Great Fridays were invited to join speakers from all over the world to participate in Adobe’s Education Summit in Istanbul. The audience were generally higher education, professors and administrators and we were asked to talk about the education industry from the point of view of creative services, the skills required in user experience design and to share our view on the industry.
Recently we’ve been working with Pearson on new educational tools and in this presentation we shared some insights into that work and its impact on teaching children through to high school.
Rob Noble, Founder opened the presentation, describing who we are and how we work showing some detail about our approach of Listen, Create, Design as well as describing our client engagement process and the long-term relationships we pride ourselves on building and maintaining.
Guy Jenkins, Director of Product Strategy gave a glimpse of the educational landscape and some insights into the factors, which are developing across both the educational and digital landscapes which are creating an environment for innovation.
Education in a Digital World/
Over the past decade or so industries have evolved to embrace the interactive space but at very different speeds. This rate of adoption can be largely attributed to economics.
Two of the very early adopters were retail who recognised that shopping in store was being challenged by the opportunities presented in the digital world and the online advertising industry who realised the online traffic being generated had real commercial value. Fast-forward and the likes of amazon dominate in online retail (they’ve diversified effectively too) and google in advertising.
The music and film industry has perhaps changed the most dramatically, traditional business models are being challenged and new products and services from the likes of Netflix, LoveFilm and iTunes are changing the dynamic of this industry sector.
As we know the Education industry is Huge!
- Education is a 7 Trillion-Dollar industry worldwide
- 570 x the size of the online Advertising market
- 7 x the global mobile industry
Education has been somewhat of a sleeping giant to date in the digital space but is now waking up to the opportunities of new technology. However, being latecomers to the party is no bad thing as the technology and knowledge is available to bring new ways of teaching to the classroom on a mass-market scale. There are a few reasons for this;
1. Generations. The teaching graduates of today were bought up with technology, the Internet and a fresh view on how to educate, sometimes, in a less structured manner. This new generation are importantly the new blood entering other industries such as design and development too. The combination of their enthusiasm, innovation and creativity is producing the right environment for educational teaching methods and content creators to embrace change and produce magic.
- 93% of Teachers believe online tools improve performance
- 95% of Teachers believe online tools engage students
2. Infrastructure and cost. The Internet is so widely affordable and available around the world that delivering resources at low costs is now a reality. Whether that is through mobile data in Africa and India making devices like the Vodafone Web box viable or low end, cost effective tablets in schools in the developed world like the $35 dollar tablet by DataWind. The tipping point is on the horizon.
3. Business. Big business has been playing in the field of education for some time, all knowing that it will explode one day and waiting in the aisles to act when the right situation occurs. Apple’s partnership with content creators such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill has been a significant step forward in the US. The likes of Skype recently launching their Skype in the Classroom initiative has always been an obvious addition to make to their services, however now the time is right. Pearson in particular has been leading the way in commercialising its content digitally and currently is reaching as many as 9 million students in the US with digital content. More than 3x that of its nearest competitor, Cengage Learning.
4. The Smart People. Smart people such as Sir Ken Robinson and Crispen Wilson have been debating the extreme edges of how we educate our children in school and have been challenging the sometimes, unnatural conveyor belt of learning and creativity, or lack of. The platform for them to debate has grown in recent years with the ability to podcast on line and target their audience as well as meet and greet with governments and industry to support them.
5. Disengaged kids in classrooms. Children today are bombarded with fast paced and targeted content. They have grown up with this level of interaction and can deal with the pace really well; education needs to embrace this way of working where appropriate.
6. Data. A Personalised education for all is now becoming a very real possibility. With the ability to identify and capture data from every aspect of the classroom it is possible for a teacher to refine the learning experience for those that need it, on the fly. We are moving from a one class for all to a personalised teacher for each student. Businesses like Knewton have been digging deep into how to make the data created by students using their courses gain an even more refined and personalised experience each time they logon.
7. OER (Open Educational Resources). Finally, something remarkable is happening out there which is making a massive difference to the landscape of education today and it is in some ways the glue, which we believe will stick all these other trends together. Open source educational resources are booming. Since 2007 when OER commons was established the likes of philanthropic ventures such as Bill and Malinda Gates’ mixing with grass routes activities shows the potential for change is extraordinary. The Big History Project, Khan Academy, The Teaching Channel and Games such as Re-Mission by Hope-Lab.
Each of these different factors are at varying levels of maturity and the balance between them is nearing a perfect equilibrium. The market is dictating the demand, the cost of the service has fallen to affordable levels, public opinion is moving towards acceptance of technology in improving education, innovation in content is driving the availability of it and both teachers and students are ready for the changes.
We are experiencing a fertile environment for some extraordinary service and product design to blossom.