Over 370 people attended the Tech Spirit Barcelona day held at UPF Barcelona School of Management
What will education look like in 10 years' time? What role will new technologies play? What will be the role of teacher? And will classrooms still exist?
These are just some of the questions debated at EdTech Barcelona, the first ever forum on innovation, technology and education held at UPF Barcelona School of Management as part of Tech Spirit Barcelona. If there were any doubt as to the impact of entrepreneurism and startups on the field of education, Edtech revealed that interest is strong, with over 370 people attending an event organised in a mere four days, and that innovation exceeds expectations. Virtual reality, augmented reality, robotics, gamification, mobile learning, transmedia storytelling and user experiences… "We are here today because it's important to create an EdTech ecosystem. It must be made visible and it must be connected to the city's other tech ecosystems", emphasised UPF-BSM Professor Albert Garcia Pujades of Foxize, to have led the event alongside Snakson, SekLab and BeChallenge.
The technology sector has also become a veritable ally for knowledge and learning. "In the past we always studied from the same book. Nowadays, the new technologies have allowed us to adapt this book to new learning methods", pointed out Roger Pastor of Deloitte. It is clear that both old and new generations are engaged in a search for new learning methods. Neuroeducation suggests that engagement is what drives learning and technology must serve as an advantage rather than a hinderance. "It is by means of technology (whether virtual or augmented reality, gamification, transmedia storytelling, etc) that we can generate new learning experiences that are more exciting and engaging, and above all, more effective", added Xavi Pasqual of BeChallenge.
The debate on "learnability" led by UPF Barcelona School of Management professor and director of online programming, Lluís Vicent, also made it clear that new learning methods do not only concern new generations. "Despite the fact that people tend to accumulate knowledge, the employment market and companies have come to demand more and more soft skills. How can we teach the ability to learn things that we don't yet know will be necessary? This is exactly where learnability comes in, representing an individual's ability to learn new skills throughout their lifetime and to quickly respond to changes. "It's no longer enough to teach people the knowledge to become a lawyer, designer or accountant; you also have to teach them to keep up with society and the business world, and how to meet the demands of a world in constant transformation", the speakers stressed.
After a month of seven debates, two workshops and much debate on innovation and education, the Barcelona EdTech ecosystem has revealed both its impact and potential as an event, inspiring the creation of Edtech Spain, a non-profit organisation developed to join forces in the Spanish ecosystem of startups related to EdTech and to generate both an economic and social impact by means of innovation in education. EdTech Spain is set to form part of the European EdTech Alliance, which will bring together all of the various EdTech branches, companies and higher education institutes working to drive the transformation to education in Spain.