I am just back from the European ATP conference, where more than 200 certification and assessment experts gathered to discuss learning and testing and its future. As always the common thread throughout all presentations and panel sessions was technology. From ‘Bring Your Own Device’ to student engagement via social media, technology excited the delegates but also made some nervous about change.
Vice-Chancellor of the Open University, Martin Bean, a personal friend and mentor for some 20 years, delivered a sensational presentation showing how his institution was moving with the times. From the Frozen Planet to iTunesU, the OU continues to lead the way both here and abroad. Our Group CEO Rona Fairhead (of the Financial Times Group, the division of Pearson I work for) shared the most thought-provoking of stories talking about the professions paradox. So many people, so few skills and demand continues to grow. We will stumble and fall if we don’t address the skills shortfall that faces all Europe.
I had just 20 minutes in my session to highlight how some of the tech-trends are weaving into education, especially through mobility and handheld devices, and as always, I finished on no small matter of ‘Tomorrow’s Talent.’ One of the key messages that connected many presentations was that we must nurture our next generation of talent and understand them on their terms. If we don’t, they will opt not to work for us, because as we encounter a thinning supply of skilled people and we operate in what I call a stock market of human resources, it will be the holders of those intellectual assets (not hardware or software but ‘brainware’) who will wield the most power. They will choose their employer or go it alone, and we will be left with the greatest technology and no people to make effective use of it.