Last week, I represented FULL FABRIC at the Education Innovation Conference at Senate House, London. Read on for an outline of the three main trends and the key things I learnt from the speakers.
We must foster creativity of all forms
Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE delivered an inspiring account of his experience in entrepreneurialism and education. After moving from India to the UK in the 80s, he co-founded Cobra beer in London to fill a gap in the market for a beer that would complement Indian food. He has since entered education and currently serves as chancellor of University of Birmingham.
Although a gifted child, teachers consistently told Billimoria that he wasn’t a creative person, simply because he wasn’t good at drawing or playing an instrument. This lead him to suppress any creative urges throughout his education.
He explained that it was only when he founded businesses and noticed that he was finding imaginative solutions to problems that he realised that creativity isn’t just the reserve of the arts. He argued that if we encourage in children regardless of its form, GDP would grow hugely because business requires you to be creative every day.
Andreas Schleicher speaks at EIC 2017
Edtech can encourage experience-based learning
During an innovation showcase, London-based edtech company SAM Labs explored how edtech can encourage active learning. Morten Bernhard Hagen presented an engaging demo of their robot designed to teach ‘tangible computing skills’.
We also saw a demo of Blippar, a visual discovery browser which harnesses augmented reality. Head of Education Colum Elliott-Kelly argued the merits of experience-based learning and explained how AR can help teachers make the most of the physical environment surrounding students.
AI is coming to the classroom
The last talk of the day was, unexpectedly, perhaps the most energetic and animated. Edtech entrepreneur Donald Clark spoke passionately about the educational value of AI.
Clark gave the example of Ashok Goel, a Georgia Tech professor who developed a chatbot to answer student’s questions. Throughout the semester, no students guessed that their queries weren’t being answered by a human. The ‘teaching assistant’, known to students as Jill Watson, was even nominated for a teaching award.
Clark went on to explain why edtech should be build to work for the next 10 or 20 years, commenting “innovation is only innovation if it’s sustainable.”
Sharon Bamford underlined the importance of preparing children for an uncertain future. She explained that we have to teach children skills they can apply to “not five different jobs, but five different careers.”
Vipul Bhargava from Department for International Trade spoke engagingly about the value of international collaboration. In his view, “collaboration makes a better product.”
The day’s talks and panel discussions were made user-friendly by Glisser. This interactive service let attendees follow presentation slides on their device, ask the speakers questions and vote for which questions they’d like to hear answered.
Were you at EIC? Let us know what your highlights were by leaving a comment or tweeting us.