This is a good question. Why now? Why is research so important now? Why are we increasing the activity in innovation now? How will this affect me? Have you wondered about these questions?
Innovation is the way forward in the Modern Age. People are demanding different things. The world is saying we have to fix the “wicked problems”. Do you know what they are? Depression, obesity, domestic violence and so on. These “wicked problems” are things that are difficult to solve. Hence the mantra of- we need to do things differently (innovatively).
Innovation is expected in the next generation as a core way to operate. How do we know this? Just observe the children of today. Watch how they entertain themselves, or when they are out how parents entertain them to keep them quiet. Mum or Dad (or gandparents) often hand them their mobile phones. On the phones Netflix or other avenues to present children’s shows are available, games and music. They are being entertained through sound and visual images that change quickly. If you think you are IT savy, wait until these kids are adults!
It is not just children though. Look around you next time you sit to have coffee. How many people are on their phones looking at social media? Students expect to use technology. They also want flexibility. We know that from various research reports. I know that personally from my last learning and teaching project in 2019. This is hot of the press as the journalists say. Students told the research team I am involved in they are time poor. They want to be able to study anywhere. More importantly, have you noticed how modern-day students become bored quickly? They want to be entertained some researchers say. How do we achieve this? Looking at different things, seeing action on screen and breaking up the study time are all key effective strategies to keep students engaged. How do we do that? One way is through technology but if we can think of new ways, then we will get ahead of the game and be known as innovative educators. We need to become leaders in this area. Already we have request to partner with us as we are able to work with technology. Innovation is our friend. Innovation needs to become our core business. This will set us apart from the others and make us globally competitive.
We need to do all that and more if we are to succeed. We need to have Best Practice everywhere. In our teaching and learning activities, in our curriculum, in our services and in operations. How do we achieve that you may ask? Research!
We need nothing less than Best Practice. Best Practice aids our reputation, our quality of our courses and opportunities to bring in income. It will also assist us with the regulatory bodies as we demonstrate Best Practice, including in our policies and governance. But how does this all relate to research?
We must be consumers of research; knowing which evidence is most valuable. Many of us need to go beyond that level and be researchers as that is what is expected by our regulatory bodies and the Australian government. We want that too, as we need to contribute to new knowledge. Let’s not complain about what is not going well, let’s seek evidence of how to sort it. Research brings us new skill and credibility. Research that is purposeful and meaningful is providing a service to our local, national and international communities.
Are you now convinced we need to innovate and research? If not, let me challenge you. There are many staff I am yet to meet. For those I have met I can see that people want to do well. They want HCI to be successful. They are contributing and working hard. But to do your best work, it needs to be based on evidence. Or when we hit a road bump in our operations, we need to sort it and the usual ways may not be working so we need to innovate. Why innovate and research now? Because we have no choice. It is the way of the world of education, particularly in Australia. Do we want to be sustainable, absolutely so let’s put ourselves in front of others so we are competitive? Why now? Because we must.