An avalanche is set to transform the traditional university model, according to Sir Michael Barber, Pearson’s Chief Education Adviser. Speaking before an audience of over 2000 participants from an estimated 100 countries at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN, Barber explained that factors such as the globalisation of education, the changing economy, and the now ubiquitous nature of content are changing the face of education, and a revolution is inevitable.
With 25% of 21 year-old graduates in the UK being unemployed, compared with 20% unemployment among school leavers of the same age, it is clear that the value of a traditional degree in the labour market is decreasing. The discrepancy between degrees, diplomas and employment took centre stage at the annual ONLINE EDUCA debate, where Jef Staes, author of My Organisation is a Jungle (Belgium), and Donald Clark, University for Industry (UK), successfully waged war on diplomas and degrees, while Sue Martin, SAP (Germany ), and Kirstie Donnelly, City & Guilds (UK), mounted an impassioned but ultimately unsuccessful defence.
Under the overall theme of reaching beyond tomorrow, ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN’s 400 speakers have been exchanging their experiences of both experimental and tried and tested technology-enhanced educational models from around the world.
One speaker who has successfully worked with alternative educational models is Dr Mark Milliron, Chancellor of WGU, Texas. WGU is a non-profit, online, learning-centred university that offers affordable and accredited courses. Milliron explains that we are in a time of massive transition, with our education ecosystem comprising a swirl of generations learning and teaching together. In order to be effective, we must move beyond the discussion of whether using technology is a good idea or not: instead, we must focus on using all the tools we have at our disposal and blend our approach as required. Technology should be used to make the human moments precious.
Barber and Milliron were joined by award-winning director Michael Grigsby, who announced the launch of the Video EDUCA part of the programme and celebrated the power of video in education. According to Grigsby, technology is both liberating and constraining us. He explained that, through our increasing reliance on technology, we are increasingly seeking instant gratification, but students must be given space in which to reflect, feel and find their own voice.
Now in its 18th year, ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN has been taking place from 28th – 30th November 2012 and is accompanied by an exhibition area where 85 exhibitors from 25 countries presented their latest products and services. For more information, please visit www.elearning-africa.com.