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Digital student experience: Educators and Industry in lockstep

Digital student experience: Educators and Industry in lockstep
Industry players like Cisco have a huge vested interest in education, and together with government and schools, need to jointly define the future of education. So how can we help to educate our educators?
Digital student experience: Educators and Industry in lockstep READ FULL ARTICLE

Digital student experience: Educators and Industry in lockstep

Ruma Balasubramanian @RumaBala
Cisco Systems
Vice President, APJ Enterprise Business & Digital Transformation

September 21, 2017
  • Press Release

  • 4660

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  • People and Culture, Digitization, Public Sector, Collaboration, Security

Digital student experience: Educators and Industry in lockstep

As parents, we all want to see our children engaged and enjoy learning. With the latest digital technology, we have the opportunity to get students excited about improving their skills and exploring the world. Digital capabilities enable students to enjoy a personalized learning experience and keep students and educators safe and secure online.

I recently joined Channel News Asia’s Foresight program in a facilitated conversation about trends in education, student experiences and teacher responsibilities. The topic of this panel discussion was particularly exciting: how Educating Our Educators enables students to prepare for and succeed in a world of constant change and disruption.

Digital disruption is happening everywhere. What we know from our research is that 1 in 2 companies at the top of their industry believe that their industry is being disrupted NOW. Disruption demands different skills in the marketplace and because of that, we have to change the way we educate our educators. It is critical that educators continue to learn throughout their lifetime in the profession of teaching – but they shouldn’t do so in a vacuum. And it is not necessarily about sending our educators back to school.

Industry players like Cisco have a huge vested interest in education, and together with government and educational institutions, need to jointly define the future of education. So how can the technology industry in particular help to educate our educators?

We can help define the digital experience for students, which should be at the heart of teaching. The tech industry can help teachers understand the digital student experience and participate in it. For example here in Singapore, the NIE, which is a leading research institution focused on educating teachers, has helped their students take control of their own learning. Using collaborative technology, they can team up with peers, professors and industry experts anytime, anywhere from any device. Because they are so familiar with the technology from daily use, NIE students become next generation of teachers and adopt the technology in their own schools and classrooms so that they can develop the next generation of learners.

And students are looking for the tools to enable self-directed and self-motivated learning. While some students may not know exactly what they want to learn, most students we encounter know how they want to learn. This is key to keeping students engaged and excited about the ‘what’. Curtin University empowers learning anytime and anywhere by providing secure interactive learning spaces that can expand and grow with collaborative technologies and peer-to-peer learning. They have redefined the digital learning experience and transformed the university into a 24x7 global learning institution that delivers both in-classroom and virtual education at their campuses in Perth and across Asia.

Second, we have a deep commitment to teaching students next generation technical skills like cybersecurity and IoT, which they can immediately put into practice in the workforce. For the past 20 years, through our Networking Academy, we’ve educated nearly 8 million students across 170 countries. NetAcad is the largest longest running education program sponsored by any technology company. Together with local partners such as polytechnics in Singapore, we deliver a technology curriculum along with lab kits for hands-on skill building through blended learning techniques. We also match students with future employers like Cisco partners, who are looking to hire qualified students. We remain committed to teaching digital skills to 2 million students worldwide each year.

Third, we want students to acquire both hard skills like math, science and programming, as well as soft skills like problem solving, teamwork, and innovation, since the industry needs both types of skills in the digital era. Cisco is always on the lookout for new talent with “disruptive” skills like the ability to sense changes and see around corners, knowing how to use technology like AI and analytics to solve business problems and the ability to execute quickly.

And finally - often overlooked by many – the threat of cyberattacks on our educators and students. Each day, we detect 20 billion cyberattacks globally; that’s three times as many searches as Google performs in a single day. Hackers find K-12 schools to be “soft” targets because cybersecurity is an afterthought when IT systems are built in schools. In the US alone, we expect the number of cyberattacks in K-12 schools to double in the next year. And those are just the reported incidents!

It’s not surprising that many educators are shunning technology because they want to protect their students from these vicious and often undetected cybercrimes. However, we need to give our students the benefit of digital technology. To do this, security needs to be embedded throughout the whole learning environment. We can’t and shouldn’t rely on educators for cybersecurity – it’s up to the technology industry to provide teachers, students and parents with peace of mind.

It’s an exciting time to be an educator. There are so many opportunities for teachers to build their skills and the tech industry is right there with you – keeping your students safe in a digital world, helping you deliver your curriculum in new and interesting ways and building the best blended learning solutions to keep your students engaged to capture the digital opportunities ahead.


Foresight ‘Educating the Educators’ will air on Channel News Asia on 27 September 2017 at 8pm SGT.

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