Here are my notes from Slush 2014 Educational key note speakers. In Part 1 I covered trends that suited best for kindergarten – grade 12 (K-12) education. In this part 2 I will focus on the megatrends of the future of education.

John Martin – CEO of Sanoma Learning

John said that the teacher is the killer app, but technology can still give great support. He sees 7 trends especially in the future of k-12 education.

  1. From imput to impact: Now we think of how many hours do we learn something. In the future we will want to know how do we learn, what are the needed skills, does this lesson improve my skills and was it cost effective.
  2. From mass to personal: Content will be personal to individual students
  3. From work load to work flow: Teachers in Finland now use 15h a week for administrative work. In the future this should go down and the focus will be on the learning process and all the work related to it.
  4. From data to insights: Using technology produces data. In the future we can use this big data to help individuals learn better.
  5. From classroom to borderless: Now there are too few devices in the classroom. In the future this will change and students start to use their own devices for learning and wil use them especially outside the school building.
  6. From 20th to the 21st century: Emphasis in learning has been in remembering facts during the last 800 years. Now it finally is starting to shift towards critical thinking and problem solving. We have to think of ways to teach these new skills.
  7. From scarcity to abundance: Now some children around the globe can’t go to school but in the near future everyone can go to school and learn everywhere.

Brad Hargreaves – Co-Founder of General Assembly

Brad tries to empower students to do what they love and to learn the skills of the 21st century. Their idea is to create a 3 month course after the college. They cover variable skills needed in working life that they do not teach in schools (creating ideas, entrepreneurship, presentation skills etc.). 90% of their students get a job within 3 months and they have a very active alumni bases which creates good networking opportunities.

Brad thinks next focus on education will be “badges” of different skills that will tell in more detail, what skills has the student learned. He thinks all the technical skills should be tangible for the students and employees and available to all. Not in the hands of traditional software certificates like Microsoft .NET and Cisco. Now there is no certificate i.e. for java script. In the current situation, an employee does not have any certificate, so the employer does not know what the student can actually do. In programming education sector the focus will also turn more to open source resources.

General assembly provides now skill credentials i.e. for Paypal, GE, Coinbase, 2U, Newscred, IPG. Students can now build profiles, in which they can communicate what they know and what they can do, how well they have done their work, what kind of projects have they done.

Michael Staton – Partner at Learn Capital

Learn Capital has invested in various educational software companies that have in total of over 120 Million users and their company was selected for Top100 innovators in the journal of education. Megatrends happening today according to Staton:

  • There is more and more interest in education and constant learning
  • Urban regions are creating information and educational hubs in their cities
  • There are more educational startups and investors than ever
  • Products are global. Many will go in 4 years from start to global domination.
  • Continuous learning is vital to everyone to stay in the working life
  • More and more content and basic level applications are given for free
  • DIY platforms will increase
  • New school designs will emerge i.e. AltSchool

Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet – Co-Founder of EdTech Europe

Benjamin is an organiser of Edtech, a big seminar for Educational technologies. He says education sector has a huge potential. There are 1,4 Billion students, 62,5 million educators and it’s value today is $4,2tn which is three times larger than the global media and entertainment industry and twice the size of global software industry. Majority of investments are in USA. Their success stories include Bettermarks an adaptive program to learn Mathematics, which was also a winner of Edtech 2014.

The second example is the Student Room. It is a platform meant for students’ peer support in school and in normal life needs, like boyfriend or girlfriend problems etc. It also has math teaching programs with adaptive learning so a student will get exercises suitable for his / her level. A students can also repeat exercises until they get them right. This way they are much more motivated and even the kids who failed before are passing, according to Benjamin. The Student Room has 2,5M members and all the students can buy their learning tools there. They are looking for more partners, who can join and start working within 6 months with no economic risk.

Marko Kuuskorpi – Principal at Kaarina School

During the last few years, students have gotten less and less motivated. And still most of the learning in school is like going to a medieval church with textbooks and a teacher preaching in the front. In Kaarina – the Piikkiö Comprehensive School provides education for about 650 pupils today completely without books. The school bought tablets for all students. Marko said they will save a lot of money in the long run all though they have invested over 1M in two years.

It took 3 hours for the students to learn to use the tablets but it took 7 days of training for the teachers to learn to use them. If this is not taken into consideration when buying technology in schools, teachers will not use the devices.

So far boys have been more motivated to learn with the new technology but there has been no big change in motivation of the girls.