21st Feb, 2018 - Katy Fryatt
And it’s going to make learning more accessible and relevant for everyone
From financial services to travel and from retail to music, almost every segment of the global economy has undergone a fundamental transformation over the past 5-7 years as the world continues to settle into the new normal of a digital age. But education has remained largely unchanged for decades, and is now disconnecting from the real world in increasingly material ways. Children of every age go to school, are taught a government-prescribed curriculum, are tested and retested and then enter The Real World. And while The Real World has changed, and continues to change exponentially, education hasn’t.
That’s why we created Learnit, the world’s event for innovation in education. The mission of Learnit is to drive a new conversation that helps reshape education and enables today’s students to capitalise on the world’s exponential opportunities. Learnit accomplishes that by creating an inclusive, modern community spanning the entire education ecosystem from government and educators to tech, investors, media and startups from across the world. It’s more than just EdTech, it’s Education.
Millennials: The Cereal Killers
I’m a millennial. Thanks to the ever brilliant Spice Girls, I – like my millennial peers – learned to ‘tell you what I want, what I really, really want’. As millennials, we want everything immediately. We want great customer service. We want to order it on our our phone, pay with our thumb and have it delivered in an hour. We support those who challenge the status quo and offer new and better ways of buying things, eating things, learning things and doing things.
As a generation, we have been held accountable for the demise of department stores, golf, hotels, soap and – yes – cereal. We’re also the most important consumer group driving the growth of billion-dollar companies like Uber, AirBnB, Pinterest and Spotify. We’ve disrupted every industry we’ve interacted with to date.
Generation Alpha: The Children of Millennials
The oldest millennials today are 37. We’re starting to procreate and our children are forming ‘Generation Alpha’. This generation, born from 2010 to 2025, will be the first to grow up with tech seamlessly integrated into their lives. My eldest daughter (Evelyn, aged 2.5 going on 25) talks to Amazon’s Alexa as if she’s the fifth member of our family. She knows how to take a selfie and how to FaceTime her grandparents. This may say more about my parenting choices than it does about her technophilia, but you get the point: the days of tech being a ‘thing’ are over. Tech is a normal part of our kids’ lives, much like sandwiches, shoes or sunshine. The implications of this are profound. They are also the first generation to enter a world of work unlike any other we have seen to date, where 80% of the jobs that will exist in 2025, don’t exist today. That’s just seven years from now.
The world is changing exponentially for our kids, yet the classrooms we are sending them into, haven’t. At Learnit, we believe that harnessing advances in our learning systems and practices as well as organisations and institutions will bring rapid improvements in how everyone is educated, including outside of traditional education.
Education’s Tipping Point is Coming
‘More profound than electricity or fire’, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are driving dynamic changes in education. In December 2017, robot teachers in China outperformed humans for the first time. Peter Diamindis of Singularity University predicts that everyone on the planet will have internet access by 2025. That’s 8 billion connected people with the ability to access and share information and skills in real time, regardless of socioeconomic status, or where they are in the world.
A New Community For Education Innovators
Learnit will bring together luminaries, visionaries and revolutionaries from across the globe to share and experience innovation in education. Learnit will feature 150+ speakers, 1,000+ attendees and will take place in Westminster, London on 24-25 January 2019. I hope to see many of you there to celebrate and share in the future of education.