This article was first featured in the Lead1 Association Oct/Nov 2021 newsletter.
The educational landscape for students who also participate in college sports has experienced two major changes in the past couple of years. The first being NIL legislation and the second being the global pandemic/lockdown due to Covid 19. While these uncharted unknowns caused plenty of uncertainty, they also created multiple new channels of opportunity. NIL requirements will be a driving force in shaping education technology for the next generation of student-athletes.
The Student Athlete Juggling Act – Post NIL
For good or for bad, the introduction of NIL into college athletics has added yet another element onto the already full plate of student-athletes. Not only are they having to shuffle their academic and sport responsibilities, now they have the opportunity to explore the possible entrepreneurial channels NIL opens up for them. And let’s face it, there is a lot to learn when it comes to starting a business; there are multiple layers and possible legal, financial, and PR pitfalls to be aware of.
But, it is also a great opportunity for student-athletes to explore other possible career paths in areas such as business, law, finance, and marketing with hands-on experience, as well as a great way to build supportive networks that will last far beyond their college careers.
Finding and Using the Right Tools
With the lockdown quickly forcing all learning outside of the traditional classroom, creative people quickly found creative solutions to keep daily life going as much as possible, and a large part of those solutions live in the digital ecosystem. Now that time has passed and we have exited the full force of lockdown, most of us still find ourselves in a hybrid new world of either wanting to or needing to lean on the technology that got us through it all.
Virtual and tech supported learning has been on the rise for a few years now, thanks to online schooling and classroom assistance software such as Blackboard. And while education technology is still in its infancy in many ways, there are so many wonderful benefits that make it an essential tool to help these college athletes who are juggling more than most.
Technology Makes Education More Accessible
Building educational based software can be more cost effective and scalable than traditional routes, and this makes it more accessible to more students. And software is always “on”, so it makes it easier for student-athletes to squeeze in a lesson on paying your taxes when it best fits into their busy schedule, no matter if they are on their way to class or practice, or lounging in bed before calling it a day. The 24/7 access to resources empowers student-athletes to use the technology when it best suits their busy schedules. And technology allows Athletic Departments to easily scale their educational content based on communication with student-athletes that identifies “needs and wants” for content.
Technology Makes Education More Engaging
Having educational resources hosted in a technology based solution can make it much easier to provide lessons in a variety of mediums such as videos, articles, and quizzes. This can give student-athletes the opportunity to choose content based on their learning style preferences, making it that much more absorbable and effective. A technology based education resource repository can also make it much easier to incorporate more diverse voices in the authorship of the content, granting a much broader spectrum of voices, perspectives, and representations. Education technology can help host and push out timely topics for real time conversations for even more engaging teaching tactics.
For example, Spry recently launched a new feature that provides useful education content based on a student-athletes NIL interest and activities. Data collected from our users software experience allows us to build analysis parameters which suggest content ideas to Athletic Departments.
Technology Makes Education More Actionable
With educational resources living in technology, data from usage and interactions is much easier to collect. Analyzing this data makes gleaning helpful insights much faster and more effective, leading to better iterations, targeting, and creation of future educational content. Utilizing education data also makes it easier to follow participation in educational requirements and mandates, and target specific groups or individuals that need additional reminders.