Global EdTech Trends - Interview with Speakers Header v3.png Conor O'Sullivan_Adaptemy.png

What do you like about your role?

Working at the intersection of education, technology and business in many countries is a really interesting place to be. In my role, I enjoy the constant discussions with many smart people looking to improve education from different perspectives.

Technology continues to throw so many tools and so much capability into our hands, but education is an incredibly complex process where ideas need to be carefully trialled. On the other hand, education touches every single person in the world, and there is enormous opportunity to have an impact. Without understanding the business of education, you will be just another nice but irrelevant idea.

Share three predictions on the future of Edtech.

  1. Understanding and modelling how each student learns, and how teachers and classrooms interact, will lead not just to better Edtech products, but to whole new ways of organising education. As products mature and more case studies emerge, teachers will gain confidence in empowering students to take more conteol of their own learning journey.
  2. While the growth of data gathering around classroom activities has valid privacy concerns, it is starting to provide a powerful tool: product feedback loops. For the first time ever, education content companies can start to really observe what works in detail, not just what sells. This direct feedback empowers more innovation and more effective educational products.
  3. As devices become smaller and less intrusive, technology will start to become more invisible again, and we’ll appreciate the educational primacy of the interpersonal relationships between teachers and students, and among students. Augmented reality could eventually be suitable here, where teachers are able to visualise in real-time the learning needs within their classrooms.

What technologies do you believe have the potential to transform the education industry?

Today’s breakthrough technologies in the areas of data and algorithms, whether under the banner of artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning or data science, have enormous potential to transform education. Not just in providing ways to improve how we learn, but also bringing us to question why we learn, and what we want to become. Tomorrow’s graduates will succeed with a new set of skills that enables them to use and complement the artificial intelligence world around them.

As we are celebrating out 5th anniversary of EdTechXEurope, we are looking at the key trends over the past 5 years in edtech. What would you say have been the key areas of change that are impacting edtech today? Anything unexpected that surprised you? Trends that were overhyped and never met their expected potential?

Compared to other industries, the technology changes in education have not been surprising, and many were predicted up to 10 years ago. However the execution of these trends has been very surprising: major companies with technology, content and capital have miscued, often misreading market obstacles and end-user behaviours, while some companies have surprised is the speed of their successes.

Why is it important for all players in the edtech ecosystem to continuously connect, network and learn from each other?

Our company only exists because of strong partnerships formed between investors, innovators and the industry incumbents. Our early prototypes showed potential in classrooms, but in Edtech it is a long road to reach every classroom: products need to be trialled and efficacy proven. In the field of adaptive learning, data needs to be gathered and algorithms tuned. New ideas need to find capital and partners all with a shared vision of the future, and conversations in the Edtech ecosystem are essential to findings these partners.

When you think about joining EdTechXEurope this year, what are you looking forward to? What makes you excited about our event in London?

EdTechXEurope is a fantastic event because of the calibre of the attendees it attracts. There is no other event in the European calendar where I can meet all of my customers and many potential customers in one small venue all in one day. I’m looking forward to another day of thought-provoking discussions, new connections and new business.

Join Conor and our 100+ thought leader speakers at EdTechXEurope 2017 on 20 - 21st June 2017 - reserve your place now >> 

Explore the agenda and see all of our confirmed 2017 EdTechXEurope speakers - go to agenda >>