Digital transformation and the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution of information technology is changing what we do at work, at home and in education. However, are we implementing them at a good pace at an institutional level?
At an institution, people may have different attitudes regarding technologies:
- The innovators.
- The early adopters.
- The early majority.
- The late majority.
- The laggards.
At what stage is my higher education institution in this adoption curve?
The World Economic Forum (WEF) shows that even in advanced economies, the individual usage of ICTs greatly surpasses the ranks of government and business use of information technology.
Source: World Economic Forum
Are our organizations keeping up with this technology adoption curve?
People are outpacing their organizations. The WEF explains that both the private sector and government is falling behind.
“Businesses need to act now and adopt digital technologies to capture their part of this growing pie [of consumer demand]. Governments can do more to invest in innovative digital solutions to drive social impact.”
Are we dealing with digital transformation and higher education technologies?
We believe that what organizations are doing is not enough. According to the WEF:
“Analog enterprises need to reassess and remodel every aspect of their business if they are to successfully compete against digital natives. It may still be the early days of the digital revolution, but it is the strategic plays that companies make today that will define their long-term future in the digital economy.”
Some businesses and institutions even though they use new information technology resources in the classroom and office, work both on paper and digitally in separate workflows.
That’s why it’s important that higher education institution work intensively in its management model, organization and training to implement new technologies at the institution as a whole.
On the other hand, we tend to think that Artificial Intelligence lies in the distant future when we have worked with it for a long time in Machine learning techniques.
However, there is still fear amongst organizations that technology leaves people without jobs. That should not happen. A virtual machine does not replace people but empowers them in a different way.
How ready is your country to integrate technology at an institutional level?
The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) from the World Economic Forum measures the capacity of countries to leverage ICTs for increased competitiveness and well-being.
The Forum explains that there are three drivers for technology:
- Whether countries have adequate infrastructure to implement it.
- If technology is affordable.
- If they have the skills to use them.
Which are the top countries at this index? Singapore, Finland and Sweden. Source: World Economic Forum
Singapore is teaching many countries valuable lessons. In fact, the WEF explains that gains from ICT adoption are widely shared, as the country tops the social impacts pillar of the index, “making excellent use of digital technologies to provide access to basic and government services and ensuring that schools are connected.”
An area that leads Finland to also top these rankings is skills. It’s:
- 4th in quality of its education system.
- 2nd in quality of math and science education.
- 2nd in secondary education enrolment rate.
What about the United States and Canada?
The United States is 5th in the world, despite leading some of the most important initiatives in the digital revolution.
It is one of the top countries in in business usage but falls behind in individual usage and government usage.
Where is it going wrong?
It’s lacking the skills to prepare people for Information Technology. It ranks:
- 27th in overall skills.
- 18th in the quality of its education system.
- 44th in the quality of math and science education.
- 62th in secondary education enrollment.
Canada, on the other hand, ranks 14 on the index. And even though it relies on “one of the best business and innovation environments” and a highly skilled workforce, it’s lagging in the affordability of services and subsequently impacts rates of individual usage.
Harnessing ICT in education
Skillsets make a long way to implement technologies in society. That is why the implementation of software for education relies not only on someone buying an ERP or a software for school management, but training individuals and teams to foster its institutional adoption.
Training for ICT in higher education is vital to raise awareness and engagement not only about the uses of higher education technology, but the issues it addresses.
How is your institution harnessing the use of IT?