The Edtech Podcast monthly roundup: April 2020

Sophie Bailey returns with the low-down on what happened throughout April in the edtech world

Learning with purpose: the promise and limits of online learning? 


In episode 192, I speak to Dr Peter Shukie, academic group leader of creative and digital at University Centre Blackburn College, and 2019 National Winner of the Festival of Learning Social Impact award. Shukie riffs on the idea of community-driven online and open courses as an alternative to the venture capital-backed world of large-scale MOOCs. 


“The idea was that MOOCs could somehow overcome the paucity of educational opportunity in poorer areas, geographically, globally. The discourse that took place was powerful, full of jargon, filled with academics of a certain level, and so they became something that was not accessible, despite the brilliance of the model. Meaningful education has got to come from dialogue with people”  


This discussion was recorded before coronavirus was a thing, but Peter updates the interview with a voicemail recording musing on the implications of community needs colliding with digital. This is especially interesting given the huge shift to online activities in socialising, learning and working, jarring against reports in the UK that 2/3rds of school children are not engaging with or uploading set online learning activities. 


Following the same theme of communities and online, this episode also features a voicemail from John McNamara, senior inventor and IBM UK university programme leader at IBM Hursley, on how IBM and UCL are collaborating on identifying and relieving loneliness during social isolation. 


Catch up and listen in:

Data-heavy lifting in lockdown – an Asia case study

The importance of engaging learners and communities in conversation is also a theme in episode 191, where Dr Fridolin Ting, teaching fellow at Hong Kong Polytechnic University talks about the importance of a back channel to stimulate authentic conversations and learning (outside of the 200 person lecture theatre). 


This episode looks at some of the teaching and learning and educational technology projects across Asia, in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia and Japan. Dr Sumitra Nair, vice-president of talent development and digital entrepreneurship, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) talks about the importance of partnerships and technology which takes account of context, whilst Christopher Jeffery, dean of the British University Vietnam, talks about how an investment in online learning technology has paid off in the age of coronavirus. 


Finally, with the huge increase in online activities, this episode also looks at how to support university research departments as they shift to working remotely (where possible). With certain technologies originally developed to support space to Earth comms, how are these being adapted to support high-data intensity remote working and research across university and industry? Christian Jones, Z strategy and planning lead, and David Hollands, education strategy manager of Asia Pacific and Japan at HP, explain all. 

Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, stay safe and take one day at a time.

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