Human beings have long separated themselves into increasingly exclusive groups. These are hierarchies, of course, and specializations. They are natural, to some extent. The problem is that the same tendency towards tribalism leading to silos in higher education also leads to loyalty and its flip side, competition.
Silos develop to protect a group identity, refuse any other ways of thinking or infect these insulated silos. In efforts to maintain small group coherence, each silo closes itself off to change or collaboration.
Universities are divided into insulated departments, creating silos of learning and development within each other and the institutions—collaborative interdisciplinary work buckles under the weight of bloated egos. As a result, the groups’ ostensibly shared goal of student success isn’t met.
Battles over scarce resources are partly to blame here. Which budget contributes, and who gets the credit? While the lofty goals of Academia should foster teamwork, budgets are accurate, and departments struggle to maintain their ground in terms of respect and assets.
EdTech can help to break down these silos. For instance, a university-wide set of platforms and software could enable collaboration while simultaneously lowering budget competition. Higher Ed stakeholders must use input from educators and students alike while choosing the best tech. These platforms should have tools that allow for the assessment of student work and the lessons designed by faculty and staff.
Using something versatile enough to be used university-wide cuts costs as software licenses are cheaper in bulk.
As higher education looks into EdTech, colleges should explore EdTech that offers flexible scheduling to reach all students where they are or to find the best study partners. Peer-learning EdTech frees up professors’ time and helps students practice teamwork in much the same ways that they will be expected to work later in their careers.
And finally, instead of making students with documented disabilities jump through hoops to get appropriate assistance, schools can use EdTech to give ALL students the best possible learning environments based on their learning styles. Imagine if students had a chance to learn in ways that make sense to them!
The traditional educational paradigm and its divisive silos have repeatedly failed people – people like Sir Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, and countless others who didn’t fit the mold of the “ideal” student. The right EdTech will help.
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