The IFL team reflect on a recent EdTech event and ponder what soft skills are essential for jobs of the future.
On 11th September, Lucy and Rob from the IFL team attended The EdTech Debate delivered by a Supernotes, a startup spun from King’s College University. Supernotes have created a unified tool that helps students take notes, organise materials, and collaborate; hence their interest in educational technology.
Delegates received presentations from 4 speakers:
“The Case for a Formal University Education in the Age of EdTech”
Anna Gross, CEO, Project Access
Anna spoke about ‘awkward social mobility’; what it is, how to solve it and whether parents welcome it.
“If disadvantaged people are going up, then who is coming down?”
“Does education need to be reformed in light of new technology?”
Elena Sinel, Founder of Acorn Aspirations & Teens in AI
Elena’s focus was unapologetically focused on teenagers having commented ‘uni students are a lost cause’ which caused a ripple of laughter amongst the audience. She suggested soft skills, like empathy, should form the basis for the future guiding principles for future education.
“Unless we solve root problem of education system that has remained static, we will struggle to nurture innovation and prepare kids for jobs in the future that don’t even exist yet”
“Beyond University: Life after Graduation”
Mark Corbett, CEO, Edvent
Mark spoke passionately about student learning & how today, students (and teachers) still aren’t placing enough emphasis on long term vision and the power of soft skills.
“Biggest challenge for graduates is saying no to the wrong opportunities. Not enough people ask themselves who they want to be.”
The Future of Education: Technology Enablers
Professor Mischa Dohler
Mischa spoke about a circular knowledge economy; an ongoing project which is geared towards sustainable skills and innovation involving a number of ‘sponges’. These sponge layers include schools, universities, the corporate world and startups..or rather start-ins. He reflected on a famous Simon Sinek quote: “Hard skills wont matter in 20 years” something many of the audience wholeheartedly agreed with. Forget industry 4.0, Mischa wants to empower Human 4.0.
“Universities are important for the social network it fosters. Don’t think of university as educating in hard skills, it provides social cohesion”
Take-away stats from the event included:
- In USA, 94% of top professionals had a college degree (Anna Gross)
- 4% of doctors are from a working class background (Anna Gross)
- 52% of graduates aren’t in graduate level jobs (Mark Corbett)
- An average of 7,200 students dropout of high school each day, totalling 1.3 million each year (Elena Sinel)
SuperNotes provided a neat write-up too – take a look here.
Other tools/apps mentioned:
UdaCity – provider of online courses
Lynda – online courses supported by LinkedIn
What digital learning tools do you use? Email us [email protected]
In summary, the event was less of a debate but threw up some interesting challenges faced by today’s education curriculum. More value is gleaned from after-school clubs, like the coding workshops delivered by Elena, and vocational training Vs in-school traditional learning.
How are you teaching tenacity and grit? Tweets us @IFL_East
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