Edtech, Digital Skills and Future of Work

Digital Skills, Future of work, EdTech, inclusion and systemic change are the main themes which have inspired our work in the Education area in these early years of activity and which will  lead the way in the years to come.

We’re living in a world growing in complexity, governed by data and new technologies: this is why we believe it is essential to investigate and explore the potential of these tools as well as new didactic approaches to improve student’s careers, unburden teachers from administration workload and have a real impact on our education system.

Moreover, we are aware of the growing demand of both digital and interpersonal skills from the work environment. So we’re asking: how can we narrow the gap between the skills demanded by the major companies and those provided by schools and universities’ curriculum? How can we better prepare the youngest generations to face an uncertain and ever changing future?

These are the two main challenges inspiring our work. In this blog post we present our projects – both in Italy and Europe and events not to be missed.

How can we make the most of technologies in school?

Technologies used within schools, the so-called EdTech, have the advantage not only of improving learning in some contexts, for example through personalised homework paths based on the use of artificial intelligence; but of changing the very dynamics of teaching, promoting pedagogical approaches favouring the inclusion, collaboration and active involvement of students.

However, introducing technology to school is anything but simple. It presupposes a preparation of teachers in the use of new tools and an attitude to change, sometimes, their methods and habits. It is expensive and it is still an experiment, which in a traditional environment such as school finds many barriers to entry. Top-down reform programs that introduce technologies into schools struggle to function if there is no needs analysis in individual schools and the involvement of school leaders and teachers themselves.

So, how can we promote innovation programmes in schools, achieving impact on a large scale?

Next week, in Turin, we will launch our research report “Making the most of technology in education. Lessons from school systems around the world”, in partnership with Nesta and with the support of Fondazione per la Scuola.

The publication of this report marks a year-long research project which brought us to meet and confront with headmasters and teachers, schools’ innovation programmes leaders, representatives from other Foundations, policymakers. A project which allowed us to discover innovation practices in schools around the world and to compare these with our education system in order to draw useful recommendations for foundations, policymakers, companies and schools on how build valuable partnerships aimed at scaling the use of technologies in education programmes and widen their impact to achieve a systemic change.

On the 19th of September, during the event ‘Edtech: innovation, impact, inclusion’ organised by Fondazione per la Scuola in partnership with Nesta Italia, we will launch the italiana edition of the report.

Digital Skills and the future of work in Italy

The mismatch of skills between the world of education and that of work is not new. Today unemployment in Italy affects 9.8% of people; according to some studies including ‘The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030’ conducted by Nesta, the percentage is destined to grow making some occupations and skills obsolete on the one hand, creating new occupations on the other. According to the research, digital skills will be very relevant in the future, as well as creativity, interpersonal skills such as empathy, high-level cognitive skills and the ability to analyse complex problems (system skills).

Do schools and universities prepare students to face such challenges?

We chose to focus on digital skills and conducted a research which allowed us to detect the type, sectors and geographic areas of the most requested skills in Italy. In partnership with Talent Garden and in collaboration with Tabulaex, we published the report ‘Le competenze digitali in Italia. Orientarsi in un mercato del lavoro in continua evoluzione’ which analyse demand and supply of digital skills in some of the main cities of Italy.

Afterwards we are planning a series of activities to disseminate the results of the research and to engage in an active dialogue with all the key players who can contribute to support and promote a digital culture inside schools, universities, small and big companies, public administrations.

School, inclusion and a digital curriculum in East Europe

Still with the aim of contributing to the training of individuals who can navigate a complex and dynamic labor market, we are working with an American partner in six Eastern European countries. The aim of the project is to increase the aptitude of girls and high school students, coming from underserved and disadvantaged areas, to undertake a career path in digital or to continue their studies at university in courses related to technologies. and information technology.

This very ambitious project will start next month and will see us engaged in 2020 in co-design and co-production activities with non-profits, students and local schools, testing, evaluation, research and dissemination aimed at testing a new teaching approach of computer science which will later be disseminated in schools.

If you want to learn more about our project in the Education area keep following us on social media and join us in Turin on the 19th!