CanvasCon: The educational revolution through technological development

We had the opportunity to attend CanvasCon in Barcelona this month. One message was clear – technology is now part of our daily life; it affects our every move, therefore there is a necessity to adapt to its rapid development.

It is said that over 65% of primary school students today will have jobs that do not exist yet. Moreover, in recent years, educators have wrongly assumed that the young generation is good and comfortable with technology. It is a far cry from when our TechGirl, Charlotte Gerrish, was studying at university 10 years ago, where the use of pen and paper and traditional teaching methods via slide projection and physical libraries were still very much the norm. How things have changed in such a short space of time!


Empowerment through technology

Since technology is now so prevalent, how to use it and reap its benefits must be taught from the youngest age to allow the new generation to face the upcoming challenges. Technology can be empowering if used properly. It aims to ensure that people throughout the world can connect and communicate.

David Price, author and global thought leader, stated that “any educator that can be replaced by a Youtube video should be.” In his view, the job of an educator in 2020 is “an exercise in delayed gratification”. It is important to note that education is a universal mission, making it at the centre of numerous debates. Canvas is a learning management platform launched in 2010. It focuses on students’ success. It helped develop numerous pedagogical approaches.

Build on each other’s knowledge

In Matthew Moss High School in Rochdale, England, a pedagogy of agency was implemented where students are left to work out by themselves. The P2P learning during the Saturday school allows student to help each other and great results can be observed; D6 students generally end up getting better results. A similar approach is used in Fontys ICT, university of applied sciences. Students are given a thought of control as owners of their personal data and can decide whether to share it or not. They create their own curriculum and do their own grading and feedbacks. Students proclaimed that “Canvas is central” and stated that they “build on each other’s knowledge”.

In Hogeschool in Utrecht, through the use of Canvas, they have created a gamification approach to support self-paced student learning. It is not a game, but a course with game-mechanics. The aim of the course is to develop a product through field and theoretical exploration and teaches the necessity to be aware of clients’ expectations. The gamified course-design ensures a motivating structure by sets of forms and quizzes with different steps to help students acquire knowledge first to secure the best results possible. Results show an increased efficiency in students’ work and provide valuable feedback for teachers throughout the year allowing them to help student through the evolution of their project rather than general feedback at the end of the year.

Education 4.0

Technology is having an ever-dominant position in education. That is the case at Grimsby Institute in the UK which introduced “Education 4.0” whereby students are taught how to use and adapt to technology. Teachers recalled that automation could replace up to 50% of existing jobs by 2026. The system they introduced aims to keep up with technological development. They strive for excellence and innovation, while putting technology at the heart of the curriculum to prepare today’s generation for the world of tomorrow.

Indeed, whether it is through a very organised and preparative system or through self-learning, technology is becoming predominant in any form of education. Overall, all new pedagogical approaches merge to similar educational motos: personalised learning, online learning and innovation.


A necessity in education

While technology has become a necessity in education, as any other great developments, risks come along especially relating to data protection and the safe use of internet and other online tools by children. Those aspects are to be considered by educators in order to prevent side effects to this great evolution in society.

In our opinion, one does not replace the other and what is important for any use of technology in society is to ensure that the tech-aspects and human involvement are fully combined. It’s not about replacement, but about collaboration – so society has place for books and AI-tools.

What are your views about technology an education? Is this a step towards the future to allow us and younger generations to take control over our learning, or is it a sad time for books and more traditional methods?

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