Assembled Education at General Assembly
Pearson’s Future Technologies team sponsored General Assembly’s Assembled Education event - a full day of talks, panels, and networking dedicated to discussing the promotion and advancement of education. The event featured innovative thinkers in the education space, ranging from entrepreneurs and non-profits to corporations - all of whom are collaborating to find new ways to help students learn.
Up first was Pearson’s own Dan Ginsberg, SVP Product Management in K12 Technology. “We need to prepare children for jobs that don’t exist; using technology that hasn’t been created; to solve problems we don’t know about,” he said. He then went on to speak about transformative trends in K-12, including blended instruction and the growth of cloud and open. His top tips for edtech businesses? Be lean, listen to your customers, build products that solve real education problems and efficacy.
Dan wrapped up his presentation by saying that every child should learn how to code - a message that Ashley Gavin, curriculum director for Hopscotch and Girls Who Code, echoed later in the day with her presentation: “Why are we so bad at teaching computer science?”
Jeremy Johnson, co-founder of 2U, also had some recommendations for anyone in the online education business: he suggested using data to let professors know more before they get to class - such as which students are struggling the most and on what. He also recommended building an LMS that has a social experience at the core, just like the campus environment. And while he wholeheartedly believes in the future of online learning, he reminded everyone that not everything can be done online, which is why it’s so important to provide dedicated commitment to the facets that should be done digitally.
Another entrepreneur who is looking to shake up the education industry is Kane Sarhan, who founded Enstitute, a non-profit which enables people to learn by doing. Enstitute offers “apprenticeship in careers”, specifically in high growth sectors - tech, business, design, entrepreneurship. They don’t expect to replace college; instead their goal is to create a viable alternative.
A line-up of top speakers
Other speakers who shared their thoughts on education throughout the day included:
- Jeff Herbst, Chief Marketing Officer from Noodle, spoke next about Education Discovery Tools (aka Search) - and the need to make it more personalised, guided, curated, accurate and transparent, organised and social.
- Kanya Balakrishna spoke about The Future Project and igniting entrepreneurship in schools through ‘Dream Directors’ who are assigned to high schools to help students find their passion and reach their potential.
- Aidan Feldman from GitHub’s developer relations team spoke about their open source ethos to education.
- Dr. Bradley McIiquham from Knewton emphasised the positive impact of big data in learning environments - stating that a personalised and adaptive experience is more relevant and valuable to students and teachers.
- The final speaker of the day was Darrell Silver of the career training company Thinkful, which offers mentorship to students. And wrapping up the day, Diana Stepner, Pearson’s Head of Future Technologies, summarised the themes repeated throughout the event.