Technology Adoption Made Easy -
Hear it From the Experts
In the 21st century, it won’t be an exaggeration to say that the presence of technology can be felt in almost all aspects of the education ecosystem. There was always an acceptance of technology in the education ecosystem. But can we talk about the extent of its application with the same confidence? It has been the choice of the stakeholders to make it a part of their work or not. Moreover, in a low-income school space, technology and its applications have been hard to comprehend, and the stakeholders have had to put a greater effort into adapting. But the pandemic shifted the attitude across the ecosystem. Technology emerged as the only solution for the schools to survive and continue the learning process.
Schools leveraged technology to ensure continuous engagement with students – content modules were created and shared through YouTube and WhatsApp, parents could connect and share their problems on virtual mediums, etc. All this was possible in pre-COVID times; however, the virus built an urgency towards a faster adoption.
The value of technology in the learning processes is thus being widely felt in the ecosystem now. Educators are now actively seeking answers to questions like – how people engage, how they learn, what is an appropriate mix of virtual face-to-face learning and self-paced learning, how to create cohorts of people on a co-learning journey. There is more interest and awareness to understand how technology can help further.
Making Technology More Relevant in the Education Leadership Space
Working in the government space is challenging. Bringing about systems change is complex, and if we introduce a layer of technology with people who are not comfortable with technology, it becomes even more challenging.
Even if the decision-makers in the administration are in favour, their understanding of what it takes to bring about change on the ground is very mandate-driven. It ensures reach, but the utilisation is poor. Positive outcomes have only been observed where the government is working with the social sector organisations that understand the ground reality and are adept at implementing technology and change solutions.
Here are four ways to embed technology in education leadership initiatives:
(1) Build Investment from the Senior Leadership: Top leadership should be invested in implementing technology with the stakeholders. They should think from a systems perspective of how change will trickle down the layers, how each layer will be impacted, and where the resistance is likely to come.
(2) Recognise the early adopters and changemakers: There should be a plan to appreciate the stakeholders who take the first steps to embrace technology and encourage others to follow their footsteps.
(3) Create Support structures for easier adoption of technology: Support should be provided at each step during adoption. The same space can also be used to take continuous feedback to understand what can be improved in the application/ solution and how it will make people feel heard.
(4) Empower with Data: Stakeholders should be able to easily access, clean, relevant, easy to understand data and see for themselves how the solution is making their lives better.
How to Build Technology Adoption in an Organisation
In the organisations’ journey towards adopting technology, the availability of the resources has to be ascertained; there are always limited resources (both talent and funds) in the ecosystem. And leveraging technology successfully is essential to adding value and being sustainable.
Below are the five ways to pave the way:
(1) Develop Clear Tech Strategy – A clear technology strategy should ensure that it helps the organisation to achieve its purpose, goals, mission, and value.
(2) Build Buy-in in the Team – The senior leadership must be on board with the strategy and align the middle managers who will implement the strategy.
(3) Nurture Org Talent – The team should consist of tech champions who understand how tech works and can connect with their colleagues, understand their challenges and fears, develop empathy and build connections to smoothen out any resistance and obstacles.
(4) Operate with an Attitude of not fearing failures – It is essential to have an innovator’s agile mindset because failures will be plenty during the experimentation phase.
(5) Ensure a Monitoring Mechanism – Continuously analyse how the adoption impacts the organisation and its operations and identify the areas of improvement.
The introduction of any solution has to be accompanied with the messages of how it makes the stakeholders’ lives easier. Both the leaders and the product designers should learn from, connect and empathise with stakeholders. It ensures that the early adopters benefit from the technology adoption, the solution is not too overwhelming, and they receive enough support to smoothen the adoption path for others.
The above is the excerpt from the conversation which Ann Jose (Assistant Program Manager, UP Programs – Mantra4Change) and Tejeshwar Chowdhary (Managing Consultant – Learning Links Foundation) led for the ShikshaLokam team on Role of Technology in Education.