This week on the 8th and 9th May Google will be hosting Education on Air, a free interactive on-line conference. The conference is aimed at educators worldwide and includes keynotes and panels covering topics from the skills of the future to creating innovation and the role of technology, hearing from global experts and change makers in the field.
Due to location, travel and time restraints, conferences like this can often be inaccessible, making this free on-line conference very appealing. So I have registered and will be attending with a cup of tea in the comfort of my living room next week, and am looking forward to seeing how interactive it will be.
This conference got me thinking about the progress that is being made in the extension of quality education and best practice around the world using technology and open access, and what this could mean for entrepreneurial activity within education. Our recent free on-line course, The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen, finished its 4 week run last weekend. We were very lucky to have engaged a diverse global audience for this course and it really has been great reading over the final comments; which ranged from participants telling us that they had a bit more confidence and belief in their ideas now and felt able to voice them, to that they had their final idea and were ready to make it happen and change the world! Entrepreneurial activity is a key driver in economic growth and it can also raise aspirations and build employability skills. If enterprising education can be reached by, and create impact for, a global audience, educators and students alike, regardless of geography, age and socio-economic background, could we see a shift in the way education is delivered and could this shift create change for the countries and communities that need it most?
This is not to say that one size fits all and that all we need is one global course; context and culture have a huge role to play in the approach to, and delivery of, teaching and learning. Though, if access to the information and resources is provided and we can all attend the same conferences, hearing from experts and policy makers in the field, we can work with our peers and global network to make sense of the information, form our own opinions, and apply to our own context. Switching on our computers could potentially open the door to enterprise and innovation and opportunities to build the future we want, whoever we are.
There still remain barriers to on-line education and interaction. A crucial barrier being that the reliance on the internet excludes the poorest in the most remote areas. We have some ideas about tackling this but if you have any suggestions please share in the comments.
Entrepreneurial development officer.