Digital transformation has accelerated in all sectors of our society since the arrival of the Covid-19. On May 5, at TheVentureCity we organized a new edition of our virtual Techtulias to discuss the present and the future of the educational sector in Spain. Hand in hand with leaders of the education sector and leading startups, we analyze the impact of the EdTech sector in the current environment and the role that online education plays in the “new normal” of the post-Covid-19 era.
Techtulia was moderated by Priscilla Villaseñor , Business Builder at TheVentureCity, and was attended by: Pablo Lara García , General Director of Education, Grupo Planeta and President, Edutech Cluster Barcelona; Daniel González De Vega , Founder Smartick, Mathematics at a click; Gustavo Rodríguez , Co-Founder & CEO, BabySparks; Yasiara Ortiz , Co-Founder & CEO, Misstudy; Denise Abulafia , Founder, Educatina & Specialist at EdTech; Daniel Yuste , VP Business Mindset, TheVentureCity; and Mai Apraiz , Co-founder of Gamelearn.
The experts of the educational sector discussed, from different points of view, about the new challenges that the Covid-19 crisis has presented for the sector; how the industry is facing the new unexpected reality of educating ourselves from home; the progress and future of the relationship between startups and educational corporations; and the trends that will shape the future of education.
According to a recent study carried out by the Contec Foundation, palliating the educational impact of the coronavirus epidemic on public and concerted non-university education networks will cost 5 billion euros. This same study reflects the index of online education in Spain, through a ranking that positions schools that have an effective Internet platform to support teaching. The results indicate that Castilla y León is the Autonomous Community with an effective technological infrastructure for educational purposes, leading the ranking with 75% and, far below, are Extremadura (40%), Asturias (37%) and Aragón (35%) . In countries like Sweden, Denmark or Finland, 75% of the directors claim to have these platforms.
For Daniel González De Vega , Founder Smartick, Mathematics at a click, “the Covid-19 has accelerated a trend that was already there, this situation was going to happen sooner or later, which has now come earlier. Why? This pandemic has forced schools, parents and teachers to put their batteries with an existing reality. With this what we will achieve is that the learning curve accelerates. But what is going to happen was already going to happen anyway. ”
The new challenges that the Covid-19 crisis has presented to the sector
For Pablo Lara García , General Director of Education, Grupo Planeta and president, Edutech Cluster, “the situation in which we are immersed is totally exceptional, I believe that there has been a step forward in the EdTech industry, but we have a long way to go to consolidate it. It should be noted that, in relation to schools, the digital competence of students and teachers has increased and parents are much more likely to accept new technologies in the teaching and learning processes. But object,“The Spanish educational system is very traditional, in recent years neither devices nor digital content have been purchased for schools. Here we can only devote all our efforts to make this great conjunctural leap more structural. ”
For her part, Denise Abulafia , Founder, Educatina & Specialist at EdTech explains, “From the area of education science we have known for years that we need models with other learning dynamics. This situation is serving us as a new experience that has come to stay, but that we are still far from saying that we are achieving good learning. We need to establish more flexible educational models ”.
And finally, Gustavo Rodríguez , Co-Founder & CEO, BabySparks, adds, “We are all receiving an intensive and accelerated course in technology and, when I say everyone, I mean both teachers and students, even families. And he continues adding, “When we talk about whether technology will finally break the paradigm of the physical infrastructure of education, I would like us to stop to think about the different segments of education, since in some cases this transition could be delayed, as it would be the case of young children, from 0 to 3 years old. Here the great challenge is to design the product, not for the consumer, but for the one who accompanies them, the parents”.
Another of the great challenges that all experts agree on is the human factor in online education. How to build links in the online modality, which, after all, is the essence of education.
Progress and future of the relationship between startups and corporations
On the progress and future of the relationship between startups and large corporations, Daniel Yuste , VP Business Mindset, TheVentureCity explained: “There are 3 layers to work on, on the one hand we find the management committees or the executive commanders, here I still see a great distance in understanding how technology is applied to the development and evolution of companies. There is a resistance in the management layers when it comes to making a real adoption of these methods of continuous training of the employees or collaborators of a company ”. He continues adding, “middle managers are the most appropriate to embrace the idea of understanding the collaboration between startup and company and, finally, low managers, here the mentality of workers has to adapt to this reality.”
For Pablo Lara García , General Director of Education, Grupo Planeta and President, Edutech Cluster, “for me it is very important that the traditional industry contributes experience, structure and channel, and that the startup industry contributes product, user vision, future and efficiency.”
Trends that will shape the future of education
For Daniel González De Vega , Founder Smartick, Mathematics at a click, “if we want to be able to offer our students the content that fits their profile and their performance in real time, we will only achieve this by applying Machine Learning technologies and Artificial intelligence. Virtual and augmented reality for me will be the two most disruptive technologies in the near future, as they will help make the learning experience much more enriching for students. ”
For Mai Apraiz , Co-founder of Gamelearn, “I especially believe in Machine Learning, adapting training to the qualities of the student, I see that this will be one of the most powerful technologies. In the case of virtual reality, I believe that its application is adapted to more technical training, a 3D environment for operating machines, for operating in a heart transplant, but not in the education sector makes sense.
“After a crisis there are always opportunities,” concluded all the experts from the Techtulia. Their messages were hopeful, highlighting the role of education and acclaiming the cooperation of industry stakeholders to design new teaching modalities and make personalized learning a reality in the classroom.
The session’s recording is available for watching in Spanish: