacting with the technology and contributing to its overall success by effectively using it. So, they need to be in on your “little secret” of implementing a technology solution.
Moreover, you will be surprised by the number of perspectives and ideas that you have on the table when you involve the key stakeholders. These would far exceed what you can manage to put together alone.
Details, Details, Details
Devil is in the details. Nothing is unimportant when you decide to go ahead with technology implementation. From your existing business processes and number of people in the organization to teaching methodology and learners, and everything in between. Everything matters. At least, you should ponder over little details before dismissing them as trivial or non-contributing factors. Sometimes, the seemingly insignificant things, which you tend to overlook while considering a technology solution, have a huge impact on technology implementation. So, pay attention to the details and work out the specifics; leave no stone unturned.
Once you know your goal and are cognizant of the factors that could influence technology implementation, it’s time for you to evaluate the solutions available in the market. Contrary to the popular belief, more is not always merrier. Don’t waste your time test-driving each and every solution. The number of the available Ed Tech solutions is mind-boggling. You don’t want to get into an endless evaluation loop.
Be smart while doing the evaluation. Sometimes, a quick look at the brochure is all you need to strike something off your list. At other times, you would need to look beyond what the brochure says. Some of the obvious things to look for in a solution are feature set, pricing, term of contract, support, and more. In addition, you need to see if the solution supports the existing teaching approach or makes it better for your learners and teachers. Will it scale up with your organization? Read the fine print and find out if there is any catch.
Taking the Final Plunge
When you have zeroed in on a technology solution after due deliberation, the next step is to proceed with the implementation and ensure that your technology partner or vendor works closely with the users every step of the way to train them on the technology and address their queries or concerns. Post-implementation support, among other things, should be one of the most significant factors governing your buying decision. You don’t want your users to be left high and dry when they are facing some issue with using the solution. Most importantly, the real benefit of a technology solution will be achieved when everyone in your organization uses it optimally.
Education technology can significantly improve the way you deliver learning. In fact, it can even help you establish a strong brand presence by connecting you with learners and peers across the world that you thought were impossible to reach out to, thereby making your brand truly global. However, the process of adopting education technology requires a careful analysis of your own business needs and the current technology. You don’t want your decision to implement a certain technology solution to be a cautionary tale for others who are contemplating embracing Ed tech. It takes, among other things, awareness and caution while choosing a solution to maximize the return on your technology investment.
If you have any questions, send an email to [email protected].