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"We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher's hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world."

David Warlick

The education landscape is changing from K-12, to colleges and universities. Distance learning platforms, virtual leaning, and massive online open courses are providing new opportunities, challenges and expectations on how learning will take place in the first half of the 21st century. Technology has indeed presented an opportunity to improve the quality of learning.

For an educational institution or jurisdiction, the digital revolution in education is not merely a response strategy for staying relevant in the changing landscape and the onslaught of MOOCs and other competing outlets. It also serves as a brand expansion strategy, an avenue to collaborate with other specialized institutions, co-mingle with external faculty and researchers, share students from other institutions, deliver content more productively and at a lower cost within the ever-tightening education budgets, and to address the job requirements of the IT-driven twenty-first century job market.

Analytics to incorporate student behaviour and feedback, technology to accommodate students and staff with special needs, and on-demand content delivery are some of the core initiatives that institutions and districts could deploy. Change is another key ingredient and a necessity; the coursework, course delivery strategies, and their associated information technology should be innately adaptive.

Some of the technology-assisted strengths and opportunities may include: online content delivery mode, "gamification" of education, dynamic coursework, tablets for books, collaboration tools, cost reductions, larger student base, intelligent-learning tools, up-to date and state of the art instruction, students prepared to meet the jobs of the decades ahead, teaching and coursework more in tune with social media habits of the current generation, additional revenue through the blending of various value-added education delivery services, and tiered certification of in-house MOOC-style learning.

The various challenges may include: resistance to change (from the existing investments in the existing infrastructure), keeping the brick-and-mortar education valuable, staying competitive and relevant, lack of time and resources to gainfully investigate new technologies, embracing IT-driven practices, MOOC-style learning through virtual and online classrooms, managing change, approving and rolling out the right blend of instruction, effective collaboration tools, video capture and streaming technologies, keeping students involved by meeting their enhanced multimedia expectations, and learner algorithms and analytics.

At the end, there is no silver bullet. They key to all this is to seek continuous feedback, be able to constantly change and pivot, and make the right investments in the right enabling technology.



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