Teaching a Digital Mindset Course - Education and Technology

The Digital Mindset course that I have been teaching at Nebrija University covers some societal and professional challenges so that students can reflect on the positive/negative/neutral role digital systems have. 

The third topic of the course is Education and Technology. Who would've thought this topic would become so extremely relevant today. This has been a trend in the last years, and many Higher Ed organizations had been evolving towards having at least some offerings in digital formats. But suddenly, in less than a couple of days, all education has become digital. Some organizations were fully prepared for it. Others had to quickly revamp their approaches. In some educational levels, we are just not ready, or is even not fully plausible (should our 5-6yo kids be trapped to computers eight hours a day?) But this is the new now.

During the sessions, the class discussed the current trend of online education and its current limits (non-digital labs are the most relevant for my students, of course and they understand that while virtual reality may close the gap further, one needs to "touch" things when studying "touch" stuff :)).

The following two videos from the venture capital firm a16z talk about this and other quite interesting topics related to technology and education.

We also discussed the concept of Learning Analytics, that is, measuring the behavior and results of the students in order to increase student achievement and satisfaction. As explained in class, while data privacy issues are at the center of this trend, it is also true that in some cases learning analytics could be so important to achieve this achievements that could become mandatory. This is another societal challenge to take into account.

To finalize the first session, we talked about new tools that enable teachers approach topics in different ways. For instance, a new startup called FilmClub provides curated film excerpts so that teachers can use them for specific sessions about history, biology, soft skills, etc. 

In the second session, students presented some insights about how the university could offer better services by using technology. From something as simple but important as offering the cafeteria lunch online to more sophisticated ideas such as crafting an app for seasoned students to help freshmen with specific questions about university life, subjects, etc.

The following topic before the coronavirus made its presence in Spain was... how to build digital products!


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