The Roles of all Stakeholders of Education in the 4IR

Photo by Paul Calescu on Unsplash

The level of technological adoption in the education sector has traditionally progressed more slowly than in any space. More so in Lesotho, we haven’t embraced the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as widely and as quickly in comparison to the other parts of the world.

The speed and momentum we are currently gaining in other industries is commendable. I’m a believer in the need to increase technology saturation throughout the country. With the education sphere, a step by step approach, leveraging simple steps to produce effective results is necessary.

The process of change obviously starts with some basic things. We’re making the move from paper into data. Digitisation. That’s what we did and continue doing. However, it seems we’re stuck at that level.

Digital transformation affects the entire structure and culture of an organisation and reaches beyond the borders to collaboration with industry partners and clients.

There are many growth opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we need to take advantage of them. In all cases, a transformation of the technology used by an organisation equates to a transformation of the culture within that organisation and beyond.

If you’re a stakeholder of education in the 4IR, your main role is to be an agent of change. Remember that 4IR does not just refer to technologies within AI, automation, robotics, cloud and automation. It also involves organisational restructuring. Moving operations to a more collaborative, data-reliant digital infrastructure.

This then requires you at an individual level to change your mind-set and adopt one that is, not only open to change, but open to the concepts that 4IR embodies.

Key things and pointers for educators to keep in mind:

Be clear on your motivations

The very first step should be asking yourself why you’re setting off on this path. Is it to help your students catch up with the wave of technology? Is it to have a more attractive curriculum than other institutions? Is it because embracing technology is important to your students? Is it better for the education sector? Is it all of the above?  What’s important is considering what long-term outcomes you want to achieve, both for your school and for those in the education and tech sphere.

Start small and scale up

Unless you have a budget to invest in high tech equipment, it’s probably best to begin with your current computer lab or facilities. It may also be best to know students who have access to computers outside of school. Build from your current curriculum and grow from there. Most importantly, update your cybersecurity measures in order to match the emerging threats of a digitalising environment.

Utilizes external resources

Without wanting to be too trite about it, helping people help themselves is much more sustainable and powerful. There’s many available resources for students to get up to speed. There’s also resources available in guiding schools to better utilize tech in their processes and you can start with this recommendation – 25 Easy Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom [+ Downloadable List] . Most of these tools are easy to implement and build on.

Take a look at your community

Have a wide view of who is included in your efforts to strengthen your adoption of tech for education. You are creating a shared value throughout the process and it’s surprisingly easy to do the wrong thing when trying to do the right thing.

Enforce strong monitoring in your computer labs and block adult sites or access to distractions. Usually, the weak point in the system is not the computer or the network; too often it’s a user who falls into a tech trap. The stronger your image is within the society, the better placed you will be. Also, cater for different individuals. Understand what people need and want rather than just doing what you think they need.