Transforming classrooms while building trust

On eboys and two girsl students smile as tehy look at a laptop together.

By Antony Cook, Regional Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel, Microsoft Asia

antony cookThe world is changing faster than ever – and so are the skills students will need to be life-ready by the time they graduate. To keep up with this rapid pace of change, the education and learning sector is undergoing an unprecedented shift, with technology being a key enabler.

But, are consumers in Asia truly ready for digital transformation in the education sector?

My answer is yes – albeit with some conditions.

There is no denying that digital innovation, including AI, will be responsible for revamping the traditional classroom, including how students learn and interact with teachers as well as how technology is leveraged to engage and encourage critical thinking and spark innovation. With affordable and easy-to-manage technology that transforms classroom time, educators can focus on delivering personalized learning experiences that enable better outcomes.

As school leaders, educators and education systems begin to embrace a holistic set of factors to provide pathways to the digital transformation of learning and enhanced student success, a massive need for data and analytics is emerging. This demand will in turn lead to a shift of instructional models, new approaches to funding, regulatory mandates and increased demand for transparency and accountability.

Trust is a must

Transforming classroom time and keeping students focused on learning by saving time on everything from lesson planning to tracking grades, while at the same time increasing collaboration is the holy grail for most, if not all schools. However, this can only be achieved when consumers truly believe that the educational institutions will not compromise their trust.

According to the Microsoft-IDC Asia Pacific Digital Trust Study: Understanding Consumer Trust in Digital Services in Asia Pacific’s Education Sector, security and compliance are the two most important trust elements for consumers. A full 61% of consumers preferred to deal with an organization that had a more trusted digital platform, and were also willing to recommend it to others even if it cost more.

A trusted digital experience presents an opportunity for educational institutes to differentiate themselves, gain competitive advantage and, eventually, increased market share and profitability. The same study revealed that slightly more than half (53%) of consumers said they would switch to a different educational institute providing similar digital services, about one-third (34%) would stop using the service altogether and 17% would actively dissuade others from using the service if their trust was compromised.

With the usage of AI becoming more mainstream in the education sector, even more special attention needs to be paid to leveraging it in a trusted manner. The good news is that consumers in Asia have an implicit trust in the education industry, with more than half of consumers believing that educational organizations and educators will:

  • Treat their information in a secure manner (59%)
  • Provide a reliable digital service to them (59%)
  • Meet established industry and regulatory compliance (59%)
  • Use their information in an ethical manner (59%)
  • Treat their personal information in a confidential manner (56%)

There is no denying that inclusive, student-centered classrooms increase overall learner success and improve learning outcomes. They provide learning environments that empower students to be independent and creative learners, build reading, language and STEM skills and prepare them for their futures. Letting students to choose how to interact, build skills and express their ideas with powerful tools and technology enabled by AI is a key milestone in the transformation journey.

With consumers holding governments and technology companies responsible for ensuring that AI is used in a trusted manner, it is our responsibility to start this dialogue so the education sector can continue to leverage the power of AI and data for the benefit of future generations.

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