Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
Last month, we ran the first event in our new series: Teachers Meet Businesses!
Globally, people speak about the need for schools to prepare students for the workplace but all too often there can be a disconnect between what’s happening in the classroom and what’s happening in businesses. Our quarterly events aim to break this disconnect by bringing teachers to different companies to learn first-hand how technology has disrupted Industries and ways of doing business.
During each event, a representative from the business speaks about their experience of technology in the workplace and a teacher shares their experience of how they are integrating technology in the classroom. Through this, we are able to give teachers the context and inspiration to further connect learning to the real world – to see exactly how digital skills will benefit their students’ future careers.
Our first event was hosted by Macquarie Group in Hong Kong. Fiona Yu, expert in Machine Learning, Distributed Data and Blockchain Trading spoke about the impact of machine learning in today’s trading activities. Fiona works on the “Blocks Desk”, which was created in 2018, and leads a team that uses a proprietary model that ranks potential buyers and sellers. Her team uses big data and artificial intelligence to make recommendations about what clients should buy and sell. Imagine when you search Amazon for a book and Amazon makes recommendations for you based on what you search – Fiona’s team does the same with stock recommendations. The model Fiona’s team uses has been trained to combine big data about stock’s characteristics and similar fund managers’ choices and stock screening to make these recommendations to clients.
After Fiona’s presentation, Iain Williamson spoke about the many initiatives he has introduced at South Island School in Hong Kong to give students more authentic learning experiences. One of the key things he has introduced is the AFP media course that has replaced the Media iGCSE, which was seen as out of date. A big part of this course is the client commissions that students have to do. They work directly with external companies to meet a brief and work to deadlines and expectations as they would in a real workplace. This experience not only tests students’ technical skills but also gives them the opportunity to demonstrate ‘softer’ skills employers would expect to see and helps them learn in a truly authentic way, like communication and time-management. The result of introducing a course that has real-world application and relevance has led to higher enrollment and more engaged students.
The first event was a truly insightful evening and gave a clear picture of how important integrating real-world relevant digital skills in school really is in preparing students for the future. As is clear from Iain’s experience, this sort of learning not only prepares students but also makes them more engaged and enthusiastic in the classroom.