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Insights from EdTech and Pancakes: Enhancing access to education through technology in 2024

May 16, 2024 | EdTech

Welcome to another episode of EdTech and Pancakes, a podcast about paradigm shifts in education. In episode 7, we are joined by Dr. Sonja Ardoin, a tenured associate professor at Clemson University and a passionate advocate for equal access to education. With her extensive research into the challenges faced by first-generation and rural students, Dr. Ardoin offers a unique perspective on overcoming barriers to education, including through strategic use of technology. 

Enhancing access to education through technology in 2024

Watch a brief introduction to the episode below. 

Understanding access to education 

Dr. Ardoin’s research focuses on the varied hurdles students from diverse backgrounds face in accessing education. With a personal history rooted in a low-income, rural background and her extensive research, Dr. Ardoin brings an informed perspective to the dialogue on educational equity. She emphasizes how systemic factors like school funding disparities and less obvious factors like inadequate prenatal care can set the stage for unequal educational opportunities from an early age. 

Here is Dr. Ardoin’s overview of what access to education entails. 

The role of admissions in fostering equal access to education 

One standout point from Dr. Ardoin is the critical role that admissions processes play in either hindering or facilitating access to education. She highlights the variability in admissions policies – from open-access institutions that welcome all applicants meeting basic criteria, to elite schools with highly selective processes. Here, DreamApply can serve as a pivotal tool for institutions aiming to democratize access through more transparent, result-oriented and easily-navigable admissions systems. 

Leveraging technology to bridge gaps in access to education  

Dr. Ardoin advocates for the strategic use of technology to overcome barriers faced by underrepresented students. She points out the challenges of rural students, like limited broadband access, which can stifle their educational pursuits and awareness of financial aid possibilities. This calls for a more holistic, personalized and result-oriented approach to recruiting potential students, which can be supported by the features of DreamApply’s award-winning admissions management software

How can universities help applicants make conscious career decisions in the AI era? 

In May 2024 OpenAI released GPT-4o, featuring a new desktop app for ChatGPT and signaling yet another era for AI. How will this affect university admissions and student enrollment?   

Now more than ever it can be challenging for students to make conscious career decisions, considering both personal aspirations and projections about market demand. As a solution, Dr. Ardoin highlights the importance of providing detailed career outcomes of alumni to guide students’ career choices.

Here is Dr. Ardoin’s recommendation. 

List of topics discussed in episode 7

  1. Dr. Ardoin’s passion behind higher education advocacy
  2. The complex factors influencing access to higher education
  3. The impact of admissions processes on educational access
  4. Challenges to education access for rural students
  5. Technology’s role in enhancing opportunities for underserved communities
  6. Addressing post-COVID challenges in university admissions
  7. Humanizing the process amidst high application volumes
  8. Embracing a holistic approach in admissions
  9. How students discover and decide on higher education options
  10. Aligning career choices with industry demands and personal aspirations in the AI era
  11. Access to international education for applicants from rural areas

Listen to the full episode of EdTech and Pancakes with Dr. Sonja Ardoin. 

Listen to the audio version of the podcast on DreamApply’s website, Spotify or iTunes.  

About DreamApply  

Founded in 2011 in Estonia, DreamApply is an innovation-driven EdTech organization that improves access to education around the globe. DreamApply’s application management software helps more than 300 educational institutions across 40 countries to improve admissions, marketing, financial and other internal processes.  

DreamApply’s easy-to-use and customizable software increases student enrollment by 30% and reduces application processing time by 40%. With features designed with and for educational institutions, and integrations with commonly used systems, DreamApply empowers teams to get more done with less effort.  

Continue exploring by requesting your free, personalized demo.  

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