February 28 Exploring the Future of Education at the Annual Principals’ Conference

Islamabad, February 28, 2018 – In pursuit of digital transformation in the classroom, Knowledge Platform held its first Annual Principals’ Conference today at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This conference provides a platform for school principals to discuss the potential of technology-based learning and how to overcome the challenges that it may bring. 150 principals and school owners attended the event. Also present were the Vice President of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Private Education Network and the former Minister of IT for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The event began with a welcome speech followed by an interactive session conducted by Knowledge Platform’s Country Manager, Talhah Munir Khan.

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Mr Khan began with a reflective question on the purpose of education. The audience offered various answers: “to create a workforce ready for the future”; “to create better human beings”; “to create better citizens”; and “for character building and to create awareness and empower children”. Mr Khan’s answer was “Education should prepare young people for life, work, and citizenship.” He gave an overview of the current system of education and the different frameworks being used around the world, focusing on Singapore’s 21st-century competencies framework. This framework assumes that ‘knowledge’ and ‘skills’ must be underpinned by ‘values’. Values define a person’s character by shaping their beliefs, attitudes, and actions, all of which form the core of 21st-century competencies.

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Mr Khan also spoke about pedagogic shifts happening in education with student-centric learning, activity-based learning, and the change in the role of teachers. He elaborated on the use and benefits of technology that the world had already discovered. He also asked the audience to discuss the negative impacts of technology. He said, “Some people think that technology can replace teachers in schools, but we don’t believe it. The role of the teacher is much more than just imparting knowledge to students. The role of teachers is changing and we need to empower them with effective digital teaching tools. Technology becomes a game changer when it is used to harness the real benefits of pedagogic shifts.”

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Mr Khan then asked the audience what technology could not replace in classrooms. “Emotions”, “encouragement”, “inspiration”, “motivation”, and “soft-skills coaching” were some of the responses. Mr Khan ended his session with a description of the technology adoption curve, a model created by Everett Rogers that captures the behaviour of innovators, early adopters, and other users. Mr Khan encouraged the audience to be innovators and early adopters of digital transformation in classroom and schools.

Following Mr Khan’s speech, the Knowledge Platform team conducted a focus group. The eager crowd was divided into 16 groups and a moderator was assigned to each group. The following two questions were posed: “How can we improve learning outcomes in our schools?” and, “Do you think technology can play a role in education? If so, how?”

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Knowledge Platform’s Head of Outreach & Sustainability, Hira Zainab, summarised the results. According to these findings, the educators in the room believed that thorough training of teachers, more effective performance measuring tools, and new methods to increase student engagement would immensely improve learning outcomes. To the second question, educators responded overwhelmingly in favour of the role of technology in education. They believed that with the right educational hardware, curriculum-aligned digital content and interactive assessment-based learning tools would supplement traditional teaching methods.

Miss Zainab also gave a brief presentation and demonstration of Knowledge Platform’s blended learning solution, Learn Smart Classroom. She discussed its features before showing the audience some of the content for Math, English, and Science.

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To give the audience a ‘feel’ for the solution, she conducted an assessment. ‘Clickers’—hand-held devices that allow users to interact with the Learn Smart Classroom—were distributed among the audience. They watched an instructional video for a specific concept and then used the clickers to answer the assessments associated with the video. For every question, the response from more than 100 people was visible immediately on the projector screens. At the end of the assessment, the system showed a summary of the assessment by highlighting questions with low scores. It also showed the performance of the audience across the tested concepts and individual assessment scores. Six participants scored 100% in the assessment and received gift hampers as a reward.

For their participation, Knowledge Platform presented certificates to all the attendees of the conference.

The Director Learning Solutions for Knowledge Platform, Caspar Groeneveld, delivered closing remarks to a visibly inspired audience. He said, “We have years of experience with the use of technology in Europe and the US. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but can instead learn from them what works and implement that. And that’s what we’re doing at Knowledge Platform.”

For more information about the program, contact Hira Zainab at hzainab@knowledgeplatform.com