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New report looks to assess digital innovation in education

07.26.2013
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There have undoubtedly been some tremendous innovations in education over the past few years, be they the MOOCs that are attempting to shake up tertiary education or things such as Khan Academy, which aims to flip the school classroom around.

As with any innovations, there are records of success and failure.  Only this week we’ve seen research  released casting doubts on the merits of flipping the classroom, whilst San Jose University  have suspended their MOOC course after student results were not meeting expectations.

So it seems a good time for a step back and a cogent evaluation of some of the changes digital technologies are making in education.  A new report by Michael Fullan and former McKinsey employee Katelyn Donnelly aims to do just that.  Alive In the Swamp  sets out three criteria by which to assess digital innovations – pedagogy, technology and system change, with each of these three also having three sub-criteria.

The result is an index that assesses digital innovation in learning, whilst stressing all the elements needed for sustainable impact.  For instance, new innovations should not only improve learning outcomes, but must also be easy to implement and use.

The authors argue that we should seek digital innovations that produce at least twice the learning outcome for half the cost of our current tools.  To achieve this, three forces need to come together. One is technology, the other pedagogy, and the third is change knowledge, or how to secure transformation across an entire school system.

The index brings these three things together to allow a systematic assessment of digital technologies and their impact upon education.  You can find out more about the report in the video below, but if you work in the learning and education fields, this is well worth a read.