Interview. This conversation originated from a mutual interest in discussing the future of education and is not a result of any financial arrangement. First published 03/11/2023 on www.sandkuhl.net
As we venture into the story with Duncan Glendinning, CEO of Treasury, he transports us to a calm morning in an imaginary 2030. Families across the globe wake up to a captivating headline “Sky-Schools: The Floating Campuses Bridging Continents!” The story unfolds a world where hovering schools above the clouds have dissolved geographical and socio-economic barriers. Powered by advanced quantum AI and synaptic blockchain technology in self-sustained buildings, these Sky-Schools are part of a global education initiative spurred by visionary projects like Academy. They embody inclusivity, where every child, working professionals as well as underprivileged adults irrespective of their background, learn in a personalized, immersive environment.
We envision a world where education transcends traditional boundaries, empowering individuals to flourish in a global learning ecosystem. By harnessing the power of blockchain and advanced technologies, we aim to deliver innovative tools and resources that foster financial literacy, promote secure transactions, and unlock boundless investment opportunities, Duncan says.
Our mission extends beyond just facilitating transactions; with our Academy program, amongst other initiatives, we aspire to be catalysts of educational evolution. We will be enabling learners and educators to thrive amidst a seamlessly interconnected, inclusive, and inspiring blockchain-empowered landscape. Through continuous innovation, we’re not merely navigating the present; we’re architecting a future where education is a shared journey of discovery, growth, and endless possibilities. Academy is the foundation into that direction.
Duncan explains how this dream was fueled by a worldwide acknowledgment of the need for change, a change ignited by the fusion of technology with ethical business practices. He describes the united effort of technologists, educators, legacy business, and policymakers who embraced the transformative potential of technology, crafting a new world where every child has the key to unlock their potential.
A year ago, Duncan continues, he faced one of the toughest moments in his life. He had to walk into his bakery, a place filled with over a decade of memories and hard work, to tell his team of 15+ staff that they were closing down for good. It was a bitter end to a chapter that Duncan and his team had dedicated their hearts and souls to and managed to keep afloat throughout the pandemic. The closure was not just a professional setback, but a personal one too. It was a time of reflection and coming to terms with challenges, including a struggle with alcohol.
This difficult time, however, also marked the beginning of a new journey. Duncan turned the page, seeking sobriety and a fresh start. His resilience led him to find new purpose and employment at a flour mill, a place that once supplied ingredients to his bakery. During this time, he also found a way to give back by becoming a volunteer firefighter, a role that allowed him to serve his community in a new way. Alongside, he also embarked on a venture with Treasury, channeling his experiences and newfound purpose towards creating visionary and innovative educational frameworks. His past trials have not just shaped his present but are also fueling his passion to contribute positively to a better tomorrow.
Generative AI: Tailored Learning Journeys
The charm of Generative AI, as Duncan articulates, isn’t just about its ability to assist in creating customized learning materials; it’s about nurturing a love for learning in every student. In this envisioned world, AI acts as a friendly tutor, understanding each student’s strengths and weaknesses, creating a roadmap of engaging and challenging tasks that ignite curiosity and passion for learning.
The magic grows as AI bridges the gap between textbook theories and real-world applications. He illustrates a scenario where students are not just reading about the laws of physics but are using AI-generated simulations to design roller coasters, experimenting and learning through a trial-and-error process that makes learning thrilling.
Duncan imagines a school where learning is an adventure, where every student is excited to see what challenges the next day brings, where education isn’t about memorization, but about exploration and discovery.
Blockchain and Tokens: Trust, Rewards, and Global Recognition in Learning
In a world where trust is paramount, blockchain emerges as the basis of a transparent and fair educational ecosystem. The Academy program, Duncan mentions, envisages a future where blockchain not only rewards learners with tokens but creates a universal platform of trust and recognition.
He shares a dream where learners’ achievements are securely and transparently recorded on a blockchain. Your skills and knowledge become digital badges, a significant evolution of today’s NFTs, recognized worldwide, opening doors to endless opportunities. Learn a new language, and a badge goes to your blockchain-based education passport, unlocking global job offers.
That vision extends to a global classroom where blockchain verifies your skills, allowing you to collaborate with peers worldwide on projects. Each project completion adds a unique badge to your digital portfolio. And this portfolio evolves to replace the traditional CV, accelerating and improving access to job opportunities.
Fresh Tech Trends: New Doors to Learning
In the realm of tomorrow’s education, an array of fresh technological trends are budding, each with the potential to redefine the contours of learning and teaching. Duncan, with a spark of enthusiasm, delves into some of these promising advancements.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
‘It’s about bringing the pages of a textbook to life,” Duncan says, as he highlights how VR and AR are far from being mere gaming gadgets. They are the keys to immersive learning landscapes. Imagine a history class where students can traverse through the busy streets of ancient Rome, or stand in the middle of the fervor of the American Revolution. He envisions a scenario where literature students can step into the peculiar village of Wessex as Hardy described it, feeling the rustic air and hearing the dialects, making the learning experience intuitive and vibrant.
Duncan also envisions AR helping in science labs where students could interact with complex molecular structures or explore the human anatomy in 3D, right from their classroom. It’s a voyage of discovery that cultivates a deep-seated understanding and appreciation of the subjects at hand.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The prospect of smart classrooms isn’t far off, Duncan points out. With the Internet of Things, every device and element in a classroom is interconnected, creating an environment that responds to the needs of students and teachers alike. He sketches a scene where the lighting and temperature adjust automatically to create the optimal learning environment, where smart boards understand the queries of students, offering real-time solutions, making the teaching process more engaging and interactive.
Moreover, he foresees IoT playing a significant role in ensuring the safety and well-being of students. Smart sensors will be monitoring the environment for any potential hazards, ensuring a secure learning experience.
Adaptive Learning Platforms
The essence of these platforms is personalization and inclusivity. They’re envisioned not merely as tools but as companions in the learning journey. Through intelligent algorithms, these platforms discern the learning pace and style of each student, offering tailored lessons that challenge yet do not overwhelm.
Duncan shares a vision where these platforms foster a close-knit community among learners, teachers, and parents. They provide real-time feedback, enabling educators to understand the progress of each student, allowing timely intervention when necessary. Parents too, are kept in the loop, fostering a supportive ecosystem for the learner.
In this unfolding narrative of technological innovation in education, Duncan sees a future packed with promise. Each of these trends, he believes, holds a fragment of the solution to the myriad challenges education faces today, propelling us a step closer towards an era where learning is a joy, a journey undertaken together in a world where the boundaries between the real and the digital blur, opening new horizons for the curious minds.
Innovation Pathways for EdTech Developers
The fusion of AI, blockchain, and fresh tech trends is a vast canvas for EdTech creators. Duncan envisions a realm where developers design tools that spark curiosity, foster global collaboration, and make learning a joyous journey.
He sees a world where education isn’t just about grades, but about nurturing a generation of thinkers, innovators, and dreamers. The tools created could potentially revolutionize education, ensuring these tools are safe, user-friendly, and accessible to all.
The imaginative headlines of 2030 sounded like a far dream to me. But the tech layers unfolding today, as Duncan Glendinning articulates, are paving the way for an exciting reality. The blend of AI, blockchain, and emerging tech trends is not just reshaping education; it’s crafting a world where learning is a thrilling adventure filled with endless possibilities.
For projects and educators keen on exploring this envisioned future, fostering collaborations with tech developers, initiating pilot projects, staying updated with emerging tech trends, and encouraging a culture of continuous learning and innovation could be the stepping stones towards making the headlines of 2030 a reality.
Duncan’s approach underscores a vital perspective for Treasury and Academy – the essence of focusing on the functional and business domains while synergizing with the right tech-savvy partners to drive the tech layers. “It’s about orchestrating a harmonious interplay between the visionary functional strategies and the robust technological underpinnings,” Duncan mentions. This approach enables Treasury and Academy to remain at the helm of educational innovation, steering the direction towards inclusivity and global learning ecosystems, while tech-partners ensure the seamless operation of the underlying technological frameworks.
This division of focus allows for a more nuanced and adept maneuvering through the complex landscape of modern education, ensuring that the core mission of elevating the educational experience remains undeterred amidst the rapid tech-evolutions. By aligning with adept tech-partners, Treasury and Academy can delve deeper into refining the business models, forging meaningful collaborations, and continuously enhancing the functional strategies to meet the evolving educational needs, setting a robust foundation for the envisioned future of 2030.