Until recently, our education system mostly stood apart from the business and technology worlds. Some of us may have gone to kindergarten, most of us went to school until at least year 10, and some then went on to tertiary study. We didn’t interact much with the business world while in the classroom. Those in their 40’s might have used a few computers at school, but they also may have learned to type on a typewriter.
Even now, the education model hasn’t changed much. There is still the ‘one to many’ approach, where teachers present a fixed curriculum at a fixed year level. Computers are being used in schools, but more to support the current structure than to change it. Businesses are also slowly being allowed in to collaborate in some areas and to help prepare students for the workforce, yet our education system is largely the same as it’s been for 100 or more years.
That’s all about to change!
The emerging edtech industry is bringing technology firmly into the education field, disrupting the processes, and creating exciting new business opportunities.
Riley Batchelor, CEO of EduGrowth and serial tech entrepreneur, recently spoke at a Florence Guild event as part of the speaker series narrative, ‘The Antidisciplinary Future’. The aim of the narrative is to explore how we can look outside established disciplines to create new pathways into the future.
Riley’s talk focused on the global developments in edtech that are already proving there are many new and effective ways to learn outside traditional models. Education consumers of all ages are demanding change and the edtech industry is rapidly responding in a variety of ways. For example:
- Baby Boomers currently have a skills shortage as the jobs they’ve been doing have slowly disappeared. They still want to work, but many need retraining in different fields. This can be done through short courses and online learning rather than returning to the classroom.
- Millennials are now stepping into jobs that involve multidisciplinary teams and collaborative planning, so schools are starting to use these approaches, too. In some cases, businesses are partnering with schools to create learning programs that blend into the world of work.
- Shared data platforms are emerging in other industries (such as My Health Record, in the Australian health system) but, currently, our accreditation records are owned by individual education institutions. There is a strong need for all such records to be stored securely in a common platform and edtech companies are looking for ways to make this happen.
In Australia, education is already our largest service export and Riley believes we have the foundations here already to make Australia one of the top 3 edtech hubs in the world. That means that there are opportunities aplenty for those with an education or technology background or budding entrepreneurs to become part of this dynamic new industry.
To hear Riley discuss what’s happening in this field right now and hear his vision of what education will look like in 2025, tune in to his podcast talk ‘The Future of Education: Disrupting the 3 R’s’ in episode 6 of our ‘antidisciplinary’ podcast series. You can also keep up to date with conversations with other thought leaders by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.