Featuring exceptionally experienced key speakers in their field, the Think series of webinars illuminates some of the trending digital topics and issues that we face.
As the first in our ‘Talk’ Webinar series, we wanted to explore how technology might shape the future of education. Hosted by our CTO Dan, we were lucky enough to speak with fantastic experts from the education sector. The panel included:
The world is moving quickly
Having produced our own bespoke education platform, we know first-hand how technology can be harnessed by education and training providers alike, to really enhance their offering. But we wanted to find out more from our experts about how they think this type of technology can aid learning and help grow businesses.
Dan opened the discussion with his own experience from 20 years ago – when, during University, he was an intern at Microsoft and sat his MCP exams in a computer lab answering questions on a beige computer terminal, having studied from a well-thumbed book shared with him from his team. Back then to study, you bought books or found what you could scrabble for online. Today, there’s a host of online learning courses from multiple providers, but from his own experience at least, most of this is self-paced training courses based on a prescribed, linear curriculum.
Since Covid-19 hit, Dan talked about how UK Schools were suddenly forced to provide remote learning, with no time to prepare, and even though they have done a great job, it has sadly left children falling behind. In fact, he said, this lockdown has forced us ALL to grasp new technologies.
The caution to the wind that was thrown to allow business survival, has been an eureka moment in demonstrating the massive benefits of modern cloud platforms. This, combined with uncertainties on relying solely on physical class-based education, is a cocktail and accelerator for exciting innovation in education, Dan noted, moving on to introduce Bill.
A blended approach
Bill gave attendees an introduction to Explore Learning and went on to talk about 4 key areas he believes are relevant to every education setting.
He began by sharing that Explore Learning had enjoyed rolling out a blended learning approach. His curriculum software tools are interactive and highly engaging. Before covid-19, everything happened in-centre for his target children aged 5-14 years, but following the onset of the pandemic, he quickly adapted his business to the circumstances.
Pre-covid, Explore Learning identified 3 key areas where they felt technology could make a key difference to his business. Covid helped identify a fourth:
The need for ever-improved individualisation
Bill said that he often hears parents say, “we just feel his individual needs aren’t being met.” Nationally, we prescribe a curriculum based on age alone, but what’s right for one isn’t always right for another in terms of their current learning path.
Consumers are less predictable in their consumption, notes Bill. For example, loyalty to supermarkets has virtually disappeared. Parents shop online, get takeaways delivered, or pick up ‘top-up shops’ on their way home. In education, families need flexibility too.
Parents being engaged in learning
The communications revolution can help to communicate with parents, and this then feeds back into improving students learning.
Closing the advantage gap
Bill noted that children who were positively engaged in their school education and well-supported at home have continued to be strong academically, but those who weren’t, Bill notes their education has really stagnated. This has exaggerated a pre-existing divide. Technology can help close that gap.
Explore Learning’s ‘Compass’
Bill explained that for his own business, he doesn’t think they’ll ever go back to delivering only in-store, he believes technology has enabled him to offer a truly blended approach. Bill finished with explaining the national tutoring programme and the ambitious bid he has made. He hopes to be able to use this to show how tutoring can be delivered in a more effective way than the traditional 1-2-1 model.
Exploring our personal relationships in education
Dan handed over to Rob of Wirehive, who complimented the work Explore Learning are doing, stressing its importance. Rob explained that the traditional learning style never suited him as a child, and he found learning in the way it was offered to him was just not effective. For him, the internet allowed him to teach himself in a way that worked for him, i.e. through online video content and learning by doing. Ultimately, it gave him the skills to become a top-tier technologist.
One of the projects he has recently done with Wirehive is with The University of Surrey. He explained that most universities are backwards in their technology journey, really, they haven’t got there yet in their digital transformation. The University of Surrey wanted to move all of their technology on to the cloud, meaning they are scalable, more cost effective to run etc. Part of the reason to do that, was to deal with situations like pandemics, Rob commented.
As a sector, education is behind the curve
On the whole, Rob said he felt education is behind the curve, and he feels that is a shame, but there are real opportunities for education, he stresses. He urged attendees to not assume everyone is doing better than you if you’re not there yet, even Ivy League institutions aren’t great yet in their deployment of these platforms he said.
We had many questions submitted in advance and during the webinar itself, and were pleased to be able to get through a number of these during the event. You can watch the full webinar video to see how the conversation progressed.
If you want to find out more about how technology can help your business grow and offer a more personalised learning experience, please contact us and we’d be happy to discuss how we can help.
CEO and Founder of Explore Learning
As early adopters of digital, Explore Learning has been leading the way with their new eLearning system, Compass. While the project was initiated pre pandemic, this bespoke system harnesses the power of Microsoft BI and has allowed Explore Learning to pivot their offering and begin trialling the solution during lockdown.
As CEO and Founder of Explore Learning, Bill Mills shared his experience of setting up this innovative platform and how he thinks it will shape the future of their business and the education sector as a whole.
CEO of Wirehive
Working with University of Surrey to kick-start a full digital transformation project, Wirehive have helped to implement a cloud-first strategy for the university’s internal technology requirements.
Supporting their global outlook and culture of innovation, Robert talks us through the journey they’ve been on and how he sees this strategy reshaping the university’s future.
CTO of Talk Think Do
Dan’s extensive technical knowledge spans several years working across a variety of different sectors, with his expertise honed through his work on a series of industry-defining digital projects.
As CTO of Talk Think Do, Dan is instrumental in not only leading the company in strategic technical direction and crucial research and development; but also building flourishing relationships with our technical partners, notably Microsoft, where his career first started.