How to build a gameplan for the future of edtech.
GUEST COLUMN | by Rick del Rosario
With summer break officially upon us, now is the time to reflect, plan, and decide on the communication tools and edtech solutions that will guide your campus in the upcoming school year. When I led recruitment and admissions at major universities, these quiet(er) months offered me a unique opportunity to align priorities while keeping in mind the shift in learning styles, evolving student needs, and the looming higher ed enrollment cliff.
‘Evaluating technology should be an ongoing process … This ensures the tools continue to meet your institution’s evolving needs and provides opportunities for adjustments and improvements.’
In my leadership role at my company, I have the opportunity to connect with campus partners and leaders. They take a similar approach, seeing summer break as the perfect chance to take a deep breath and reassess how to better connect with their students.
How Can You Prepare for the Higher Ed Enrollment Cliff?
Higher education is undergoing a significant transformation due to the impending enrollment cliff and the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, traditional, on-campus students were the heartbeat of institutions, providing the primary source of funding and forming the backbone of the academic community and “campus life.” However, the pandemic forced a sudden shift to remote learning, disrupting this norm.
Today, there is a strong desire to return to the traditional campus experience, but it’s clear that the education landscape has forever changed. Some institutions — particularly community colleges, technical schools, and others that primarily offer in-person learning — face the challenge of attracting students back to on-campus learning. Other institutions have embraced the online learning environment.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Of course, you want to welcome students, faculty, and staff back on campus and boost student retention, but you likely also recognize the need to adapt and ensure your students receive the highest-quality education possible. Fortunately, edtech tools and true edtech partners play a crucial role in this transition.
Edtech bridges the gap between these diverging paths, facilitating communication, fostering a sense of belonging, and supporting students — making it possible for students to feel connected regardless of their learning environment. However, discerning essential from non-essential tools and identifying the most beneficial technology solutions is critical to avoid wasting resources and missing opportunities to help students thrive.
Determining Essential EdTech Tools
When it comes to edtech tools and products, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. The right tool will vary based on each individual institution’s goals, objectives, and specific challenges. This is why an authentic partnership with an edtech provider is so crucial.
Even the most advanced tools in the world won’t make a difference unless your partner behind the technology takes the time to understand your institution’s unique needs. It can’t just be about selling a product; it must be about providing tools and resources that align with your institution’s goals and aspirations.
It’s also important to remember that edtech is not just a tool but a partnership — a collaboration that enhances the educational experience. This relationship will provide the most value and truly makes a difference in how technology enhances your student relationships.
How to Build a Game Plan for the Future of EdTech
Evaluating technology should be an ongoing process, preferably revisited at the end of each semester. This ensures the tools continue to meet your institution’s evolving needs and provides opportunities for adjustments and improvements.
As you strategize for the upcoming academic year, consider the following key factors that can shape the successful implementation of edtech in your institution:
1. Foster authentic company-institution partnerships.
Creating genuine and empathetic collaborations between technology providers and institutions is crucial. Technology providers who offer consultative advice and share best practices, especially those with a diverse portfolio, can help institutions better connect with and support students and alumni.
2. Adapt to change.
Has your strategy adapted to the changing educational landscape? Changes are happening at an unprecedented pace, and both institutions and edtech companies alike need to demonstrate adaptability. Agility in decision-making and implementation of new tools and technologies is crucial.
3. Budget mindfully.
Are you investing in the right tools? Budget constraints are an ongoing challenge for higher ed institutions. Avoid wasting resources on non-essential tools and focus on what will actually help build meaningful relationships with your students.
4. Harness the power of communication.
Effective communication is key to enhancing student engagement and belonging. Are your tools facilitating this? Solutions that integrate seamlessly with everyday technology, like our phones, can significantly improve communication strategies.
Now Is the Time to Invest in the Future of EdTech
Edtech tools provide a way to connect, engage, and support students, whether they’re on campus or learning remotely. This adaptability is why edtech is the future — it evolves as the landscape changes, continuously expanding its (and your) capabilities.
However, the true power of edtech lies not only in the solution itself but also in the partnerships forged around it. Therefore, as we settle into summer break, take stock and use this time to reevaluate tools, strategies, and relationships to ensure we’re all fully prepared for the challenges and opportunities the new academic year presents.
Rick del Rosario has more than two decades of experience developing and executing admissions, recruitment, and operational programs across disciplines, including law, medical, and graduate business. As VP Sales at Mongoose, Rick partners with institutions to empower, streamline, and strengthen connections across their campus communities. He is passionate about leveraging technology to scale authentic engagement, and he’s driven to create more efficient and effective processes across the student lifecycle.