After diving deep into a variety of educational tools, not all known for their educational prowess , I’m amazed – check that, overwhelmed – by the availability of technology to educators. Some of these technology providers, such as LinkedIn, are under-utilizing their own platform by not appealing specifically to educators. In other cases, like Wikipedia, educators have under-used and poorly understood their utility.
A lot of experts think colleges will look remarkably different very quickly, due to outrageous tuition increases. My take is that colleges will have to adapt more quickly than they are used to, but I don’t think the traditional university’s days are numbered. One thing colleges have going for them is that more and more high school graduates are college bound each year. However, many large and somewhat affordable state institutions are absorbing this growth while smaller, private institutions are forced to really prove their value to prospective students and families.
I think parents and students recognize the social values of college – learning to live with other people from different backgrounds, maturing in your interactions with the opposite sex, and generally maturing – that they will pay somewhat exorbitant values for quite a bit of time before the residential 4-year college model is truly challenged. However, the real game changer would be if major companies accepted competency “badges” in addition to college degrees for employment purposes. This is something that could happen fast, and understandably has college administrators worried. The resulting double-edged sword is this: the technologies I’ve explored could help advance either side of the coin. Schools like TCU could try to keep pace with the abilities of emerging technology or non-traditional colleges could use them to provide educational tools suitable to prospective employers. Whoever wins the technology race wins the college enrollment and tuition revenue race.