Technology’s role in reinventing the classroom

Technology’s role in reinventing the classroom

by Brad Pulford

In recent times, we have witnessed a paradigm shift in the way we communicate, collaborate, and most notably the way we work. The disruptions brought on by the pandemic have made it essential for education systems to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce of the future and be equipped for jobs that don’t yet exist. In short, there is increasingly a need to reinvent the classroom. 

Since education plays such a critical role in the development of people and communities, we know that improvements to our education system can have an outsized positive impact on society. By leveraging the power of technology in education, we can ensure future generations become agile lifelong learners. This, in turn, is key to building resilient economies that can capitalise on global and local opportunities while mitigating the potential consequences of disruption and vast workforce changes. 

The Challenge 

Despite the relentless optimism that has characterised the movement for education technology, the results have largely fallen short of expectations. Studies have shown that simply providing hardware to a school has had little impact on learning, and in some cases can distract students from their academics. As a result, the potential of education technology has not yet been realised. 

So how do we go about addressing this issue, and ensure our approach to transformation within the education sector is more methodical and holistic? 

The Way Forward 

While hardware is essential, investments in new technologies must be complemented by sustainable, scalable, and well-organised processes to drive change. 

The Brookings Institute argues for a simple approach to education technology that I find both useful and impactful. The approach seeks to understand the needs of a school system, assess the interventions that match those conditions, and closely monitor the results of innovations before they are scaled up.  

This is the mindset with which we have approached the development of HP’s Reinvent the Classroom – a digital transformation framework that supports schools and their leaders in making strategic, data-driven decisions that lead directly to measurable outcomes. 

The first step involves assessing the needs, challenges, infrastructure, and capacity of a school system – only by truly understanding these parameters can we empower organisations and their leaders. Once the challenge has been framed, we can then help deliver technology transformations in a scalable manner and be sure they are affecting real change. 

It is also important to note that not all education systems are alike, and as a result, each system requires distinct ed-tech interventions that account for their varied level of infrastructure, appetite for innovation and specific learner needs. 

With this in mind, our goal is to change the way we look at technology in education from ‘supply-driven’ to ‘demand-driven’. The former focuses on existing ed-tech products and practices and attempts to retrofit them regardless of their efficacy in tackling the issue at hand. The latter, however, acknowledges the need for flexible frameworks that support institutions and individuals to create measurable impact on teaching and learning within their specific environment. 

While this is a journey the broader technology industry is embarking on, it’s rewarding knowing I work for an organisation that truly understands the value of technology in education. Through initiatives like Reinvent the Classroom, we are taking concrete steps to increase digital literacy, promote access to education, and deliver holistic support to educators and students to ensure the leaders of tomorrow can thrive in the digital economy. 

Brad Pulford is the Managing Director at HP ANZ