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Social Media Can Fix Education


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This is my presentation from this year's Social Media Geek here in Glasgow.

Equator were the lead city sponsors and as well as covering innovation in the social media sphere, we wanted to talk about how we plan to use these tools to improve the experience of the next generation of talent in our sector and beyond.

The digital and creative sectors really suffer from a lack of job-ready graduates. It’s time that we employ our skills to fix this problem.

I believe we can transform education to create better graduates with more opportunities and a healthier landscape for business growth.

For graduates, professionals and businesses, building a strong reputation or brand in the digital social sphere is now an important ingredient for success.

This reputation is no longer simply based on the work you do, it’s about the good you do too.

I'm proposing social utilities that help both individuals and businesses build their reputation through digital mentoring.

Pretty soon, the credentials you earn earn by sharing your knowledge with graduates or buddying with key people in the industry will be vital to getting your next job or promotion.

Please contribute to this discussion by connecting with me on twitter @jamesjefferson or by using #socialmediageek


Social Media Can Fix Education

  2. 2. Me Adam- I figure some of you don’t know me from Adam- My day job is Creative director and one of the 3 founders of Equator- We’re a Digitally led integrated agency in Glasgow and now New York- Grown to nearly 90 people in 13 years- We’ve helped develop businesses from start-ups to household names.- From day one we made a couple of important decisions about the shape of the business...
  3. 3. Global.- It was going to be global.- Even though there were only three of us!- Too many companies are too locally focussed- Our ambitions were bigger than that.
  4. 4. Close-knit.- We wanted to create a really close-knit team- We hire carefully- We look out for each other- We inspire each other- We’re honest with each other- As well as simple drive, I believe our success is down to having an amazing team
  5. 5. Giants.“If we hire people smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if we hire people bigger than we are, we shall become a company ofgiants.”- This focus on the team why Im passionate about this subject: The growing gap between businesses and educational institutions
  6. 6. - @CCSKILLS- My desire to do something about this gap was brought into focus recently when I was asked to join the National board of Creative and Cultural Skills The licensed skills council for the UK’s creative and cultural industries - Apprenticeships - Career advice - Research - Analysis - Definition of professional standards
  7. 7. We start making a difference today.- So this is day one of making a difference!- I’m here to start this conversation, Share my thoughts with you and hear yours.- First I want to explain where this journey started...- Back in May 2009 I was invited into Caledonian University as an external assessor...
  8. 8. In May 2009I became a pain in the ass.
  9. 9. In May 2009 I became a pain--- in the ass. I noticed the course structure was really different to work we do After talking to some students it was obvious there was a big gap and some frustration about what they were learning It seemed really unfair that some wouldn’t find out about the gap until it was too late.- They wouldn’t know why their interviews weren’t going well.- I was pretty vocal about my worries.- I wanted to do something to help.
  10. 10. - After asking around a little it became apparent that this is actually quite a big deal.- According to Institute of employment studies research in 2008 – Just 9.3% of UK creative graduates found a job in their chosen career.- More than 77% said they’d have considered alternative forms of study.- And it’s not just creative roles;- A quick look around the skills in our studio shows issues in hiring for all roles- Some roles are completely self-taught!
  11. 11. We muststop failing students.
  12. 12. We must stop failing-- students. Realise that a degree is now sometimes less powerful than your online social reputation when getting a job. Stop building courses based on a fixed model of the world – and build adaptive education structures- Forget the idea that an education based on skills can set you up for life.- Creative and cultural skills are already trying to move colleges away from being only numbers focussed toward need in specific areas.- Working with Caledonian we’ve already started to build bridges to connect students with design professionals
  13. 13. - One thing we’ve tried to avoid is placements- In small businesses these often result in people just learning to make tea- Difficult for small businesses to devote enough time to apprentices:- If its too early for students to do a live project there’s not much to do.- So working with the Design Alliance, we’ve started trying more innovative routes that can complement placements or apprenticeships...
  14. 14. The first- tutor internship. We decided to invite the tutors in for placements- This activity was run in several companies in Scotland- For us I felt it was a great success - The tutor was able to see: - what we were working on - Our process - Our quality control - Team interaction - Client relationships- And take all that back to share with all the students and shape the course.
  15. 15. Directed projects.Since then we have been involved in a few other directed projects and a couple of standard placements- Caledonian and Dundee - These all went really well but I still felt we could do better by the students- The guidance is piecemeal- Has little bearing on student grade- They have all highlighted the need for a more continual/granular approach to guidance
  16. 16. - So I started thinking about why we had this gap- It’s increasingly difficult for courses to keep up - new methods - new technology - new software - new platforms- Even we struggle! But for us, change is fundamental. We share a lot. - Equator Academies - Monthly All-hands - Project presentations
  17. 17. - And we’re not alone- On a recent visit to San Francisco, I was lucky enough to visit Happy Cog – They share a lot too... - A highly virtual team - Campfire everyday - Blog, write, talk
  18. 18. But all this is still happening within our companies. Students don’t get the benefits of it.- If just a little could leak out, they’d really benefit- It cant come from a few days with a team – you have to be embedded in the culture - learnings, - successes, - failures - values- You need firsthand experience of the level of thinking and work we expect- The answer is simple – we all work together!- Can we use Social media to achieve this – After all its what its really good at.- But can we change the education system to accommodate this? Well, it turns out that within education the digital revolution has already started...- There’s an appetite for change and lots of entrepreneurs ready to feed it.
  19. 19. Digital lessons TEDedOnline learning.
  20. 20. Virtual learning environments Facebook Virtual classrooms.
  21. 21. Personalised digital learning Knewton Adaptive learning.
  22. 22. - As with business solutions all these innovations are still locked away in colleges- Amazing things happening in colleges and amazing things happening in business but the twain arent meeting- Well I think its time to introduce them- There are two parts to doing this - Technical facilitation - Creating a catalyst for action- I think both can be achieved through social media
  23. 23. I’m not sure mywork’s any good. The social media bit.
  24. 24. I’m not sure my It’s’s any good. The social media bit.
  25. 25. I’m not sure what to do next. Why not try this tutorial?Worlds first cloud-based technology for reading facial expressionsRosalind W. Picard, Rana el Kaliouby, Daniel Jonathan McDuff,Affectiva and Forbes
  26. 26. What are the We need to some latest things I specific skills in need to know? this new field.Google Course Builder will catalogue and deliver the worlds educational contentAnnounced September 2012
  27. 27. I can help you master retail site design.Vayable -A trust-based network that connect tour guides with tourists. A similar model could be used to source mentors.
  28. 28. You guys should meet.SponsorifiedUses a dating engine to connect brands with experiences. Why not use this to connect the right student with the right professional?
  29. 29. I think I’ve Have you answered thought the brief. about...YammerCorporate social networking with rich co-working features. Could we create open co-working networks thatallow students and professionals to seamlessly share experiences and insights?
  30. 30. Social Social Sphere Sphere 1004 Kred 65 Kred points points CareerGrade Course & Work Kudos supported by sector body e.g. CCSkills
  31. 31. Crowdsourced, frictionlessreputation-building virtual internships
  32. 32. These ideas move us away from thinking the only solution for experience-based learning is short apprenticeships− The recent holt report showed the importance of improving apprenticeships− Only 10% of SMEs take on apprenticeships− SMEs make up 99% of British businesses.- Perhaps they’re too busy trying to earn a crust to: - create training plans - managing students- I believe that we can do a lot better than 10% - support of sector bodies to build trust - social media to create the platform and the catalyst to act
  33. 33. A journey of athousand miles begins with a single step.
  34. 34. − I would dearly love this social revolution for education to be lead by UK education and business.− I think the digital and creative sectors, which are among the worst affected by this issue, could be the creators of a solution.− We have some of the best digital and creative courses and businesses in the world.− Only by bridging this gap can we hope to continue this success.− I want to start by bootstrapping a trial and develop it from there.
  35. 35. Please come along.I’d love to hear your ideas, suggestions & insights