A Recap of Our EdTech Panel Webinar
True Dialog hosted an EdTech panel webinar on April 8th with guests from Civitas Learning and EdTech Austin, and it was an incredible conversation. For those of you who did not make it to this webinar, I’m very sorry. You may have missed out on one of the most open and honest conversations I’ve ever heard about education and technology from a group of minds who really understand what’s happening with education – both inside and outside the classroom.
The EdTech Panel Speakers
Let’s start with the main attraction to most webinars and presentations: the speakers. We had 3 great speakers for the edtech panel who came from different backgrounds, but all shared a mutual respect for what each one brought to the conversation. Kathleen Denyer Hall is the manager of user experience for Civitas Learning. She focuses in on how higher education is impacted by technology, especially predictive analytics and supporting those in education institutions to understand the insights from their data. Sean Duffy is the marketing and community manager for Hack Reactor (formerly known as MakerSquare) as well as the founder of EdTech Austin. Sean has deep experience as a classroom teacher, a marketer, and a lover of Education and Technology. He is particularly focused in on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in schools and supporting K-12 adoption of technology. The moderator and third speaker was True Dialog’s own CEO, John Wright, who has worked closely with many universities and colleges leveraging SMS technology for improving their systems.
This was a fervent conversation that ran for about 30 minutes with a lot of back and forth among the speakers. These are just a few highlights of the conversation points that I recall:
- Predictive analytics are seriously helping higher education institutions to make smart decisions for the development of programs.
- Looking at the metrics through the rearview window verses the windshield: getting real-time information is important for education institutions.
- How are schools defining success? Each institution is unique – job related success, holistic understanding of the world, income-driven success, and many other approaches.
- Many students are consuming rich media using a LMS while in class. It works well for group discussions, connecting with classmates, and continued learning activities / challenges.
- Keeping students engaged is difficult. More programs are popping up with student engagement counselors who are using technology and in-person meetings to check-in with students.
- Leveraging the technology (mobile devices especially) is a great way to keep students engaged and there are many software programs out there that connect with those mobile devices to grab students’ attention on their favorite device.
- Technology has been great for education in that we’re reaching new kinds of people who want to learn, such as working moms and international students with limited resources.
- Many legacy systems / LMS are still using email to communicate with students, but it’s becoming less effective each year because many digital natives aren’t high email users. SMS (texting) is working well for the new generations of Millennials and Generation Z, because they are more comfortable with that medium.
- In many ways, SMS is the last frontier of spam-free communications.
- Social media is being used as a communications tool for students, however there are more security risks and privacy issues with platforms such as Facebook than what many institutions want to deal with.
Where education technology seems to have the greatest impact is in school-to-student communications and ongoing education. Whether it is between the teachers and the students or the administrators and students, it seems that education is flourishing most when schools begin adapting to the technology needs and expectations of students.
There’s another opportunity for you to jump into the conversation. On May 5, we’re talking specifically about Universities Using SMS for Enrollment and Student Engagement.