Part 2 – Not all Technology is good – It has its drawbacks

In part one of our blog series we looked at the changes to technology over the past few decades and how through much of this period Tribal have successfully navigated these decades introducing solutions and products that harness some of technology we highlighted to improve efficiency and the student experience.

In part two as the pace of innovation and new technology increases so does the pace at which these technologies impact our lives. But has it been all good news?

Technology to Empower Education - progress

Taking a look at the headlines of recent years, have we ended up with a technology rich but dystopic future? From the abuse of data, to promotion of fake news – which we used to just call lies - the press has been full of the pitfalls of our technology advancements, and how some companies or individuals are being unscrupulous in their use of the rich data we now have.

In our market survey you told us that data is your biggest daily challenge – how not to be overwhelmed by data, and instead how to select and analyse the data that matters. Many are calling this the 'data decade' - we now have the technology to track all that we do, what we like and what we choose, but we know that can abused.

Last year the UK saw the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – an attempt to give control back to people over their personal data.

Education institutions hold vast amounts of data on students and it can be incredibly useful in gaining a sharper, clearer focus on what students truly need and expect from their education. But not only do we need to manage that data carefully, we need to better protect and guard this precious resource.

So, protecting that from cyber-attack, misuse or loss is not only a daily challenge but a daily worry. The rise of the hacker (and state sponsored cyber warfare) has given us all concerns about cyber-attacks.

Sometimes though, it is not the worry of organised crime but simply the inhuman nature some individuals seem to adopt when online. What they would never say face to face, is somehow perfectly acceptable online.

What impact is all this technology having on students?

While it is enabling a level of communication and collaboration between fellow students and staff that we haven’t seen before it is also creating issues many didn’t expect. In a world of fake news, it can be hard to distinguish between what is fact and fiction. Social media allows us to share every part of our lives with the world, but this can leave some feeling alienated and under pressure to be the same or feel happy all the time.

Students are under more pressure to take on extracurricular activities, more responsibilities and work experience to ensure competitiveness in the graduate jobs market. Students in past decades had grants and free tuition, the financial situation is very different: today students leave with significant debts and pressure to get well-paid jobs to pay this back. We have a generation that are more conscious about money, have higher expectations for the service and experience they will receive. And a generation where we seem to have a worsening mental health situation.

Today’s students are digital natives and they want flexibility over when, where and how they interact with each other, institutions, and tutors. Students now entering further, and higher education were born in 00s, they have grown up in a world dominated by the internet, social media and smartphones. They now expect immediate, convenient communication and collaboration that matches their expectations and delivers the experience they are looking for.

Many processes and interactions have become digital placing greater demands and expectations upon education institutions. As a result, the tools, technology and systems needed by education institutions today are changing.

In part three we discuss what the future might hold and how we can help you have certainty at an uncertain time.

Find out more about student expectation and reality below.


Download expectation v reality paper