The New Criteria For Measuring The Success Of Ed-Tech Solutions

Michael L. Mathews, Vice President of Innovation and Technology, Oral Roberts University

Michael L. Mathews, Vice President of Innovation and Technology, Oral Roberts University

I have been managing technology within education for slightly more than 20-years. This career has been gratifying. The opportunity to publish more than 100 reports, white papers, journal articles, magazine stories, and four books left a trail of many of the changes that technology has taken during this time. Added to the writings are approximately 25 global awards that include visiting and speaking at the White House and the United Nations on education transformation.

Numerous colleagues and friends naturally assume that I must be at the top of my field of study throughout these many accomplishments. I recently received the top-50 technology professional award, as shown below. The criteria for these awards are very similar and show a pattern of demonstrating leadership, innovation, and transformation through some of my efforts. Rest assured that the thesis of this article is not to brag about these accomplishments but rather to show how time has shifted, and this same recognition would not be possible under the new criteria for measuring success with educational technology.

The essential criteria to demonstrate educational technology success is measured much differently than in the past. Some of the many great higher education presidents I am privileged to know have set a new standard for measuring award-winning technology solutions. One of these presidents, Dr. Shah Ardalan, summed it up this way ‘Students of 2022 and beyond can compare and contrast good campus technology at the same level they can taste the quality of the foodservice.’ Another president states it this way… ‘whether we host an educational conference, parent weekend, or an entire school year, the two areas we must have perfected are food and technology.’

These presidents are verbalizing the very essence of the criteria for future students in higher education. The winning criteria include measuring a visitor's first experience of technology and food. That experience includes how the food and technology look, taste, and are interlaced through a weekend, course, or entire academic school year. After every conference, student weekend, or academic year, students fill out a survey where they will candidly share if WIFI was as good if not better than the food and athletic facilities.

On the one hand, as a senior technology manager, I could become upset with these new expectations for judging the quality of campus-wide technology. On the other hand, I would have to admit that I am one of the many technology leaders who have stated that technology has become intertwined in every campus, business, home, and society.

What does this new taste test me in a practical way

These new criteria for award-winning educational technology have forced me to rethink how people can taste and experience a new technology solution. These new criteria have produced some incredible experiences for the betterment of education across multiple sectors.

My first new taste test was to create a first-of-its-kind innovation cluster that would allow a fresh approach to educating the world in pediatric orthopedics. The innovation cluster included the immersive learning expertise of Oral Roberts University, the orthopedic genius and experience of a Foundation focused on advancing pediatric orthopedic surgery, and a Virtual Reality company that designs immersive learning experiences for orthopedic surgery. Within two months of forming the innovation cluster, a national media release was shared with the medical community at large.

The ultimate ‘taste-test’ came when the breakthrough technology was applied instantly on the campus of Oral Roberts University. It was applied in-person on campus as shown in illustration-1; whereby Dr. Peter Armstrong is training ORU student Charlotte Sika. Two weeks later, that same training was delivered in a hybrid model where an eight-year-old 2nd grader who was interested in orthopedic surgery was trained on a procedure by 75-year old Dr. Peter Armstrong at a distance; as shown in illustration-2. The eight-year old, Briella Angsomwine was in Houston, Texas while Dr. Peter Armstrong was in Bradenton, Florida. They could each hear each other in surround sound stereo in the Oculus Quest 2 VR Glasses.

It is critical to note that after years of planning education technology advancements, the new validation of success now includes the following measurables.

1. WIFI that could receive immersive learning experiences of ultra-high-quality surgical procedures from the computer cloud.

2. VR Glasses with easy to use online visual and audio tutorials.

3. Remote surround sound stereo instruction perfectly choreographed with the intense instruction.

4. Ability to affectively ship the VR glasses to remote locations.

5. Prove that whether a person is 75-years old or 8-years old they can learn how to maneuver the technology and education within minutes.

6. World-wide broadcasting to audience participants from the Instructor glasses to people around the world who have no VR Glasses.

7. Instant assessment of skills learned by the participants; which is now reported in major medical journals on reducing training by 580 percent , while improving accuracy.

The ultimate validation of how well people could ‘taste’ this experience was no longer tied to an award it could win. Rather, it was validated when numerous stories of this breakthrough solution were told around the campus of Oral Roberts University, 300 other colleges and universities shared the story, and six significant associations wanted to know how they could be part of this innovation cluster. Within weeks, numerous invitations began that included the inventor of Lasik surgery, Dr. Gholam A. Peyman, who desires a similar award-winning experience in ophthalmology.

Summary

If I win any future education technology awards, I desire first to measure if the technology users can ‘taste’ the goodness of the solution being provided.  Better yet, what if the users could salivate over the intended outcomes of the solution before they get to taste-test it.

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