Claire Field on what’s next in Ed Tech


It was EdTech week in Melbourne last week and I was pleased to attend the EduGrowth Summit which kicked things off

There were a number of thought-provoking discussions in the sessions I was able to attend, including Pascale Quester providing more details on the reform path she is pursuing at Swinburne University. The changes are driven around a desire to “put learners at the centre” in specific and meaningful ways. They also involve Swinburne academics focussing more on coaching rather than lecturing, and the integration of Swinburne’s VET division into the university – rather than reporting through its own deputy vice chancellor.

Other interesting points included:

* universities and TAFE Institutes using virtual reality for off-shore student support and delivery

* the Victorian government working with a number of education institutions to develop short on-line courses, which staff in the government’s overseas posts are now promoting to overseas government agencies and to off-shore businesses

* a representative from the University of Melbourne suggesting full degrees may not be the future for all students, particularly at postgraduate level

* Deakin University’s Global Studio working with academics to redesign courses to meet the needs of different learners and employers, including in offshore markets

Kate Pounder (Tech Council of Australia) and Patrick Kidd (Digital Skills Organisation) had everyone paying attention when they discussed the extent of our digital skills shortage and the upskilling and reskilling opportunities employers and individuals need the tertiary education sector to deliver on.

The Summit highlighted many of the strategic issues in and around the Australian EdTech sector, as well as how increasing numbers of tertiary education providers are using technology across their organisations.

What was missing was the policy discussion which is occurring in Europe – where governments are looking to work with the EdTech sector not to impose regulation and policy prescription on providers, but instead to work collaboratively on issues such as data privacy, quality of learning, etc.

David Linke, EduGrowth’s Executive Director, is right to call for an Australian EdTech Innovation Fund (Europe is investing €10 bn in a technology fund).  What is also needed is for Australian policy makers to engage with the EdTech sector, in the same way their European counterparts are.

 Claire shares her reflections on the 2023 EdTechXEurope conference and what Australia can learn from it, in the latest episode of the What now? What next? Podcast