News Roundup – 3/29

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Our weekly roundup of education technology, workforce technology, and venture capital news.

Marketing spending and staffing in higher education – The focus of Simpson Scarborough’s 2024 Higher Ed CMO Study is on budgets and staffing in higher education marketing. Of course, within an higher education environment, marketing directly impacts enrollment, which is crucial for addressing key declines, especially for non-elite institutions, and in the competitive online programs space. Key findings from the report include the disparity between the marketing investments of larger and smaller institutions and the likelihood that marketing spend has been underestimated, and it highlights a trend of higher investment in staff over technology within higher education marketing.

Learn more about the work Motimatic, our portfolio company, of improving enrollment and student success by engaging learners where they are.

Educational Innovation and Technology: Let’s Talk About EdTech – The article urges you to consider the misuse and overuse of the term “innovation,” particularly in EdTech, where many of these purported innovations are just superficial adjustments or jumping on trends without real significant educational improvement. Using the expertise of Miguel A. Zabalza Beraza and Justin Reich, who critique the dominance of technology-driven “innovations” in education and their actual impact on learning, there is an emphasis on the necessity for genuine improvement accompanying innovation, rather than mere novelty. Does the pressure on educators to constantly innovate neglect the need to prove the efficacy or relevance of these changes?

Learning shouldn’t take a summer break, White House and Ed Dept say – White House and U.S. Department of Education officials are urging school district leaders to us available COVID-19 emergency funds and other federal sources to enhance summer learning programs. Select districts share their experiences in expanding summer learning opportunities, highlighting the importance of rigorous and engaging courses, accessibility, and partnerships with community organizations. Funding support initiatives, such as the proposed $8 billion Academic Acceleration and Achievement grant program, will help to address achievement gaps and support tutoring and extended learning programs. Because as the articles suggest, there aren’t many people who wouldn’t benefit from summer learning.

Lack of career development holds back women from leadership, survey says – In light of Women’s History Month, we thought this article was particularly apt. A report from global leadership company, DDI, reveals that while women leaders advocate for inclusive workplace cultures, they often lack access to career development opportunities like mentorship and leadership training for themselves. This makes them 1.5 times more likely than men to leave their companies for career advancement. Despite their positive impact on organizational culture and financial performance, women leaders are disproportionately underrepresented at the top. Additionally, double-marginalized workers, such as women of color and LGBTQ+ women, face even greater barriers to career progression, highlighting the need for employers to address gender discrimination and provide strategic leadership development to support women in leadership roles.

Some HBCUs are seeing enrollment surge. Here’s why. – Historically Black College University, Morgan State University, in Baltimore has been enjoying a historic surge in enrollment, reaching 9,808 students in fall 2023, with plans to reach 10,000 by 2030. What has been the cause of this surge? This growth is attributed to initiatives such as joining the Common Application, aggressive retention policies, and the proximity to Washington, D.C. In fact, HBCUs nationwide, including North Carolina A&T State University and Howard University, have also seen enrollment increases, driven by factors such as internal policies, philanthropic funding, and heightened racial awareness. This growth is crucial in providing access to higher education for underrepresented minority groups, particularly Black students and signifies progress towards creating more diverse and inclusive learning environments within higher education.

Five Overlooked Tech Trends Shaping The Workforce In 2024 – Technological advancements and changing workplace dynamics are driving significant transformation in the workplace this year. This article takes a look at the five overlooked trends with influence such as the debate between in-office and remote work arrangements, the shift towards skill-based learning, the spotlight on skills acquisition, the integration of workplace AI, and the increasing importance of soft skills are reshaping the landscape. These trends highlight the need for organizations to adapt to a more agile, skills-focused workforce while addressing challenges such as communication, collaboration, and talent retention in a rapidly evolving environment.

Universities Build Their Own ChatGPT-like Tools – Several higher education institutions, including The University of Michigan, have developed their own versions of ChatGPT to address concerns about equity, privacy, and intellectual property rights surrounding AI technology. These homegrown AI tools aim to provide free access to advanced AI capabilities for students and faculty while ensuring data privacy and protection of intellectual property. There are challenges to this, such as maintaining up-to-date information, but universities are increasingly interested in exploring the development of their AI platforms to foster equitable access and address concerns about commercial AI solutions.

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