author Marlee Hirson, Friday January 29, 2016

Technology has become increasingly integrated into North American postsecondary institutions in a number of capacities: the involvement in classroom learning processes, more individualized student support, and more. An article posted by Inside Higher Ed titled “Technology is Not Enough” discusses how universities and colleges need to have active change in regards to how technology is used by students, along with the technology itself.

Using Technology as a Solution

The article claims that it is not enough to simply insert technology into a problem in order to find a solution. In order for technology to be effectively used in postsecondary institutions, there needs to be a change within the student body. The article states that “Higher education is increasingly looking to technology as a means of tackling persistent equity challenges and improving student outcomes. Yet technology in and of itself is not a solution – unless people use technology to create new systems, behaviours and student experiences”. If students are uneducated or unmotivated about the technology, they most likely won’t use the app and its safety tools and resources.

The claim about the importance of new technology adoption is true for mobile safety apps as well. The app gives students the tools and resources they need to take action if they see suspicious activity, to immediately call for help or request positional monitoring if they feel unsafe, and choose to be kept updated about security threats. The app not only gives students these capabilities, but encourages them to be more proactive with their own safety and the safety of their peers. However, this goes to waste if students don’t use or don’t know how to use the mobile safety app during a real crisis.

Leadership and Safety Education

The article discusses that in order to to activate change, there needs to be leaders in place throughout different levels of the institution who “are capable of motivating people to have difficult, honest conversations and of encouraging them to think and act differently.” Although this is referring to different learning systems and student support, it is applicable to how students need to be educated about the features of a safety app. This type of leadership can be seen in university staff actively promoting the safety app and educating the campus about its features, as well as in student leaders who demonstrate an effort to learn about the safety app and utilize its features.

With mobile safety, giving students the tools and resources to stay safe on campus and respond effectively in the case of an emergency situation is just the first step. With effective leadership spurring a cultural change, technology can make a great impact on university and college campuses, with both educational programming and support and campus safety.

What are your thoughts on the article discussed? What sort of changes need to occur for your student body to completely adopt your mobile safety app as their go-to safety solution? Comment below and let us know what you think!