Category: Innovation

How higher education is driving sustainable development

“None of the SDGs can be achieved in isolation: to truly deliver lasting change, collaboration between universities and partners around the world will be critical”

In an opening address to the Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers late last month, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta sounded a clarion call to government education ministers around the world.

They should, he said ‘be alarmed to note that, by 2050, Korea and Japan will be enrolling 80% or more of their high school graduates to higher education, while countries such as the Central African Republic and Niger will be struggling to reach 5%.’ This gap, he said, was a critical issue for the Commonwealth, whose 54 member states are home to one in three of the world’s young people.

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More women in tech? Get behind apprenticeships

“Worryingly, STEM – and particularly technology – continue to lag behind many industries when it comes to female representation”

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”  When Kamala Harris spoke these words as US vice-president elect, she continued a very welcome trend that has seen an explosion in phenomenal female role models in every walk of life, writes Katie Nykanen, chief technology officer at QA Limited.

Women like Kamala are breaking glass ceilings across industries and inspiring young girls to ignore the limitations that many of us above the age of 40 would have repeatedly had reinforced throughout our childhoods.

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The art of data science

“Digital experiences can now offer a level of personalisation that has not been possible before. That is what we need for our students exploring courses”

With the launch of IDP Live planned for the second half of 2021, IDP Chief Data Officer Stuart Nickols explains about how he and his team have used data science to build and improve the app for our students.

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Revolutionising employability with edtech in Africa

“Underemployed graduates can master more skills, update their knowledge and improve their chances of getting a better job”

By 2030, the number of young people in the African labour force will increase to 375 million. According to the International Monetary Fund, population growth on the continent means that by 2035, there will be more young Africans entering the workforce each year than in the rest of the world combined.

Yet the African Development Bank has observed that only 3 million of the 12 million graduates produced by African universities find employment each year.

In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, unemployment has increased to 33.3% in the 4th quarter 0f 2020. Despite producing huge number of graduates, African universities are churning out too many graduates who possess little or no mastery of skills necessary for today’s job market. Oladapo Soetan, founder of Ajuwaya Learn, explains how edtech could offer a solution.

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Creating sustainable humanitarian projects that last beyond graduation

“We want to help improve the dignity of the living conditions for refugees by supporting more programs”

Increasing numbers of young people at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands start to work on projects aiming to make the world a better place and deal with our scarce resources in a more sustainable way, says the institution’s Désirée van Gorp, professor of international business.

I work with at least 60 students every year who start their own projects, but unfortunately by the time their MBA or master’s is finished, these and many more projects often disappear left unfinished.

We started thinking about how we could create a community of students and alumni that would keep working on societal centric projects as a continuation of all the great work being done during our students’ degree programs. This is what we came up with.

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The campaign trying to make subtitles the default for kids’ TV

“If you suddenly found subtitles on your children’s Netflix account last year – that wasn’t a coincidence”

This story starts back in 2019, when Henry Warren had a conversation with Oli Barrett over coffee about a news article that Oli had read on how turning on subtitles on children’s TV content had a dramatic positive impact on their reading proficiency, writes Nina Hale from the Turn On The Subtitles campaign. 

Slightly sceptical but intrigued, the two sought out the academic who had conducted the study and took his research, along with a mountain of similar studies, to The National Literacy Trust to review.

Once validated, they set off on a quest to make sure this information reached every household with young children.

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Global partnerships: together we are an ocean

“Individual strengths joined together on a global level can, indeed, move mountains”

The esteemed Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa once wrote: “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

As human beings, we know that we are stronger when we work together rather than when we work in isolation, says Class2Class’ Suzanne Orzech. Akutagawa’s words seem to have come to life on a global scale as we look at the plethora of global educational partnerships that have emerged recently, thanks to human ingenuity and the desire to keep moving forward despite extreme global challenges.

Class2Class is excited to provide the technology solutions to many global pioneers who have come together to develop virtually collaborative courses, projects, and internships as an affordable and inclusive model for international education with other universities, NGOs and businesses around the world during a time of limited physical mobility. What is truly inspiring to see is the evolution of collective thought.

As different and varied as all of these partnerships are, they have the same goal in mind: advance international education and make it accessible to all, despite some extremely severe obstacles.

Resilient teaching in times of change

“Minimise the dependency on specific tools or activities so that if we lost those features, the classes would still work”

Resilience is the ability to spring back to your original shape, and that applies to teaching in a big way.

As highlighted in a recent Coursera white paper, resilient teaching is the ability to facilitate learning, designed to be adaptable, to fluctuating conditions and disruptions.

It is a teaching ability that can be seen as an outcome of a design approach that attends to the relationship between learning goals and activities and the environment in which they are situated.

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The importance of social engagement in the online class

“I can’t tell who is more frustrated, the teacher or the student”

How do you show friendliness in an online classroom? Now that we’re past the survival stage of virtual learning, we can think about what’s missing in how we teach and what we can do to achieve better quality communication.

I remember those moments, before the pandemic, when a student would walk into my classroom and I’d say, “hey, how’s it going today?” And that student could feel the impact of personal attention, that a teacher is actually “seeing” them. Those kinds of socially intuitive interactions are lost in the online teaching we are doing today.

What’s also missing are the little things that indicate friendliness, like someone getting closer to you when you’re saying something. In fact, students indicate that they miss the tactile aspects of face-to-face classes, like the feeling of having a physical classmate sitting close to them in class.

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Covid-19 is a chance to make education inclusive

Disabled students face significant disadvantage, but we can deliver learning that’s truly accessible

 

As universities adapt around Covid-19, Kellie Mote – accessibility specialist at the education and technology not-for-profit, Jisc – highlights the opportunity to deliver more inclusive experiences for all.

To say this is a busy and unsettled time for universities is an understatement. The pressures applied by Covid-19 continue to demand agility and vision from sector leaders, with institutions moving in and out of lockdown, and the move to online or hybrid teaching presenting multiple challenges – particularly when staff are unsure whose responsibility it is to test and update aspects of a large digital estate.

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