EnlightED: Reinventing Education in a Digital World

It wasn’t long ago that I heard about the EnlightED program taking place in Madrid this year. I thought ‘Wow, finally this country is taking education seriously’. I hadn’t felt that way many times before and having EnlightED as part of this year’s South Summit convention, which is the leading startup conference in Europe, has definitely confirmed the real concern that exists around the future of education in our country and the world. ‘Finally’, I thought again.

This program has focused on several aspects related to Education around the world, from corporate training and lifelong learning, to higher education, online learning or Schools and Youth. Apart from the conferences and super interesting talks, during these days, a Startup Competition happens where 100 startup finalists from all around the world are chosen and compete to be the winners in their area of expertise or category. Regarding education, which is my main interest as you might have realised already, 18 startups were chosen for the competition. Even though I haven’t met them all in person, I have looked into them and I have to say that I am very impressed! Thanks to these entrepreneurs that have risked a lot to get to where they are now, we have many new and different solutions to every day problems or solutions that make our lives and the lives of our little ones better and easier. Some of them include Lingokids, MenteLista, Cerebriti, myABCKit, Body Planet, Sense, or Cherpa. In the following picture, you can check them all out and read a brief description of what they do. I highly encourage you to do a little research on them if you are a person interested in Edtech! Some of them could help your school or organization.

To close this year’s South Summit event, a person I specially admire was invited to come in and share his point of view about the future of Education. In 2007, he gave the most viewed TEDtalk in the world, with approximately 54 million views, called ‘Do schools kill creativity?’. Even though he had been working in the education field for many many years before that, he didn’t really become that famous until his TEDtalk. Today I was very fortunate to be able to listen to Ken Robinson’s words in person for the second time in my life (next to a very good friend of mine), after Bett Show 2017 in London.

The main points he made this morning on how to revolutionize education from the ground up, focused on the many -and so varied- intelligences the human being has and the importance of helping each and every child discover and foster their own talents as passion changes everything’. Moreover, and related to his previous talks and famous TEDtalk, he mentioned how urgent it is for schools to adapt to childrenand not the children to schools, as it has been happening up to now; and forget about the 1 only -and lonely- curriculum fits them all, and work hard towards student-centered curriculums and personalized learning experiences.

In addition, he emphasized, as many other speakers today, the importance of teaching our future generations about valuessuch as kindness and compassion, and life skills that the future and the future workplaces will demand from them. For example, flexibility, communication skills, resilience, empathy, critical thinkingor teamworkhave been repeatedly heard during these 3 days. In Ken Robinson’s own words: ‘intelligence is so much more than the academic ability of a person.’ Schools should realise this and work on the development of these ‘other aspects’ of the person too, which, in my opinion, are more important than the academic abilities of a child.

Finally, he reminded everyone about the true aims of education: helping children understand the world around them and finding the talents within them so they can be fulfilled, happy and compassionate citizens. ‘The only way to look forward to our future and solve the cultural, social/environmental and economic problems our planet faces right now is through the development of our sense of compassion, collaboration and our capacities as human beings. That is the big mission for education; and it couldn’t be more urgent. We still won’t be able to predict the future, but we will have a future.’ Sir Ken Robinson. 

After these days, I guess and I hope that Spanish organisations, schools and everyone related to education in our country have understood the importance of it for our future and have become aware ofthe need for us to transform our system from the ground up, starting from our preschools, which is the wonderful challenge I look forward to now and that will soon become the -very exciting and adventurous- next chapter in my life.

I hope that this helps you reflect and that it is relevant for the ones of you that couldn’t make it today!


PS. Below, two of Ken Robinson’s books that can help you find your passion and talents in life or guide your school through a creative and necessary transformation: Creative Schools and The Element.

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