It’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t turned out the least bit like most of us thought it would. I recently looked back over my 2020 plans/goals that I sketched on January 1st and literally none of them has come to fruition! However, entirely new and awesome opportunities have presented themselves personally and professionally. I wake up each day in gratitude for a multitude of things, especially the decision to build a remote company focused on digital education!
Oppida wishes to give a huge shout out to the educators and learners navigating the difficulties of the current circumstances. We send our love to all those affected by illness and isolation and we know it’s been a difficult situation for everyone. Here are the top 3 silver linings for education that I am hoping will come through though from the global crisis of Covid-19.
- We drop the “digital”
Just as leading marketers (thanks, Mark Ritson) have been saying for years, “it’s not digital marketing, it’s just marketing in a digital world,” so I believe—as educators—we also need to drop the ‘digital’. I say this as a brand whose tag line includes the word digital… but I believe this is where we need to head.
“It’s not about doing ‘digital education’, it’s about educating effectively in a digital world.”
(Adapted from M.Ritson)
I hope that in a few years Oppida will simply be a renowned “education agency” as everyone will have worked out that education without the use of digital tools will just not fly anymore. Designers of great education everywhere will start with the core question: “What will be the best way to teach this outcome while delivering the desired student experience?”
- We REALLY expose systematic flaws in higher education
I was asked a few weeks ago by a friend who works with education tech startups and the university sector why organisations—and the departments within them—don’t collaborate more. She wondered why every university was panicking to “go online” with very similar programs and why they couldn’t “buy from one another.” The answer to this reflects just one example of embedded systematic flaws inside university institutions. Faculties are often working in silos and have such rigid, slow course development practices that it’s impossible to think about collaboration. They are also in fierce competition with one another and they have lost the ability to craft a unique value proposition for students. What I would love to see is a deep reflection taken on “the way things have always been done” and some brave leaders to step forward and actually make the changes needed to stay relevant in the current world.
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- We all develop our digital literacy and critical thinking skills
The Foundations for Young Australians (FYA) have been saying it for years: digital literacy and critical thinking are the top 2 in-demand skills of today (and the future). It’s safe to say, that by default, everyone’s digital skills have improved since the start of the lockdowns (it would be hard to find anyone who doesn’t know what Zoom is now!). However, my hope is that our critical thinking skills get just as much refinement. During the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, this means stopping and questioning;
- the veracity and validity of the information we receive about the virus
- the incentives and motivations of news sources
- the assumptions and objectives of government responses around the world
- the impacts of a global vaccine
- our own way of life and what is really important
- how things have “always been done” and asking if there is another way
And the list goes on….
My hope is that we all use this time to get a little wiser about ourselves and the society we live in. Then, we can emerge as more intelligent, grounded, and happier human beings. May future conversations be marked with more talk about positive life changes instead of gossip about the neighbours!
Foundation for Young Australians (FYA). (2020). THE NEW BASICS: Big data reveals the skills young people need for the New Work Order. AlphaBeta. Retrieved from https://www.fya.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/The-New-Basics_Update_Web.pdf
Mark Ritson: it’s time to drop digital marketing. Hall & Partners. (2020). Retrieved 3 May 2020, from https://www.hallandpartners.com/drop-the-d-word-mark-ritson.