Tuesday was a particularly eventful day for Dream Learners. The Founders Factory EdTech Forum was an impactful coming together of the great and the good in the world of EdTech. Everyone from teachers, government officials, educational publishers, scientists and app developers convened to share a day full of lively debate and meaningful dialogue.
The uniting factor, no matter what the nuanced debate, was that education has seen little profound change or critical progression since the 19th century! Our world is rapidly changing - educators (and parents) need to be ready, willing and able to equip the next generation.
Ralph Rivera (Director, Future Media BBC) admitted “Education (remains) the most information-intensive industry with the least effective technology application.” Our journey to meet kids needs is both a long and arduous one. We still have so far to go in order to successfully “inspire, engage and empower the people formally known as students!”
Meeting the CEOs of some of the worlds largest EdTech companies was inspiring and reminded us how impactful our work at Dream Learners is and what an awesome responsibility we have to this - and future - generations of learners.
Early in the day Professor Robert Winston took to the stage. He spoke about his involvement with Dream Learners and how, using best-practice science and psychology, we have the potential to change learning outcomes for children on a global scale. He outlined how, by connecting parents and children in the ninety minutes before sleep, we are able to accelerate learning in a way that no one else is doing. It created a real buzz in the audience that set us up for some great conversations!
From the many panel discussions throughout the day it became clear that, in educating our children, we have to improve delivery. This is core to our mission and at the heart of everything we do at Dream Learners: delivering engaging learning through stories that is are also highly entertaining.
Russlynn Ali, SEO XQ Institute and MD of the Emerson Collective echoed our thinking when she outlined the need to “meet kids where they are, to get them where they need to be”. When talking about why the school system still hasn’t changed after so many years, Esther Wojcicki, Media Art Founder of Palo Alto High School explained that the “mindset of the teacher needs to change”. Her view is that teachers need to embrace change in their classroom, challenging the traditional model of teacher in front of a room of listening children. Rather they should ‘flip’ the model with teachers being open to letting go of some of their autonomy in favour of a student-led learning environment. We know, as experienced teachers ourselves, that teachers are often over-stretched and underappreciated: time, resources and training are always in short supply, but often not the willingness on the part of the teacher.
Something else that is crucial to children’s academic outcomes - and which research highlights time and again - is that not only must children have more of a say in their education, but it is crucial for parents to foster a love of learning in the home. That is why parent and child collaboration is core to our mission and why our stories are created to empower parents and support meaningful parent/child dialogue. Perhaps it is misleading to focus all our efforts solely on schools. As Lauri Järvilehto CEO of learning games manufacturer Lightneer put it: “learning isn’t broken, institutional education is.”
Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at the London Knowledge Lab (Institute of Education) and a valued member of our board of advisors, lent a rational and experienced voice to ‘The Science of Learning’ panel. She emphasized the critical fact that the “biggest determinant of a student’s success is motivation.” Key to instilling this confidence is context: namely parents and the home. How can we engage parents so that they can take an active and crucial role in their children’s educational journey?
Towards the end of the day Gerard, our CEO, presented Dream Learners to the audience, introducing them to the most educational and entertaining way of readying kids for bed. He asked: “who would bite my hand off for a product that helps your children learn in the best way, improves your relationship with them and helps you get your them settled for bed?” Everyone’s hand went up!