Not driving technology innovation on your campus?
Watch out: Your competition is.
I thought judging last year’s Campus
Technology Innovators program
was interesting, but that was when
we had over a hundred fascinating nominations
from across the country. This
year we received almost 500 entries,
and I for one found it near-impossible to
narrow the field to a deserving handful.
The entries have made it clear that our
world of higher education technology is
teeming with technologists and techsavvy
faculty who are driving technology
innovation in every way possible, and
partnering with vendors across countless
technology sectors, to do so.
One of the trends we noted was that
of moving traditional and online students
through 3D and “immersive”
learning environments, to place them
inside the learning experience rather
than relegate them to onlooker mode.
Another movement: that of using gaming
and simulation to engage conventional
and online students alike.
Then there were the entrants who
recounted the kind of campuswide systems
and data integration we once had
only dreamed of, with open standards
and open source applications enabling
ever more agnostic access.
Electronic portfolios were another hot
topic, facilitating better monitoring and
assessment of student progress, even
following students way past graduation,
into career building and adult education.
The expanded use of devices in
higher ed—tablets, PDAs, iPods, cell
phones, interactive boards and plasma/
LCD displays—continues to amaze
us, as d'es the astounding uses for
them so often driven by the educators
and students themselves.
And technologists are taking a new
view of campus websites, focusing on
enabling lay individuals to easily create
and maintain personal academic
sites from scratch, thus bringing a
“MySpace” mindset to the campus.
When it comes to performance monitoring,
assessment, and counseling,
schools are reexamining the tendency
to drop average students through the
cracks, and are coming up with ingenious
ways to use technology to instead
move “average” to the next level.
Along similar lines, campus execs are
using new and improved versions of
existing technologies to get better control
of finances, technology budgeting
and spending, admissions processes,
document storage and sharing, business
intelligence, and business continuity
in the event of a disaster.
And as to the technology investment
itself, campus technology leaders are
dramatically enhancing data, wired/
wireless network, and device security,
and are borrowing formalized quality
assurance models from the corporate
world in order to end the practice of
purchasing and implementing technology
that just d'esn’t deliver as promised.
Then there are the tech visionaries
who described revenue-generating outsourcing
initiatives constructed around
new capabilities—thus spreading technology
innovation to smaller, less affluent
institutions. But there are so many
more stories to tell! Though we’ll share
our 2006 Innovators with you in August,
we also will share countless Innovator
entries with you all year long and into
2007. Don’t miss an issue!
—Katherine Grayson, Editor-In-Chief
What have you seen and heard? Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org.