From the Simply Do Ideas Blog

March Guest Blog: A round up of EEUK and Simply Do's first webinar

By John Barker on March 22nd, 2018

Education Technology and its influence on learning - during the webinar, participants heard from enterprise educators who have embraced the use of technology in their work, from using tech to support start-ups to embed it into their curriculum. Our guest blogger, John Barker, adds his thoughts following the webinar...

EdTech, and its influence on learning, is at the forefront of organisations like JISC and the Office for Students thinking, when it comes to streamlining curricula (and therefore cost) and ensuring quality across e-learning provision. On the pedagogic side of this equation, enterprise education inhabits a shifting existence between curricular and extra-curricula activity depending on institutional bias, so it was refreshing to see a combination of the organisational and technological thinking around enterprise come together for the lunchtime Technology for Busy Enterprise Educators webinar hosted by Enterprise Educators UK.

This variable feast of thinking was kickstarted by the shared love for the Simply Do Ideas platform which is used by Further Education providers, represented here by Christine Bissex, (Head of Enterprise, Merthyr Tydfil College) and Higher Education providers, characterised here by Dewi Gray (Business Start-Up Manager, Cardiff Metropolitan University). The user perspective was brought forward by Jay Symonds, Graduate Entrepreneur, also from Cardiff Met, who made interesting contributions about his own personal journey.

Insights into the institutional perspectives on tech uptake for students were refreshing as the countercultural nature of digital natives means that the learners are rejecting uni-flavoured platforms in favour of third party apps. This generational difference was also captured in Dewi’s remarks about the on-demand nature of access to information and the seeming disposable nature of the IT solutions that HE spends big on to keep on trend. The Merthyr representative also echoed this by saying that the college has designed its own bespoke app to encourage learner engagement and to ensure that messaging is heard amongst the white noise of student comms.

The Simply Do Ideas platform goes someway to offering a solution to these problems as it is more intuitive than most applications, and for this reason rises above the noise of both standard e-learning packages and VLE to create something altogether more interesting. But if enterprise educators really want to capture the imagination and drive towards the technological future… they will find answers in the combined impact that the internet of things (IoT), AR/VR and 5G can deliver to support simulated and real-life entrepreneurial and business challenge activity.

Allow me to take a Spielbergian side-step into the future (and I take the point that my own brand of futurism is predicated on the uptake of these technologies) and introduce you to a real-word business and manufacturing environment powered by the huge mobile bandwidth of 5G, and connected by embedded control and communication systems of IoT. In this future, education providers will run simulated challenges using real data and situations in VR constructed environments that almost become an alternative reality for the companies sponsoring or setting the challenges. Imagine the potential of software or aerospace engineering students designing the latest systems and hardware using real world data in hyper-real environments, creating their own innovation reality for the industrial partners to feed off, buy into, and potentially spin-out from. Enterprise 2.0, maybe?

The Quality Assurance Agency better think about updating those Enterprise Education guidelines!

Bio: John’s expertise in business support and research development has seen him take on a variety of roles in Higher Education culminating in managing research and knowledge exchange in the University Enterprise Zone at UWE, Bristol. He is an active researcher with recent publication and dissemination in the Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning and is undertaking a PhD in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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