At the beginning of April 2015, a gathering of investors and entrepreneurs will explore technology’s impact on education, and identify the emerging players in education at the Global Technology Symposium (GTS), in Silicon Valley, California. Based on the theme ‘Learn, Start, Lead’, the 12th annual symposium will discuss key trends and new growth opportunities in emerging markets, question the traditional framework of education and look at how innovation can impact this sector.
Key speakers include Guy Kawasaki, author, executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and chief evangelist of Canva; Tim Draper, founder of Draper University and founding partner of DFJ and Draper Associates; and Dave McClure, founding partner of 500 Startups.
“Educational technologies are changing the world by opening up the way we learn and the way we start ventures. It’s critical to stay on top of recent developments,” Guy Kawasaki said. “There is a new face of education giving creators the tools to bring their ideas to life and go beyond what they thought possible. Advanced technologies and innovative teaching methods are making the impossible possible,” adds Tim Draper.
Technology is certainly transforming education, with iPads replacing books in the classroom, interactive games becoming education tools, universities embracing online learning, and lifelong learning becoming more integrated in business.
But according to the World Economic Forum, the full potential of education technology to have an impact on student learning in primary and secondary education has yet to be realized. Education technology can yield the best results if it is tailored to a country’s unique educational challenges, such as those related to inadequately trained teachers or insufficient financial resources.
“Technology is a positive disruptive force for improving the efficiency and quality of education. However, for technology to reach its greatest potential in teaching and learning, it needs to be better integrated throughout the instruction process and focus on problems unique to a country’s educational context,” said Mengyu Annie Luo, head of media, entertainment and information industries at the World Economic Forum.
In its New Vision for Education, a study of nearly 100 countries, it has revealed large gaps in students’ skills around the world. It says too many students are not getting the education they need to prosper in the 21st century, and countries are not finding adequate numbers of the skilled workers they need to be globally competitive.
The report also highlights the skills gap not just being a developing-world issue: it found wide variations in performance among high-income countries too – for example, the US has gaps in numeracy and literacy when compared with high-performing peers such as Japan, Finland or South Korea. That means all countries need to improve their educational systems to grow and compete.
The World Economic Forum report acknowledges that numerous innovations in the education technology space are beginning to show potential in helping address skills gaps. These technologies can lower the cost and improve the quality of education. In particular, it found that education technology can complement existing and emerging pedagogical approaches such as project-based, experiential, inquiry-based and adaptive learning methods. In addition, education technology can be uniquely deployed to facilitate the teaching of 21st-century skills such as communication, creativity, persistence and collaboration.
At the Global Technology Symposium (GTS2015), chief executives from RVC (Russia), Silicon Valley Bank, IBM Venture Group, Almaz Capital, Google Ventures, Mayfield Fund, US Venture Partners and Wavemaker Partners will discuss navigating the global technology landscape. Leaders from universities, associations and institutes including the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, RUSSOFT Association, Kyoto University, Silicon Valley Education Foundation and UCLA will take a look at the next level of innovation. And emerging players Galxyz, PediaConnect and Two Bit Circus will showcase their advancements while companies AltSchool, Catamount, EdSurge, GSV Asset Management, LinguaLeo, Piazza and Udemy will explore what education technology means for the world.
The Next Silicon Valley is the media partner with GTS 2015.