Rob Abel, Ed.D. | March 2022
1EdTech: Accelerating Four Educational Leadership Imperatives for Our Times
In this third of a series to introduce the coming 1EdTech brand out of the evolution of the 1EdTech Consortium, I want to discuss the future we hope to create together.
In the first post of the series, I discussed the simple idea behind the brand, namely a community united toward an open edtech ecosystem that accelerates innovation in education. In the second post, I enumerated the "pillars" that our community has excelled and upon which the brand relies, culminating in the brand promise of lifting every learner: Together, we power learner potential.
1EdTech is a forward-looking collaboration. It is about establishing the foundation for the next generation of education and learning.
Over more than two decades of experience, we have learned that getting ahead of the future also benefits us all greatly in the present. As "together" is by far the most important concept that enables our progress, I offer here a brief summation that reflects what we see in our members' works and forward directions. We have purposely used wording for educational leaders to understand our community's impact on some of our most noteworthy educational (HED, K-12, lifelong) leadership opportunities to invent a better future. Most importantly, our community has a direct impact on making these possible. Our community engagement aims to accelerate your strategies toward these ends for educational leaders.
Leadership imperative #1
Transformative digital learning
There is some excellent work and leadership on digital transformation these days, especially from our close partner, EDUCAUSE. There are many aspects of transformation that our work helps enable, ranging from seamless access to blended delivery to better agility to more accessible data to ensuring a trusted ecosystem of educational apps.
At the core, our members are leaders in enabling learning experiences that rise above the norm. Our members have thoughtful and purposeful designs that align the tech (IT) with the mission (academics). Every day, we see it in our members doing a fabulous job applying technology to create impact by working across academic (instruction, curriculum, faculty) and IT leadership. Most importantly, the combination of alignment with agility enables an organization poised for the future, as implied by the following imperatives.
Leadership imperative #2
Personalized learner journeys
We've been exchanging great ideas for many years on what tech can mean for enabling a virtuous cycle of data-informed, adaptive learning and instruction to help each learner succeed. 1EdTech members are leaders in designing and implementing personalized and student-centered learning. The fundamental challenge is a program design that provides the rigorous core of aligned instruction plus the options required to create or tailor relevant learning experiences for diverse learners with diverse goals.
The 1EdTech community has already enabled an unparalleled ecosystem of partnerships, platforms, tools, and digital resources to configure an ecosystem that enables personalization at many levels. We have many examples of how this was accomplished at a fraction of the cost we could have imagined even a few years ago. One of the most powerful application examples is improving curriculum equity by enabling access that is not only inclusive but also enables schools, programs, and faculty to tailor to their needs. We see additional growth of the ecosystem and more collaboration on curriculum equity across our membership into the future. Emerging competency-based outcomes frameworks and verifiable digital microcredentials will work in tandem with curriculum alternatives to increase the pathways available to learners of all ages.
Leadership imperative #3
Achievement, opportunity, and employment
Receiving a diploma is an important accomplishment. However, the shareable official record of that diploma, the transcript, is not typically that useful in terms of helping the learner tell their story in a way that connects them to opportunities. Today, the overwhelming majority of employers do not even consider transcripts in the sorting or decision process.
1EdTech members are leaders in helping learners capture their achievements and competencies to go way beyond the traditional transcript in helping each student tell their story. They are doing this by leveraging a revolution in digital microcredentials, and learner-owned lifelong achievement records developed and supported by the 1EdTech community. By leading this revolution, educational institutions are enabling new connections between the world of work and the world of education. The 1EdTech community is leading the practical application of these ideas in ways that enhance learner opportunity, institutional brand, and lifelong relationships between institutions and learners.
Leadership imperative #4
Learner success, retention, and outcomes
Certainly, this is a major focus for all educational leaders today. So, why include it in the forward-looking leadership imperatives? The reason is that establishing new levels of achievement and greater personalized learning pathways enables new opportunities for defining student success. Strategies for aligning tech with the academic mission, personalized pathways, and recognizing achievement lead to the need to "design in" the "smart data" that all stakeholders can use to understand if the strategies are working. The future of data-informed learning and education is going to be much more precise than it is today. Improving student success in the future is about having the right information that helps to validate and improve the design.
The 1EdTech community is working together to ensure that data access is built into the ecosystem. Effective use of data in education will require real-time availability and analysis of big data from many sources used in conjunction with small data exchanged among just a few systems that faculty and students rely upon. 1EdTech members are getting ahead of this rapidly evolving field through deep collaboration on harnessing the power of data. It is a collaboration on making the best use of the data we can get today while working on a better data future for all educational stakeholders.