Successful educational strategies to engage all members of our communities have the power to transform the social, economic and cultural productivity of a nation. With education being a key strategic target for improving the employability of a future worker, this now represents a key target for private investors who are keen to profit from public and commercial needs. What can we learn about global education developments from the investment trends by these financiers and the products they are supporting?
Have you every wondered why certain environments offer a stronger emotional resonance that others? Why we are drawn to a particular kind of place? Despite being a geography graduate (from many years ago), I recently discovered that there is a name for this, ‘Psychogeography’. It was originally coined by Guy Debord, who defined it as: “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals.” Can many of our self-direct learning habits be defined in the same way?
The issue of feedback in education is a burning topic which is never likely to go away anytime soon. It is now a driving issue in improving student engagement and satisfaction, with traditional formats being threatened through the escalation of blended and large-scaled learning courses. It touches on all aspects of teaching delivery and assessment, though is to be felt more acutely with moves towards the TEF in the UK, and learning analytics promising greater transparency at cohort and personal level on student progress.
Our university graduates now face daunting pressures finding their desired careers in a rapidly changing job market. As the number of full-time undergraduate places at UK universities rose by 2 per cent in 2015, a City and Guilds report suggests that less than a third of roles will be available to graduates by the time they enter the jobs market. Whilst respondents remain optimistic that good exam results (58%) and going to university (39%) are the best route to a good career, economic modellers EMSI have analysed job market trends and predict significant shortfalls in the availability of job for those sought by young people. Several factors are shaping this dramatic shift, with technology driving companies towards greater automation, and globalisation and now Brexit changing the local and national availability of jobs.
This leaves young people, and increasingly the workforce as a whole, with difficult choices:
- What skills are important in the new workplace?
- How can they gain these and be able to demonstrate these effectively to employers?
- And what can employers do to maintain a skilled and motivated workforce?
I attended the excellent CanvasCon at the British Museum yesterday (incredible venue, btw!). It was a great day, spent with many folk who couldn’t hide their enthusiasm for the LMS/VLE, Canvas. And yet, one particular piece of software captured my attention and, frankly, surprised me: Zappar– an augmented reality solution.
At this time of year University programme teams will be introducing their learning management systems (LMS) to their new students, outlining all the mandatory and optional features available to support their studies. The LMS (aka VLE) is the workhorse of educational technology world, serving teachers, administrators and managers with a panoply of tools for teaching, assessment, placements and course administration. The interfaces continue to look slicker, the functionality more comprehensive, integration impressive, but how much do they support the learning process, and what more should should we expect from these critical educational tools ? Continue reading “Where next for the LMS?”
The workplace is changing, and rapidly. Jobs that have been staples of the economy for many generations are likely to be replaced by new digitally automated solutions, whilst the manner in which we engage with work is decentralising from the office to the home and local cafe. The pace of change is likely to have already affected most current workers, through job losses, efficiency drives and relocation, and it therefore demands a rethink in the way in which we reskill ourselves, adjust our working lives, and consider future employment for the next generation. How can mainstream education and lifelong learning opportunities meet this new challenge?