Emerging technologies have the potential to challenge the existing economic, social and political landscape. New technologies can disrupt existing patterns and models of teaching, assessment and support.
Much as ‘disruptive’ has negative connotations; it’s important to note that this disruption can lead to positive change.
People in traditional institutions can find the changes brought about by technological disruption unnerving. They may be concerned about their roles and, ultimately, their jobs.
The process of disruption can be painful as society or an organisation going through it attempts to adjust to the change it brings.
How technologies disrupt
There are many examples of technologies disrupting existing ways of life. This includes the impact of people using their mobile devices to record events as they happen on news media.
Unless media companies accept and adjust their models to embrace this, by including public records of events in their broadcasts, their existence may be threatened.
Case study - educating future photographers
Another example is the impact of digital photography on professional photographers, which highlights that professionals have had to adapt and change their existing models to continue working.
Jonathan also realised that the way we educate future photographers needs to change accordingly. He persuaded the media department at the University of Coventry to transform some of their classes through the use of open technologies and open educational practice1.
The university has since established a research group around disruptive media.
Online learning offers an opportunity to:
- Consider using new technologies
- Identify how they may disrupt existing approaches to teaching, assessment and support
- Adapt existing models to take advantage of the opportunities to change them for the better.
Carrying out risk assessments can help institutions balance the risks against the benefits of adopting each new technology. Institutions also need to recognise that staff need space to take risks.
|Barriers||What you can do|
Managers may think that some technologies will be too disruptive
|Identify benefits and develop a strong business case for what you decide to use|
|Adopt new technology in stages, or introduce elements of it one by one, to help allay fears and demonstrate benefits|
|Find examples of the technology working well, in your own institution, or in others|
|Perception that disruptive technologies are being adopted for their novelty value||Highlight the benefits of each different technology for learning|
- 1 A space to play with 'disruptive' technologies for learning - http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/files/2015/02/DS15-A-space-to-p...