Teachers everywhere are experiencing arguably the most difficult school year yet, with the advance of technology-driven solutions to a global pandemic that has forced millions of school to go fully or partially virtual in no time at all. Feeling over-worked and over-exhausted, many educators are seeking out communities to sustain them whether that is through social media platforms, finding teacher groups online, or even relying on shopping networks to help other teachers to clear their classroom shopping lists in a recent initiative to show their support for each other. Now, more than ever before, teachers are building and leaning on their communities.
At BSD Education, we are committed to providing teachers with opportunities to nurture their connections to other teachers through various initiatives but most recently through a new talk series called “Teachers Meet Businesses” launched early last year in Hong Kong.
The aim was to build a community that bridged the gap between educators and businesses in terms of preparing students for the workplace. As such, our quarterly events were directly aimed at breaking this disconnect by showing first-hand how technology is disrupting industries, as well as how educators can better prepare students for their future careers.
The event provides teachers with an opportunity to share projects and best practices with their peers and explore new ways of using technology in the classroom. For businesses, these events allow professionals to see how current digital skills are being integrated into the curriculum, thereby influencing their future workforce.
During a “Teachers Meet Businesses” event, attendees are given the chance to expand their networks, exchange ideas, and share experiences. For example, at our first event, we heard from Iain Williamson, Head of Media Literacy at South Island School in Hong Kong, about his experiences implementing coding and digital skills as a cross-curricular initiative, and how it has prepared his students for their future careers by creating professional projects for the Agence France Presse (AFP). It is an especially important course for today’s students because not only are they constantly utilizing digital skills, many are looking for a more in-depth learning experience.
We also heard from Fiona Yu, a subject matter expert in Machine Learning, Distributed Data, and Blockchain Trading, where she discussed the skills students will need when entering the workforce. Specifically, she focused on building skills in data and data visualization.
At subsequent events, we heard from Matthew Wong, Group Manager for Digital Leadership at Swire Coca-Cola, and Andrew Pidden, Managing Director, Head of Sustainable Investments at DWS Group as well as Ross Parker, Director of Technology, Pedagogy and Assessment at International College of Hong Kong and Stewart Ross, Design and Technology Teacher at West Island School in Hong Kong. Our educational speakers discussed how the approach to project-based learning needs to adapt to the growing priority of digital skillsets. Our corporate speakers explained how the advancements of technology have directly impacted the global markets, from circular economic investments to developing environmental technology, as brands become more socially conscious.
One of the clear benefits to “Teachers Meet Businesses” events is being able to hear both sides of the conversation. It is integral to preparing our students for the real-world workforce because at the rate technology is developing across various industries, students will enter industries that are 100% reliant on technological literacy, whether that is in code, data, programming, or careers seemingly unrelated to technology. Educators will be in a better position to create curriculums that work for the students of today if they can see what is necessary for future careers.
Through this initiative, these areas of expertise are not only addressed but are fueled by an innovative approach to education technology. We are committed to building a solid community of teachers who are passionate about infusing technology into academic learning to make students future-ready.
Given the unforeseen challenges, this year has presented, the “Teacher Meet Businesses” events have been put on hold but our commitment to building a strong community is ongoing. We look forward to when we can hold another event soon and encourage other schools and businesses to contact us about getting involved in our next event.
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