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January 20, 2022

How to Forge Better Collaboration Between K-12, Higher Ed and State Government

How to Forge Better Collaboration Between K-12, Higher Ed and State Government

Vincent Martinez

Executive Government Advisor

The EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT Issues review describes the way educational institutions can leverage technology to establish the higher education the nation deserves. The way forward is to develop a shared transformational vision and strategy that guides the digital transformation (DX) work of educational institutions.

Educational leaders have recognized the need to focus on students' success and to develop sustainable business models that redefine the campus, according to EDUCAUSE,  a leading nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology.

However, to really achieve the level of education the nation needs and deserves will require better cooperation and collaboration between K-12 and higher education leaders along with state and local government officials.

The K-12 sector is critical for redefining education. Think about the symbiosis between the various entities. K-12 institutions are preparing students for college while higher education institutions are producing the teachers of tomorrow as well as the next generation workforce for state and local government and the private sector.

How do we tie all these entities together? The technology is there to forge synergies. But each college or university is unique with its own culture, while at that K-12 level there are both private and public schools. The challenge for employers, educational leaders, and government officials is to work together to align education and the workforce to meet the challenges of an increasingly digital world changed forever by the COVID -19 pandemic.

State government officials and educational leaders are grappling with the same technology issues. If you look at the EDUCAUSE 2022 Top 10 IT review or NASCIO’s State CIO Top 10 Priorities for 2021, cyber security and risk management are at the top of both lists, followed by issues such as digital government/digital services/digital education, weathering the shift to the cloud, and workforce development.

Workforce Development Is Key

A well-educated workforce is key to the prosperity of states. By investing in education, state governments can boost the economic well-being of their people.

State legislators build the budgets for K-12 institutions and for higher-ed public institutions. Therefore, legislators need to stay informed about the current challenges K-12 and postsecondary educational institutions face so all the stakeholders can form cohesive, strategic approaches to building effective and efficient educational systems responsive to future statewide economic and community needs.

Education and workforce development are interwoven entities because whether students go on to college or enter the job market after high school, they need the skill sets to help them define their career path. Universities must work closer with K-12 institutions to ensure that teachers are trained to deal with the needs of the communities they serve. Each community is different with its own sets of challenges be it crime or low-performing schools or the lack of access to broadband and connectivity in rural communities.

So, how should educators and government officials work together to build better opportunities for our children?

Be Aware. Be Prepared. Get Involved.

Be Aware: Legislators and educators must be aware of changes that impact their communities. Too often government leaders are making decisions in a vacuum. It is important to be inclusive of all stakeholders. Are both educators and legislators aware of the latest in Learning Management Systems, video and online content, and individualized learning?

The EDUCAUSE Top 10 says educational institutions must “Evolve or Become Extinct.” That involves accelerating digital transformation to improve operational efficiency, agility, and institutional workforce development. But digital transformation is a nebulous term. It is important to define what that means for each area. Does that mean improving the overall stakeholder experience – student experience, faculty experience, citizen experience - across the board?

Be Prepared:  The COVID pandemic caught the world off guard. Government and educational institutions must be prepared to deal with the next pandemic or other disasters such as hurricanes or floods. EDUCAUSE talks about “Learning from COVID-19 to Build a Better Future.” The focus here is on using digitization and digital transformation to produce technology systems that are more student-centric and equity-minded. It is clear now that in the post-pandemic world institutions must create a blended campus to provide digital and physical work and learning spaces. Additionally, faculty must have “the digital fluency to provide creative, equitable, and innovative engagement for students,” according to EDUCAUSE.

Get Involved: Everyone must play a role in developing the type of educational system the nation needs and deserves at this critical point in world history—parents, educators, government officials, and employers. Teachers need to take on new roles while state legislators must work with Congress to make a nationwide change.

The Way Forward

Moving forward successfully will require effective mobilization of people, process and technology. The technology is there to forge greater collaboration and cooperation between K-12, higher education, and state and local government to transform the future of education.

For instance, educational institutions can integrate the solutions they rely on for communications and collaboration with a Learning Management System (LMS). This allows users, both teachers and students, to better control their video meetings and learning environment without ever leaving their LMS. This helps reduce issues with day-to-day learning and stress for teachers, parents, and students.

By leveraging innovations in contact center technology such as automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, organizations can provide more seamless, predictive and personalized customer and user experiences during collaboration and communications.

How educational leaders and state and local government officials harness these technological advances to better collaborate and put together new methods of teaching and approaches to learning is the next step we must take to ensure our children have the educational system they need and deserve.

Learn more about Avaya campus technology and collaboration and communication solutions.

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