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What will we learn from AI educating us?

A new year and a new decade always presents the opportunity to look at things through a different lens and rethink our future. Here at EdTechNZ, we think now is that time for us.

As part of this, it’s timely to remind our members that you will get out of your membership, what you put in. Graeme Muller, The CEO of NZTech said it well in his Feb 10 Newsletter. I’m always keen to hear from and meet-up with our members, hear what you have to say, learn from you and collaborate, so please reach out to me if you think that’s of value.

Things front of mind for me this year are the impact (good or bad) of AI within the broader education and learning sector, as well as the future of work and NZ Inc. lifting it’s game in terms of productivity.

In terms of AI, the AI Forum and EdTechNZ are working on a couple of events focused on AI’s role in the area of personalised learning. These events are currently planned for May 2020 in Auckland and Wellington. AI can be a little divisive, is it a good thing or bad, what is the role of the human vs. the AI (it’s unlikely to be one or the other), will it improve educational outcomes and what is the risk of certain people or demographics being left behind?

There seems to be a lot of press at the moment out of China with their huge investment in this space, for example the Shanghai based Squirrel platform and China’s huge investment in this domain. There is also (of course) a lot of interest out of Silicon valley (something like 35% of the global spend on K12 is in the USA) with the likes of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative. Some of the press is positive, some seems to hold concerns for challenges such a possible moves back to old school entrenched views on standardised learning and testing.

Personally I think that this is an exciting opportunity, so then the question for all of us is, what can we do to accelerate this while at the same time make sure that we get the best possible outcomes that also provide social equity?

The New Zealand Productivity Commission said in a January blog that “we aren’t adopting new technologies fast enough – to raise productivity and living standards, and to address the social, environmental and economic challenges we face”. In some ways, as disappointing as that is, it’s also not surprising that New Zealand has lagged behind other OED countries in terms of productivity for longer than I can remember. There is a huge opportunity right now for NZ Inc. to start to address this and stand out on the global stage and we all have a responsibility to make sure this happens.

Te Reo is something that I’ve personally become interested in and it’s great to see the groundswell continuing to gain momentum. EP (Education Perfect) reports that last year some 3,000+ teachers and 25,000 students, completed EP’s Te Reo Māori course with aspirations to grow that 10 fold in 2020!

Let’s make 2020 a great year for EdTechNZ and the foundation of a great decade!

Shane Kerr

Events and News

Double or nothing, it’s all a game. New Zealand’s gaming industry earnt $203.4 million during the 2019 financial year, double what it made in 2017, according to the latest NZ Game Developers Industry Survey.

new programme addresses skills shortage as tech shakes up primary industries. Microsoft, Massey University and not for profit The Collaborative Studio have announced the creation of an Industry 4.0 Leadership and Skills Development programme designed to connect Massey University students with innovative businesses to equip them with up-to-date and relevant digital skills for their 4th Industrial Age careers. 

How can we prepare students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The World Economic Forum provides five lessons from innovative schools around the world.

Read Forbes prediction for The Top 5 Tech Trends That Will Disrupt Education In 2020 including AI among other trends. 

“Technology is taking over education in universities, real-world technical training and schools. What roles do augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) play in edtech?” see The Future Of EdTech And Learning In India From An AR/VR Lens.

There are opportunities for women in the tech industry like no other, an interview with Theresa Corballis, Regional Ambassador of Technovation New Zealand

The ‘Drawing the Future’ report was launched at Parliament last week and it shows gaps in children’s career aspirations. ‘We need to engage children in a wider range of occupations – for example those related to science and technology – if New Zealand is to thrive, and future generations are to enjoy satisfying, lifelong careers.’

Attend Employer Info Event – Tech Internships and Programmes, 16 March Christchurch this event is for ALL employers to gain or improve awareness of the opportunities to engage with local education providers and take on students for industry internships and project placements. 

Get your tickets for the NZ HI-Tech Awards, 22 May, Auckland. Join us for the announcement of this year’s winners at the 2020 Hi-Tech Awards Gala Dinner, and be a part of celebrating the tech industry in New Zealand.

Register for Festival for the Future, 24-26 June, Wellington and join over 1,200 attendees from New Zealand, and increasingly Asia–Pacific. The action-packed weekend features a diverse range of inspiring speakers, future-focused panels, hands-on workshops and a marketplace for great ideas. 

Auckland University students can attend the upcoming 2020 CDES STEM Career Expo, 29-30 April, Auckland.

EdTechNZ EdTechNZ is the voice of EdTech in New Zealand, supporting the growth of the sector. Our purpose is to drive the creative use of technology, inside and outside the classroom, for better student outcomes. We aim to facilitate a world class education system for all New Zealanders and showcase local EdTech to the world.