Creative Disruption in Higher Education: Society, Technology, and Globalization

Creative Disruption in Higher Education: Society, Technology, and Globalization

Pamela A. Lemoine (Troy University, USA) and Michael D. Richardson (Columbus State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6261-0.ch011


Globalization and the mushrooming of digital technologies accelerated tremendously during the last decade. Current technology clearly provides the means for acquiring greater amounts of information with more efficiency than ever before. Higher education faces its greatest combination of challenges—economic uncertainty, accountability, and globalization—overlaid by emerging technologies. University leaders face the twin trials of dramatic decreases in public financial support and the increasing cost of resources to avoid technological obsolescence. Nothing has affected education as profoundly as the advent and implementation of technology in higher education. The focus of society in the 21st century will be knowledge-based: learning will be critical and information will continually become obsolete.
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Two major world changes, moving from a manufacturing-based economy to a knowledge-based economy and the globalization of education, including the shrinking of the world’s workforce to compete globally, have led to many innovations in higher education (Lemone, Hackett & Richardson, 2017). However, not all have been received with a positive evaluation.

In recent years nothing has effected education as profoundly as the advent and implementation of technology in higher education (Martin, 2017). Computers have become universal in most higher education institutions with e-mail and the web parts of normal operation (Morozov, 2013). In addition, the depth, diversity, and value of technology generated information continue to grow at an incredibly rapid pace (Richmond, 2015). The Internet has made finding information and doing research much less difficult than before its conception (Devi, Bimol & Saikia, 2014).

Higher education students have free access to technology in the classroom, in the library, and their personal technology devices (Rabah, 2016). In the last two decades, the focus of learning has shifted from using linear interactions (for example: face to face instruction) into cooperating and collaborating communities of learners enabled by technology. New technologies, especially the Web 2.0, virtual and social networking tools, enables learning to be a phenomenon of participated and shared intelligence (Charbonneau-Gowdy, 2017). Thus far, technology advocators have focused on finding new tools and technologies in their quest to control data, information and knowledge. However, focusing and understanding the social informatics perspective of technology is very important as it directs the research attention towards social and organizational contexts of learning within which the new technologies are deployed for the benefit of education and society (Fenwick & Edwards, 2016).

A change in perspective, strength and usage of current and futuristic technologies seems to be inevitable. Economic and technological changes are occurring at an accelerating rate in the knowledge-based society, making life-long learning for everyone a necessity. This is particularly the case in the transition period from industrial production to a knowledge and communication-based society (Gallardo-Exhenique, Marques-Molias, Bullen & Stribos, 2015) that dramatically impacts current higher education models for delivery of instruction.

In this chapter the authors speculate on the increasingly abundant use of technology in higher education and society and how this has impacted society and the higher education institutions that serve society. In addition, the globalization of society and higher education has been exacerbated by these uses of technology, but not always positively. Therefore, the authors explore the intersection of globalization, technology and society as a focal point for explaining the creative disruption experienced in most global higher education institutions. Figure 1 displays a possible relationship between the variables discussed in this chapter and their connections to society.

Figure 1.

Relationships of contributing factors to society


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