Listening to Puttnam

Lord David Puttnam and some OEC finalists © P.A.U. Education

Hanoch Piven, Lord David Puttnam and Olivier Verhaeghe, CEO of Talkso, one of the OEC finalists.
© P.A.U. Education

I had the chance to spend some time last week with Lord David Puttnam, chair of our Open Education Challenge jury. Lord Puttnam is one of the most fascinating people you could ever hope to meet. He spent thirty years producing some of the best films of our lives, and then abruptly reinvented himself as an education expert. As education itself is also in a phase of reinvention, it is worth listening to him.

In a recent interview,  he stressed the fact that “we’re watching a massively disruptive evolution that’s impacting every sphere of education, possibly for the first time in 100 years”. He also worries “that many of these recent and valuable developments in technology will be held back by a natural, and in some cases understandable, educational conservatism”. Conservatism is the exact opposite of Lord Puttnam’s core values. His remarks, suggestions and comments made to each of the OEC finalists demonstrated that entrepreneurship is ageless, and relies first and foremost on passion, vision and common sense. Just like education…

Listening to Lord Puttnam and the other OEC jury members is like imagining education entrepreneurship as a film with an international cast from India to the UK, from Finland to Greece. OEC education entrepreneurs Iván, Benoit, Tomás, Aurelio, Isobel, Simon, Theofanis, Panagiotis, Olivier, Mathieu, Michael, Gregory. Subramanian, Kuljit, Milosz, Adam, Danai, Theodosis, Anastasios… all belong to an international casting.

Each of them is part of a global story that starts with our desire to learn differently, to solve challenges, to be motivated and rewarded for what we learn. Lifelong learning opportunities are growing and can be easily delivered online to improve skills and bridge the employability gap. Learning analytics will improve both the students and teachers experience, and help it evolve towards greater cooperative work. The film that is shot in front of us takes place in real life with new creative tools and apps that enable us to learn anywhere, at anytime.

The OEC winners chosen by our jury can be found hereLearning 2.0 is a technology platform for synchronised learning in schools and universities… Domoscio has created a learning assessment tool to support memorisation and adaptive learning. Klap uses Artificial Intelligence to analyse real-time learning data from multiple educational sources. GroupMooc is a MOOC aggregator and mobile learning management system that creates new solutions for corporate training. LearnWorlds enables trainers and educators to create their own online courses under their own brand, and sell them to users directly through a customised platform.  Talkso is a language learning exchange platform dedicated to schools. Think with Things is an app for educators and parents that turns real world objects into a digital learning experience. Cubes Coding has created a low cost tangible interface (physical cubes) to enable very young children to learn coding and how to program robots. Funbrush are designing small interactive devices and innovative learning experiences for everyday objects, starting with toothbrush.

There are many more entrepreneurs equally passionate about education, starting with the nine other finalists. I will tell their stories in my next post.

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