When will educational institutions learn to use technology the right way?! It seems like every other day I come across examples where technology is used for the sake of using technology instead of solving the actual problem. Upon reading this article the first question that came to my mind – Did each student even have a computer in 1993? In my recent interaction with multiple public and private schools in MA access to personal computers or computer labs is still an issue. It’s 2008!
The key discussion of this post is about leveraging technology. This story, even though occurs in the past is still relevant today. It raises interesting points about reusing good educational content, improving efficiency in test practice and preparation and the behind-the-scenes analysis. If technology were implemented and leveraged the right way it could have prevent a number of recent high profile “testing” scandals like: Armed Services Content Sharing and the Profession Exam Piracy issue.
When used correctly technology can really be a boon for both educators and students. Examples of good implementation of process and technology in education are some of the standardized tests like the GRE and GMAT being conducted leveraging computers, but done in the proctored centers. This has allowed students to schedule exam at their own convenience as well as receive results very quickly instead of waiting for months. This helps everyone involved.
While the use of technology in conducting educational tests has become mainstream, areas such as content distribution, test preparation and practice, and test analysis still need vast improvements in order to help students. Over the past 10 or so years we’ve seen a lot of focus and improvement in the process and distribution of entertainment related content such as digital music, video, mobile and social networking. As Generation X becomes entrenched with computers and the internet, they will begin to venture into other areas of internet. The shift is already happening where expensive text books and educational content is appearing on p2p networks in digital format. Amazon is also venturing into the e-textbook space via a student version of Kindle where custom books are becoming the norm.
I hope over the course of the next few years the education and publishing industry will see similar advances in content distribution and process management as we have seen in the music, video and social networking spaces.