Page 44 - Campus Technology, January/February 2020
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gies as the lynchpins upon which essential mod- ifications will need to be introduced and constructed, to adapt to the changes that the new technologies will introduce into workflows. But along with these technological changes come significant behavioral adaptations — and the fact that people will need to learn new facts, adjust to new procedures, be open to new ways to solve problems, acquaint themselves with new tools to operate, and give up old proce- dures they must now forget.
What is ironic in so many digital transforma- tion conversations is that it seems easier to focus on the tools of change — not necessarily on the changes that the tools are going to bring to the environments into which they are intro- duced. Technology tools are concrete, opera- tional, shiny and bright, exciting and new. It is easier to talk about them than it is to talk about the things people need to do to adapt to work- ing with the new tools. And what’s odd is the lack of anticipation about the potential of digital transformation to open up true innovation and creativity. That’s the real prize, and it seems like this point is often missed.
CT: Considering that big picture, what are some of the implications for higher education?
Wagner: The notion of digital transformation is currently met with a degree of blind sightedness in higher education settings. I hope that doesn’t
seem harsh. But since technology has demon- strated its ability to extend human cognitive capability, the popular reaction in higher educa- tion is an inescapable desire to extend every- one’s cognitive capabilities. The siren call for more personalized learning, more immersive learning experiences and more access to artifi- cial intelligence for students of all economic backgrounds continues to sound.
CT: Hasn’t that been of some value in education?
Wagner: Of course. Both in education and in broader fields, digitalization has expanded access to information and reduced costs for pro- viding resources to global audiences of all eco- nomic levels, bringing opportunities for equity, social justice and access to education to previ- ously marginalized populations.
But at the same time, we recognize some of the intrusiveness of the technologies’ reach, the risks to privacy and “digital redlining.” The biases found in some past data collection methods can be identified when predictions built on historical models are forecast into the future — this under- scores the importance of continual formative evaluation to eliminate those biases at their roots.
CT: Where in higher education are we seeing relevant research?
Wagner: Of course, in my role as a researcher at

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