Cigdem Ertem, global director for education and public sector sales at Intel Corporation, opened Futuresource Consulting’s Ed Tech Collaborative event last week, with a thought-provoking keynote on the ‘Future of Education in a Post-Pandemic Environment’.
“Going forward – better devices, better connectivity and manageability will be needed,” she said, adding there are “that great opportunities for technology-based solution providers to create better interaction design and integrate tech to support pedagogy, psychology and create better learning outcomes.”
Ertem discussed how governments, industry leaders and decision makers needed to plan and invest in more resilient education systems and most importantly, equip future generations for the fourth industrial revolution. A blend of technology and higher-level thinking skills are needed to effectively shape the workforce of the future.
The sudden shift in education models over the past year created a huge challenge for students, teachers and parents, as well the education system itself. Its infrastructure, content, dissemination and evaluation metrics all had to be reimagined and re-evaluated. Even the laptop, PC and tablet had to step up from being a straightforward companion device to delivering effective UCC functionality.
“Education systems that did well had several characteristics in common; they had prioritised at risk students for interventions, had regularly upgraded tech infrastructure, and invested continually in professional development;” acknowledged Ertem. “Going forward – better devices, better connectivity and manageability will be needed”.
Additionally, student engagement has come to the fore as a paramount priority, as in a remote environment, and this is a challenge. “Like us adults, children need to grow self-regulation and mindfulness to build resilience for them to support themselves in the future,” added Ertem. “This presents great opportunities for technology-based solution providers to create better interaction design and integrate tech to support pedagogy, psychology and create better learning outcomes.”
Ertem went on to citing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who identified future teaching scenarios in its Future of Schooling 2040 Report. Two common elements emerged from all learning scenarios from classroom to fully remote – firstly the integral role of technology in delivering learning and secondly, the adoption of key skills by all key stakeholders.
“This underscores the point that any futureproof strategic approach should drive new skills to deliver learning in any circumstances – eg, through a pandemic, any natural disaster, and via remote locations. This should be at its core. Integration of technology has become even more important as the learning gap continues to expand. We need to plan for what the future of schooling will look like in the future.”
The 4th industrial revolution is and will fundamentally disrupt our world, which brings with it feelings of disruption as well as excitement, explained Ertem. Even before Covid-19, we knew that preparing the next generation for this new world would be a big and urgent challenge, as the role of humans and machines in the workplace is redefined. It will create a real opportunity to maximise innovation and creativity, as physical and digital worlds fuse together. However the skills gap needs to be addressed.
The skills gap issue is highlighted in the World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs Report 2020 Report, where it estimates that as of October last year, 6 out of 10 adults lack basic IT skills and in terms of schooling, 272 billion days of learning had been lost or disrupted. At the same time our world is transforming; by 2025 there will be a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, creating 97 million new jobs and eliminating 85 million traditional jobs.
There are almost 2 billion children in school around the globe. This shift will significantly impact their lives and their roles in the future work force. These changes hold great promise to help the world solve the greatest challenges facing our world. Today’s young people will require higher order thinking skills so they can solve problems in ways never imagined before. Even traditionally hands on careers will harness the power of technology. Future jobs will demand analytical thinking, ideation and complex problem solving, systems analysis and evaluation, technology design, programming, creativity and innovation. Using tech to access and consume is no longer sufficient; students need devices, tools and training to apply, analyse and create at the pace of change.
You can view the whole of Cigdem Ertem’s keynote speech here.