Six, six, six; the number of the tech.

Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology are placed directly in the context of their likely impact on the core missions of universities and colleges, and detailed in succinct, non-technical, and unbiased presentations.

That’s quite a bold claim the NMC Horizon Report is making and it makes for interesting reading.

Yes, it is focusing on higher education.

Yes, it is of interest to a forward thinking FE&Skills provider.

FE&Skills is a highly competitive arena that is potentially going to be a much tougher playing field with the changes to apprenticeships, and post area review.  Independent training providers will be competing with merged and federated colleges for business from employers rather than learners.  So how do you stand out from the crowd in a competitive market?

Policy, leadership and practice are all at the heart of the change.  Whilst the trends, challenges and developments in educational technology reviewed in the paper don’t reveal much that isn’t already widely talked about in academia, you do need to ask yourself if your organisation is ready for the change.  Are the senior management team  thinking as digital leaders? Is your policy as future proof as you can make it bringing together teaching learning and assessment with accessibility and inclusion, or is the ILT strategy still an addendum to the ICT policy that lists all the technical infrastructure and has no pedagogical grounding whatsoever? Practice: are the practitioners digitally capable? Are they supported with professional development activities to further their practice using technology and given the time to develop and embed this into their practice?

Once you’ve considered this then you can look at the challenges and developments and what will be effective in making your provision competitive and appealing to learners and employers alike.  Can you tool their employees to work in the digital age?  Will you give them all the skills they need to do their job now, and have the adaptability and transferable skills that makes them an attractive employee in five years time?

It’s a tough ask in tough times.  I know that providers don’t need to worry about these things alone.  Much of my time recently has been talking about exactly the trends, challenges and developments mentioned in the report.  Although my job title says account manager I see myself more as a critical friend, guide and advisor.  If I don’t know the answer I know someone who does, or I can find out.

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