Interview: Will Lock, Chief Growth Officer, Alef Education
During an exclusive interview with Will Lock, Chief Growth Officer, Alef Education, Economy asked how Alef was engaged in shaping the future of education.
Lock, who has an outstanding track record of growing international digital businesses in education and media, answered a number of our questions in this video. Below is also the full script of the conversation that took place at the GESS Dubai Education Exhibition and Conference
Who is shaping the future of education? Technologists, Schools, or the students themselves?
I think it has to be all of the above. Students come first. We need to think about their role, their needs, and requirements and how to improve their education and outcomes. It’s true that across the world, we’ve had an education system that has been stuck in the past.
The key is that we need to bring the best of technology and the world around us to education. Most other industries and parts of the economy have progressed significantly, but education has been stuck, and we need the best of tech to improve that, and you can see platforms such as Alef where personalization and our ability to understand each student where they are, really bring the future of education to students and improve outcomes and what we can deliver to children.
Read more: Alef Education: Technology key to graduating future leaders
About your role at Alef, do you see yourself as an edtech specialist or business developer?
It’s going to be both. For any growth in the world of education and education technology, you have to understand what the core of the market needs, what the student needs, and what the government and other stakeholders need. It’s a business as well. We have to grow the company and the business and I am bringing those two together, by asking “how can we improve students’ outcomes, how can we improve our life chances for our children and students that are going through our systems and how can we do this in such a way that we can provide it in a sustainable way where we continue to improve?’
What will Alef bring to Gess in terms of educational tools, and e-learning, not just here but also across different geographies as well, where you operate?
We love events like this. We bring as many of our teams as possible so they can hear directly from the customers, and can share and show the great technology, products, and content that we got.
So this year, we are exhibiting all of our 4 key platforms and some great new innovations, bringing that to the marketplace.
In a world of digitally-oriented learning, what can educators and schools bring to students in terms of having an interactive, fun learning environment?
We see a lot of innovation in that realm. We go back to why this is important. so much of education has been stuck in the past like rote memorization, teachers standing in front of the classroom telling students what they will learn about, and everyone has the same strengths and weaknesses. That’s not true. If you’re teaching to the average, then you leave those students behind or above that average behind. They become disenfranchised and disengaged.
What we bring and what the best of technology brings is an understanding that each student is different and we need to meet them where they are, and by doing that, they are more engaged.
You see the use of gamification in platforms, including ours, as incentivizing to keep that motivation, and students do respond to that. Gamification works, but we also need long-term incentives to learn. So too much gamification will end up having short-term spikes and students are involved but subsequently, they will get bored because they will need that next badge or reward. We have gamification but also want to create the agency to want to learn and to get involved in your own learning.
But there are other advances like the metaverse that we are looking into and that could have a huge impact in the world of education.
Are K-12 curricula and e-learning platforms catching up to the modern needs of economies, communication, and tools of the future?
Well, they need to. It’s been slow. Education has been behind the world around us. The likes of Google, personalized video platforms, and even shopping have really shown us how technology can help and support. But I think now we have a great opportunity to accelerate and get in front and say this is what’s best for education and learning, and this is how our children are going to learn best.
And these are the skills they need for the future because the skills of the past are no longer going to be part of the future. So we will embrace all of that along with the best of technology and you can see from the buzz around the show, the technology on show, in particular here at Alef, there are some incredible technology and innovations that have been brought to education that will improve children’s outcomes and that is the key.