Tom Crombie, Founder and CEO, My Online Schooling, and a few other panelists, discussed at the UK pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai whether or not the classroom and physical education era is dead. This type of individualised learning is already a reality in some classrooms and has been accelerated by COVID with new approaches and styles to teaching including flipped classrooms, power of play, diverse time and place, personalised learning, free choice, project based, field experience, data interpretation, new style assessments, student ownership and mentoring and much more. They will also be discussing what they see as being the most productive innovations that will evolve from all these ideas, the future of exams and much more. Excerpts from an interview with Crombie.
Can you tell us more about today’s discussion that took place at the UK Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai?
It was a pleasure to represent the UK at Dubai Expo 2020 and to be one of the voices for discussing the future of education on this incredible global stage. The panel discussed whether or not the classroom is dead. Individualised learning is already a reality in some classrooms and has been accelerated by COVID. New approaches and styles to teaching approaches are being developed including; flipped classrooms, power of play, diverse time and place, personalised learning, project based, field experience, data interpretation, new style assessments, student ownership and mentoring. One of the main discussion points was what the future of learning will look like and the role that digital innovation will play in 21st century education.
I discussed how online learning allows students the flexibility to learn in a way that works for them. It allows access to a global community and prepares young people for life beyond school in a digital world. Digital innovation and ed-tech are paving the way for changes to the way that education is delivered globally, and we are very excited to be a part of these exciting developments. Post-pandemic there has been an increased appetite for online learning globally and we have seen a huge level of interest in the UAE.
Students are able to access outstanding global curricula in a distraction free, focused environment from a location that works for them. Within the next 5 years I think that within the UAE we will see schools offering more 'blended' learning options where there will be a mix of online and in person learning and globally there will be the option for either traditional 'in person' education, blended learning or complete online schooling. We will see an education model where students are about the access learning on an individual basis, in a way that works for them.
As an expert in online education and an ex-educator, what’s the most powerful aspect of online education that physical education/schools cannot offer?
Online education allows the flexibility for students to learn in a way that works for them. Students are able to design a timetable around their existing commitments and study in a location and environment that works for them. Lessons are all recorded which makes it perfect for reviewing content after a lesson has been taught and preparing for an examination or assessment. Students can learn from a focused, distraction free environment and make use of some of the leading digital innovation and education technology that online schools possess. Learning can be taken with the student so for those travelling from country to country there is consistency within their education. The fact that students from all corners of the globe are able to come together in one global community allows for international mindedness and creates global citizens.
Do you have any plans to cooperate with local officials in the education sector?
We plan on expanding our offering in the UAE and have begun forming relationships with other businesses, education providers and government in the region. We are excited to be the pioneers in education in such a progressive and future thinking place, such as the UAE. In early 2022 we will establish our third global base in Dubai which will support students and families in the UAE and wider Gulf region.