Learning at the Dublin Web Summit

You may have seen some coverage both online and offline over the last few days of the Web Summit which was held in Dublin last week. The event attracted over 4,000 visitors, with many of the leading lights from the tech world travelling from all over the globe to enhance their learning – and of course ourselves!

It is quite an inspiring event. Not only was there an opportunity to hear some of the best minds in the internet business share their thoughts and experiences, there was also a huge chance for start-up companies to network and meet with potential investors. There was a great sense of can-do, ambition and adventure from all the attendees. The opportunities presented to start-ups to pitch, network and get advice were invaluable.

Marc Andreessen, leading investor, recently said that software is eating the world. I guess that he means that software can add value in any sphere. I certainly got this impression from my few days at the Web Summit. For example, solutions presented at the summit aim to overcome problems in diverse fields, from managing farms to organising container shipping.

We were particularly interested in the Education sector of course. There was some good coverage of the advances and solutions that techology is bringing to the Education sector, but maybe not as much as we might have thought. We live and breathe it, so we expect others to show the same passion as us! We enjoyed a very interesting discussion on the future of online learning. The major takeout I had from this session was that although students can now access courses online, the social element of learning is still hugely important. Students studying online were quick to connect with each other, and set up online and even offline study groups. There was even mention of a recent marriage from students enrolled in an online course. We certainly agree with the importance and advantages of sharing study content, and have incorporated into our ExamTime solution.

Daphne Koller of Coursera also shared some very interesting thoughts from their experiences. Technology is allowing a more engaged way of learning according to her, with videos embedded with questions enabling the student to learn at their pace. It also allows the tutor to monitor the effectiveness of the course content. Using technology to record responses can give a great window into human learning.

Overall it was a hugely interesting and informative event. It certainly gives us at SAMI great confidence around the solutions we are building for education with Edvance and ExamTime. If software is eating the world, we’d like to add some tasty dishes to the menu!