Walking around BETT, teachers see great opportunities that they know can make a difference to learning. Teachers see snippets here, and snippets there within the offerings that each education technology company provides. The teacher knows that their budget does not allow for them to buy all of these whole-packages. And they only want snippets from one and snippets from another. Teachers are restricted. Learners miss out.
This used to be the case with music albums, and then along came iTunes. Each individual person just buys the tracks that they want. Not the whole album. Not dictated by what’s-on-the-shelf. They are empowered with the choice to obtain What they want, When they want it. Imagine the implications of teachers being empowered to make these choices. Imagine the implications of suppliers being able to make their materials discoverable; no matter how big or small they are. There are hundreds of suppliers of educational content. Some of these supplier names are known by every household in the UK. Their content is known to be brilliant, and these companies have successfully sold it to make people for a reason. Because it’s good. The reason it’s good? Because of the PEOPLE writing it. But these PEOPLE don’t always work for content suppliers. Often, these brilliant people are in classrooms teaching, or at home being parents…
There are thousands of teachers, authors, parents, professionals who have amazing ideas and resources that they have created. Thousands of resources that have been tried and tested in class, at home, that have a proven impact upon learning. Each of these sources of learning resource are created by people. People who want to make learning better, more exciting, more engaging. People who know how to make this happen.
So how do we empower these people to get their resources to the right people? How do the resources get to teachers, parents, children, who are all busy, and who just want quick & easy recommendations? eBay tackled a similar challenge, and it’s now used by individuals and companies alike to make available objects & experiences. Whether you are a huge international company, or an individual with an idea, you can contribute, and you can benefit.
It’s Choice. It’s Discoverability. It’s Empowerment.
Think of the implications for Education.
Learning is inherantly sociable. You can’t learn in complete isolation. Someone has to write the book. Someone has to design the activity. Someone has to prompt the event. So how do we use this inherant sociability as an opportunity? Facebook took an interesting approach. They empowered individuals to seek out others. To connect with people. To connect with groups sharing similar interests. Facebook is popular. People Want to connect. People Want to Talk. There’s a reason why the BT mantra of “It’s Good To Talk” is so well known. It’s because it’s true!
Imagine the impact on Learning for this to be possible for Learners. To be able to connect to other Learners in any place, in any size establishment, in any school, any local authority, any country. For Learners to connect to Learners.
Imagine the impact on learning where we are able to Discover others. Others who share our interests. Others who are tackling the same goals.
Imagine the impact on learning where we are able to make Choices about who we work with. No longer constrained by the boundaries of where we live and who our peers are. Why should our learning be defined by where we live and who else happens to live there?
Parents want their children to have better life chances than they had themselves; whether materially, emotionally, academically or physically. But most parents also want to know HOW to make this happen. Amazon tackles a similar issue in an interesting way. You buy a book – they track the data. Next time they say “If you thought this… was good then you might also like to try….”
Imagine the implications of this approach with learning. Using activity patterns, assessment, self-review and engagement data. Providing parents (and teachers & learners) with consequent suggestions. So if parents can access data around their child’s learning they also find out what to do about it. What can help them. What they can use. Who can assist. And not just restricted to what their child’s school has the capacity to provide.
Imagine how much impact parental engagement of this type could have on every learner. Imagine the impact of parents being able to Discover. Being able to make informed Choices. Being Empowered.
We’re great in UK schools at talking about Student Voice. But we’re also not always great about making it a reality; often fearing the direction that Student Empowerment might take. Democracy without a Democratic Process…. So how do we comfortably and safely empower learners to actually make their own learning their own responsibility?
Google have taken an interesting approach with iGoogle. Users choose what they want to know and need to know. Google slip in a few “we’d like you to know” aspects. All of this gets pushed to the individual in an accessible way. Combining Free Stuff with Chargeable. Combining Simple with Comprehensive. Combining what’s going on in My Life with what’s going on Out There. Imagine the implications of doing this for learners.
Children as learners. Parents as learners. Professionals as learners. Advisors as learners. Employees as learners.
All of these things come down to 3 words.
And that’s what UniServity believe Education is all about. That’s what we believe Life is all about.
So how do we make all this a reality?
A reality. Not an aspiration. Giving everyone Choice. Discoverability. Empowerment. Giving everyone the “Life” that they deserve.
There are 3 things that need to happen.
- We need to make “stuff” available.
- We need to provide the means to empower Choice – Choice of people, Choice of Stuff.
- We need the technology to make all this work.
And here’s the exciting bit… UniServity have been working on this…..
The UniServity team have been thinking… developing… talking… creating… but most of all listening…
Listening to the people that know best. Learners. Teachers. Parents. Leaders. That includes you.
So we’d like YOU to join in the conversation.
Tell us what is important to you, your learners, your community.
Tell us what you would like technology to be able to offer learning.
Tell us your ideas so that we can make them happen.