Headliner Will Automation Spell the End of Education as We Know It?

  • Speakers:
  • Sandy Speicher, Todd Rose , Ulrik Juul Christensen

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The Disruptive Innovation Festival is an online festival of ideas that asks the question: what if we could redesign everything? During the DIF, we’ll be asking our speakers to tell us what they think is in store for the future of the economy. While watching you can chip in with your thoughts and questions: sign up for a free My DIF account and ask your question through the discussion forum below the live stream!

What does automation, personalisation and adaptive really mean in the context of learning? In this Headliner session we’re set to explore the future of learning and the role of digital technology in shaping our lives, our work and our worldviews.

Three thought leaders: an advocate for learning structures that serve individuals (and not vice versa), a pioneer in adaptive learning technology and a human-centered designer for learning will be coming together for the first time in an online discussion to dissect these important topics. They will be sharing their insight into how we might utilise digital technology to shape, design and define the educational systems of the future. We’ll also be exploring what they see as the important considerations for educational leaders in today's world and clearing up some common misconceptions on what automation, personalisation and adaptive really mean for learning.

In a world where assessing and defining averages has become an obsession, shaping our educational, corporate and design decisions on a daily bases, we will explore why this might now be the dawning of a new age of personalisation. An age where we work to understand and celebrate the individual, using digital capabilities to customise experiences, learner journeys, workplaces and professional development pathways. Adaptive learning technologies enable us to move away from a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to teaching. Technologies and environments can be designed for the learning needs of the individual, building on their unique talents and performance preferences. This in turn has the potential to accelerate learning and drive individual and collective performance.

But what are the pitfalls to consider, what are the threats in this pathway to utopian educational systems? What would it mean for our intellectual development and creative fulfillment, and what does it mean for learning itself?

Whether it's your own learning, your family’s, colleagues’ or your organisation’s, how we learn and educate fundamentally shapes the world we live in. Don't miss this unique opportunity to explore these big topics in this online and interactive session, pose your questions to speakers and inform your thinking on the future of learning.


Sandy Speicher

Sandy Speicher

Partner and Managing Director of Education, IDEO

Sandy is a partner and Managing Director of Education at the global design and innovation firm IDEO. Her teams look to people’s unmet needs to inspire new solutions for a wide variety of challenges – from the ways people learn, to the ways systems operate. Working with organizations across the public, private, and social sectors, her work focuses on creating tools to help build creative confidence in students and teachers, so that they can be agents of change for how our classrooms evolve.k

Todd Rose

Todd Rose

Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Todd is the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he leads the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality, as well as Associate Faculty at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is also the co-founder of The Center for Individual Opportunity, a non-profit organization that promotes the principles of individuality in work, school, and society. Todd is the author of The End of Average.

Ulrik Juul Christensen

Ulrik Juul Christensen

Ed tech pioneer and disrupter

Dr Ulrik Christensen is an Ed tech pioneer and disrupter, thriving to create technologies that support individual learners’ needs so that everybody’s talents can flourish.

During Med School, Ulrik discovered how many doctors and paramedics cannot recall the basics when exposed to extreme pressure. To help doctors and nurses to perform better under pressure, he founded the medical simulation company, Sophus Medical. When Laerdal Medical later acquired the company, Ulrik joined Laerdal to lead learning products globally and major simulation-based curriculum development for US Army, American Heart Association and Red Cross among others.

In 2006, he co-founded the Area9 Group and has remained at the forefront of adaptive and personalised learning with more than 1500 adaptive learning products based on the Area9 technologies and millions of students using the systems every semester. This platform was sold to McGraw-Hill Education in 2014 but is still the core for Area9 Learning's adaptive offerings.

He recently stepped down from the McGraw-Hill Education Executive Leadership Team to focus on the rapidly growing Area9 Innovation and Area9 Learning enterprises. Area9 Learning is the adaptive learning partner for prominent organisations like the New England Journal of Medicine, Hitachi Data Systems, National Safety Council, Huawei, Shinola and several others.

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