Small Badges, Big Impact: Promoting the Value of Micro Credentials

From CYPHER Learning:


Are you tired of the same old routine of traditional education? Well the good news is that the way we learn has changed and we live in a world where we can quickly learn new skills on the go, without having to commit to a full-blown degree programme. This type of learning is called micro-credentialing.


What is micro-credentialing? Simply put, it’s a way that students can comprehensively learn specific skills or knowledge in a short period of time, without going through the long-term commitment of a full degree programme. Micro-credentials can come in the form of badges, certificates, or even digital credentials, and they’re becoming increasingly popular in education.


In a study conducted by the University of California, Davis, teachers who earned microcredentials “showed statistically significant gains in student achievement compared to those who did not participate in micro credentialing programmes.” [1]


So why is this approach to learning so popular? Well, first of all, it’s convenient, effective, and cost-effective. Microcredentials allow students to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, and even in the comfort of their own home. Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or resources to enroll in a full degree programme. Additionally with skill sets and competency requirements changing so quickly, sometimes a full degree is not what is needed. Microcredentials can be the perfect way to reskill or upskill.


“According to a survey by the American Council on Education, 94% of employers believe that microcredentials demonstrate knowledge and skills that are relevant to their organisation.” [2]


Secondly, microcredentials are affordable and don’t require a long-term time commitment. Microcredentials are often much more affordable than traditional methods of education, making microcredential learning accessible to a wider range of individuals.


But the benefits of micro-credentialing don’t stop there. For students, microcredentials can help you stand out in a crowded job market, giving you a competitive edge over other candidates. For teachers, they can help you stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and technologies. And for administrators and organisations, they can help attract and retain top talent with specific skill sets, while also boosting overall productivity and efficiency. Let’s break down the benefits:


Benefits for Students:


– Visual proof of knowledge and skills


– Affordable and accessible


– Ability to upskill or reskill quickly


– Provides a sense of accomplishment


Benefits for Administrators:


– Better tracking and measuring of learning outcomes


– More targeted learning opportunities


– Improved data analysis and reporting


Benefits for Organisations:


– Encourages continuous learning and professional development


– Improved job performance and retention


– Supports talent development strategy


Although they are popular and  pack a big punch, there are skeptics who argue that micro-credentials in higher education aren’t as valuable as traditional degrees and that the value of micro-credentials isn’t clear to everyone in the same way. Additionally, organisations have varying degrees of confidence in the idea of micro- credentialing. Even though a candidate has a micro-credential, the employer may still want further validation of that experience, and may not be convinced.




Micro-credentials can be just as valuable as traditional degrees in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing job market, but to help students succeed, organisations and employers must embrace that micro-credentialing isn’t just a passing trend, but a valuable learning experience and earned competency worth investing in.


In a survey they did on micro credentialing, the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that “87% of employers believe that candidates with microcredentials are more well-prepared for the job market than those with only a traditional degree.” [3]


Still, many organisations must get past false assumptions that students aren’t committed enough to complete a full degree or that the shorter courses and programmes for micro-credentials don’t meet the high standards that we attribute to traditional degrees. Here are three ways to promote the value of micro-credentials:


Clearly communicate the value

Not everyone will understand the value and opportunity of micro-credentials so you need to create and share clear messaging outlining the curriculum, learning outcomes, programme length, instructor profiles, and other details. By communicating the level of difficulty, standards, and requirements, you can show both students and employers that the programme is worth investing in. Signed certificates and other types of formal documentation can make the programme appear more credible.

Build supportive messaging around the advantages of micro-credentials

Micro-credentialing is lifelong learning. Upskilling can be achieved with a reduced time investment. Maybe most importantly, the cost of micro-credentials supports equity and inclusion, and reduces learning barriers. With clear messaging, you can build confidence in micro-credentials that serve to corroborate that the student has the specific skills and knowledge required to be successful.


Partner up to improve the value of micro-credentials

Partner with employers to eliminate skills gaps and create credentials that meet specific industry needs. These partnerships are confidence builders for both employers and students and validate that micro-credentials are a worthy investment.


The truth is that most employers have a skills gap problem, and micro-credentials are the solution. They need skilled and knowledgeable workers from diverse backgrounds, and micro-credentials can address this need.


To learn more about micro-credentialing or to see what micro-credentialing looks like on a modern learning platform, go to


CYPHER Learning® is leading the necessary disruption of learning platforms to unleash human potential with modern learning experiences. We exist to ignite lifelong learning passions through personalised, engaging, and limitless learning experiences for all. We give learning and development (L&D) professionals and educators more time to teach and train, build human connection into everything we do, and deliver tailored learning experiences that are meaningful and measurable.




[1] EdSurge, “Microcredentials Could Be a Game-Changer for Teacher Professional Development”

[2] EdTech Magazine, “Microcredentialing in Education: What’s the Hype?”


Chatbots are here to stay


Paul Magnuson & Beth Dewhurst


It is impossible to keep up with the flood of blogs, podcasts, and scholarly articles about ChatGPT. Provocative article titles and opinions like The College Essay is Dead (Marche, 2022) and The End of High School English (Hermon, 2022) have helped drive current interest, as has the quick and easy access to test the chatbot oneself.


ChatGPT is amazing, producing decent, if formulaic, text quickly. Stephen Marche (Frankel, 2023) thinks the texts it produces are solid high school Bs, banal but formulaic like much of the writing required in high school. He also claims that the product of some other text generators may outperform ChatGPT, or will outperform ChatGPT as the technology advances. Whatever is best, however best be defined, will likely be eclipsed by newer versions that perform what they are designed for that much better. You get the picture. AI generated text is here to stay. What astounds us today is going to look a bit amateurish tomorrow.


Predictably, many early reactions to ChatGPT include fear and a tendency to exaggerate the possible impact AI written text will have on curriculum, instruction, and assessment (Kovanovic, 2022; Spencer, 2022). We are curious whether or not current plagiarism tools will be able to detect text written by chatbots (Mollenkamp, 2022) and, the technology being new, we are even asking if using a chatbot is plagiarism (Frankel, 2023). After all, it is not misrepresenting the writing of another person as one’s own.


If it’s true that “the product a student provides may no longer provide genuine evidence of their achievement of the course outcomes” (Kovanic, 2022), something has got to give. Many schools and districts will decide that the best approach is to block the technology, an approach taken by the New York City Education Department (Chalkbeat, 2023). This strikes us as unrealistic, however, since student access to technology extends far beyond the control of a school or district. “But banning ChatGPT is a bit like mandating abstinence-only sex education,” writes Sarah Dillard. “It may be well-intentioned, but it’s not going to be effective, and it’s certainly not going to prepare students for the real world” (2023).


Alternatively, our current educational practice may need to change and adapt. Perhaps chatbots are “exposing the essential problems with student writing and writing instruction in K-16 education” (Thomas, 2022). Thomas continues:


“If AI-generated writing can produce passages or even entire essays that meet the expectations of assignments in K-16 education, we shouldn’t be flailing our arms and racing around in Apocalyptic panic because that is a signal that the type of writing students are assigned and the writing they are taught to produce weren’t very good to begin with.”


How then do we propose to leverage chatbot technology for the good of instruction?


One suggestion is that teachers will “use ChatGPT essays as examples of mediocre writing that they’ll assign their students to edit and improve” (Coleman, 2022). Some form of this approach seems plausible, at least until the technology is no longer mediocre, and we would wager that the technology is already good enough to make distinguishing banal chatbot writing and formulaic student writing both time consuming and counterproductive. More realistic is perhaps to embrace the technology, meaning the use of “… AI tools to conduct subject-domain tasks should be part of the educational goals in the future. Education should focus on improving students’ creativity and critical thinking rather than general skills” (Zhai, 2022, p. 10).


Some pedagogical purposes might include using chatbots to generate discussion about themes, to develop argumentation, and to generate ideas in creative writing (Parker, 2022). Marche mentions a friend who is generating children’s stories in a foreign language that his child is learning, based on types of characters and storylines the child likes (Frankel, 2023). Instead of using school materials made for a general audience, this father is creating personalized materials. Perhaps that example hints at school materials of the future, how they are created, and how they support motivation and differentiation.


Thomas (2022) suggests that “a key way to encourage student engagement in writing and learning to write is to de-grade the writing process,” a sentiment echoed by Frankel (Frankel, 2022) and Zhai (2022), who suggests that “educators may have to consider innovative formats of assessments, particularly those that could carry out creativity and need critical thinking” (p. 10). Perhaps the ability of AI to write an essay will actually improve assessment, and therefore teaching?


Stephen Marche sees opportunity in AI created text. While the chatbot is trained in such a way that “answers can come across as natural-sounding and human-like,” Hurst (2022) feels that a tool like ChatGPT is currently best at “banal answers” (Frankel, 2023) and that humans are not likely to be replaced, nor will there be no need to teach writing. Banal writing, as he calls it, is unfortunately “how so much of our education is driven toward,” but here there is cause for optimism. If we need to teach what the chatbot cannot do, it is time then to change teaching and learning so that we are not focusing on banal writing. Paraphrasing what his son had to say about the chatbots influence on teachers and schools: Instead of teaching you how to write like a machine, they’re going to have to teach you to write like a human being.


At least for now.




Chalkbeat. (2023), January 6). Communications of the ATM. NYC Education Dept. Blocks Chatbot on School Devices, Network.,-By%20ChalkBeat&text=New%20York%20City%20students%20and,networks%2C%20agency%20officials%20confirmed%20Tuesday.


Coleman, C. (2022, December 19). Forbes. ChatGPT Gives Writing EdTech Its Moment.


Dillard,S. (2023, January 4). The 74. Schools Must Embrace the Learning Disruption of ChatGPT.


Frankel, B. (Host). (2022, December 12). How will AI Affect Education? Part 1 (No 89) [Audio podcast episode]. In Overthrowing Education.


Frankel, B. (Host). (2023, January 9). Stephen Marche: How will AI Affect Education? Part 2 (No 91) [Audio podcast episode]. In Overthrowing Education.


Hermon, D. (2022, December 9). The End of High School English. The Atlantic.


Hurst, L. (2022, December 15). ChatGPT: Why the Human-Like AI Chatbot Suddenly Has Everyone Talking.


Kovanovic, V. (2022, December 15). The Conversation. The Dawn of AI Has Come, and Its Implications for Education Couldn’t Be More Significant.


Marche, S. (2022, December 6). The Atlantic. The College Essay is Dead.


Mollenkamp, D. (2022, December 21). Can Anti-Plagiarism Tools Detect When AI Chatbots Write Student Essays?


Parker, K. (2022, December 8). ChatGPT Could Be Writing Students’ Homework. Tes Magazine.


Spencer, J. (2022, December 9). Human Skills in a World of Artificial Intelligence.


Thomas, P. L. (2022, December 15). It’s the End of Writing as We Know It, and I Feel Fine.


Zhai, X. (2022, December). ChatGPT User Experience: Implications for Education.


Paul Magnuson is the educational research director at Leysin American School. He is also an instructor at Moreland University and a frequent blogger for The International Educator. Paul consults in the areas of innovative teaching and learning, agility, out-of-the-box language instruction, and self-directed professional learning.


Beth Dewhurst serves as a faculty member and mentor in Moreland University‘s TEACH-NOW online K12 certification and master’s of educational technology programs. She is also a freelance ed tech consultant and recently contributed to EVERFI’s WordForce, a free literacy K2 adventure. In 2017, Beth was named Washington, D.C.’s State Teacher of the Year for her tech-based teaching and family engagement during her 15+ years as a DC Public Schools reading intervention educator. Her EdD in EdTech and current research explores how technology can connect learners, families, and educators for equitable learning access and literacy success.


The future of education is student-centered and personalised

Graham Glass, CEO

Education has undergone many changes in the past few years. The most significant is the shift from a teacher-oriented approach where educators are the main providers of learning materials to an environment where students take full ownership of their learning.


The role of technology will become increasingly important in the years to come. Both of these innovations can provide a student-centered approach and make learning personalised. Therefore, schools need to rethink their teaching methods to accommodate each student’s needs, interests, personal challenges, life experiences, and cultural identities to maximise learning outcomes and prepare them for future careers.


When designing learning materials, teachers need to listen closely to their students and follow the student-centered learning principles. Using technology, educators can present real-world problems, track competency progress, enable students to take ownership of their learning, and make learning available anytime and anywhere.


Student ownership of learning 


Student autonomy is essential no matter where learning takes place. It helps students find a balance between individual study and frontal instruction, collaboration and reflection, and formal evaluation and self-assessment. Additionally, autonomous learning boosts student confidence, logical thinking, problem-solving skills, and sense of independence.


Using a learning platform, teachers can support student ownership in the classroom and beyond.


For example, competency-based learning enables teachers to associate competencies with class content. For example, to progress to another class, students need to prove mastery of the Meteorology competencies and know the most important stages of a weather forecast.


Personalised learning paths are based on each student’s progress, are flexible as they can be adapted constantly, and require autonomy as each student has an individual path.


As learning platforms are getting smarter, they provide personalised learning recommendations.


Students find it easy to collaborate with one another in digital spaces through groups, chats, or discussion forums. Whenever they get stuck on an assignment or need some additional help, they can just message their classmates or teachers and get an answer immediately.


Greater flexibility and accessibility


Educational technology (edtech) personalises the learning journey while supporting your students’ individual needs by catering to various abilities and interests.


Technological advancements and many systems with built-in accessibility features such as text-to-speech, high contrast themes, or underlined links settings make learning more comfortable and inclusive for everyone.


Students can use their devices to access their learning materials and join live or recorded sessions by their teachers, or even attend watch parties. The greatest advantage is that students don’t have to be in the same location while engaging in these learning activities. For example, they can join a watch party from their homes, cafes, or parks. Since these are informal, students tend to engage more and express their opinions openly. Learning becomes flexible, making students engage more in their learning and get better results.


When considering student learning needs, it’s important to adopt learning solutions that come with the integrated offline mode. Students can continue learning seamlessly regardless of their internet connectivity. Students and teachers from rural areas can continue their education even when not connected to the internet.


Focus on relevant issues, not seat time 


One of the biggest concerns related to the educational system is that students are preparing for jobs that don’t exist yet. While multiple industries have changed over the years, the educational sector remains the same. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that all students become digitally literate by implementing edtech in classrooms. It’s also just as important to allow students to demonstrate an understanding of a subject using a variety of assignments that prove their 21st-century skills.


Students tend to be more motivated and engaged in classes that they find relevant. With the help of a learning platform, teachers can design classes based on their students’ interests and allow them to go through those materials at their own pace.


What’s more, teachers have more opportunities to create engaging content, use project-based learning, and even explore VR/AR to make lessons more relevant. For instance, project-based learning allows students to get out into the real world and explore issues related to their community. They get to understand the different aspects related to work areas such as business or local government and even find career pathways that they could explore in the future.


Instead of focusing on how many hours students spend each day preparing for a subject, teachers get an overview of the progress made in a lesson, group assignments, or forum postings.


Enable skill development 


Edtech enables students to improve their skills and prepare for future jobs. Modern learning platforms act like proactive assistants by providing personalized recommendations. For example, each student gets recommendations of classes and materials to check out or collaboration groups to join to improve their skills. In this way, they get a completely customised learning experience that’s more engaging and appealing.


Competency-based learning tracks student progress and provides a detailed view of how they understand certain concepts. This way, teachers can identify problem areas immediately and ensure that no student falls behind in their learning. These recommendations are based on previous performance.


For example, if a student gets an A on a quiz, they can also get a bonus recommendation from their teacher to watch a video or read an interesting article to enhance their skills. At the same time, if more students score below a certain level, the teacher can tweak the class content or provide additional materials which help better understand the concept.


Key takeaways


There is no denying that the future of education puts students at the center and provides personalised learning journeys. However, it’s difficult to orchestrate a student-centered approach following a hierarchical, top-down structure.


Edtech simplifies the transition and provides continuous assistance for teachers and students. Students should be given more opportunities to take ownership of their learning. It’s also important to personalise the learning experience according to each student’s individual needs and interests. Moreover, focusing on competencies means that students and teachers see progress in real-time and can adjust their strategies accordingly.


Additionally, with the help of personalized recommendations, students are more engaged in their learning, improve their skills, and achieve better results.



About the author



Graham Glass is the CEO of CYPHER LEARNING, an e-learning company that provides an intelligent learning platform empowering schools, businesses, and entrepreneurs worldwide to reimagine online education and deliver the best learning experiences. For more insightful articles on Edtech, visit the NEO Blog.




Cheong, V. A. P. B. M. S. (2021, March 7). Autonomous Learning as a Sustainable Approach to Learning – The Techducator.


Kaput, K. (2018). Evidence for Student-Centered Learning. Saint Paul, MN: Education Evolving.


University of Birmingham. (2022, February 15). Lecture Watch Parties: Creating Community and Maximising Learning Opportunity- MicroCPD.


Stauffer, B. (2022, January 10). What are 21st century skills? AES Education.

Upskilling, Reskilling and Newskilling Teachers for the Metaverse of Future Education

Eleni Armaou, Student Oriented Services (SOS) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Coordinator
Metropolitan School of Frankfurt

Transferable concepts from the MIT Sloan and HBR World of Business


Last month, as every month, I indulged myself in reading the HBR and MIT Sloan Management, which apart from strictly and purely business journals, are really incubators of culture organisation ideas, concepts and deep market, finance, business related research.


Education, business world and society do not operate in silos: we are directly and increasingly connected with business research and business ideas that got in motion exempli gratia, Amazon, the Facebook Metaverse, social media trends, all those developments are influencing our lives as citizens, netizens ( online citizens), parents and teachers.We have, therefore, the opportunity and the duty to explore, know and eventually control ( to the extent possible) the developments in the educational metaverse which will be here sooner or later.


Where do we start from? We prepare ourselves, by reading, researching and most crucially, upskilling: supercharging our skills from the fundamental direct instructional tools and skill sets to more future related skills which will become sine qua non skills in the future ( either metaverselly or not).


MIT Sloan Management Review and Professor Katherine C. Kellogg in her article (2021) Workplace Hierarchies Matter in Skill Transformation argue that there are three (3) main types of upskilling initiatives: Upskilling, Reskilling and Newskilling. Let us look at their business definition.




Professor Kellogg defines it as “initiatives that target employees who need additional technical training to remain relevant and continue to deliver value. Leaders can personalise learning for these employees by providing peer-to-peer training in new technologies and related work processes”.

For educators, upskilling would mean, for example, peer learning walk-ins in classrooms, peer discussion for conflict resolution with specific conflict resolution protocols, direct instruction videos reviewing and roundtables for tech in education.

In the world of learning support and inclusive education, this becomes particularly important as schools have to build effective and research -based RTI Systems ( Response to Intervention ) in order to manage Student Referrals, either for social, behavioural, counselling and mental health issues or for learning problems. RTI protocols in schools are vital and skills related to RTi are crucial: learn how to use a learning intervention with:

1. Effectiveness

2. Fidelity

3. Validity

MTSS systems ( Multi-Tiered Support Systems) are primarily based on very good skill building of educators who need to have a range of skills, from investigation skills ( e.g. what is the learning problem? Or what is the system’s problem in this case? ) to deep self-assessment strategies.




‘’As AI-Artificial intelligence analytics and technology and Robotics automate many existing jobs, the workers who formerly did those jobs will need to LEARN entirely new skills rather than merely add to their current skill sets’’ notes Prof. Kellogg. Let us imagine educators and students in a metaverse classroom: what new classroom management skills will be crucial? How do we handle and remediate cyberbullying and what justice restorative strategies we have to use? What mental health issues should we anticipate in a metaversed classroom ? And how do we prepare for them? The answer is research, reskilling and self-assessment.

A future-ready school with future-ready educators calls for skills, in the areas of:

1. IT and coding ( for ICT Teachers)

2. Metaverse social patterns, behaviours and Psychology of the metaverse netizens (for all teachers)

3. Mitigating Cyber Bullying Skills ( for pastoral care officers and school counsellors)

4. Knowledge and skills on how to support in mental health crisis ( egain for support staff and school counsellors)

We have not fully grasped what a METAVERSED school environment will look like and feel like and frankly, it is much better and will prove more effective, if we prepare ourselves. Society was not, and to a large extent still is not, ready for the consequences of social media ( think of Tik Tok trends, Facebook and so forth) on mental health of adults and teenagers alike.




‘’When corporate leaders adopt new technologies that automate various kinds of work, some jobs and tasks are eliminated while others emerge. Many new roles involve technologies that require considerable work to develop, implement, maintain, and change over time’’.

Change in school culture is required and, as in organisational culture -related research, it means addressing underlying beliefs, artefacts ( mission statements) and instructional behavioural elements of educators.

Change on how you accept change is also another equally fundamental newskilling aspect of educators, parents and students.

Equally importantly, if not more, we need to support teachers in any potential mental health difficulties they face, in our rapidly changing world. Our times are similar to medieval times, as we are between an old world and moving to the A New one. As in all historical phases, our times are brimming with signs of things and concepts to be born. As we are waiting, we should also prepare with resilience, perseverance and future-related training, while passing the threshold of conviction that continuous research and training will make us, if not better educators, at least, prepared.

Eleni Armaou studied Psychology, Pedagogy and Philosophy ( major in Educational Psychology) and holds a MA in Special Educational Needs from the University of Leeds, UK. She has worked in IB Schools in Istanbul, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt and is now the SOS, ALN and Counselling Coordinator and Secondary CPO, at the Metropolitan School of Frankfurt, in Germany. Eleni is passionate about AI, Robotics, Space Travel, Quantum Physics as well as Human Psychology, Inclusive Education, Leadership and Management Studies, Negotiation Skills, CRISIS Management and Conflict Resolution.

She is a Member of ECIS SEN/Learning Support SIG and content creator for the LS/SEN SIG page. Website: special education and inclusive education

Student Oriented Services ( SOS) and Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Coordinator, Metropolitan School of Frankfurt


References and Sources:


1. Image Source:


2. Katherine Kellogg (2021) Workplace Hierarchies Matter in Skill Transformation. MIT Sloan Management Review Journal


3. The Future-Proof Organisation Harvard Business Review Journal -September/October 2021


What do you think about the points raised in this post? We’d love to have your thoughts below.




Eleni Armaou studied Psychology, Pedagogy and Philosophy ( major in Educational Psychology) and holds a MA in Special Educational Needs from the University of Leeds, UK. She has worked in IB Schools in Istanbul, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt and is now the SOS, ALN and Counselling Coordinator and Secondary CPO, at the Metropolitan School of Frankfurt, in Germany.

Eleni is passionate about AI, Robotics, Space Travel, Quantum Physics as well as Human Psychology, Inclusive Education, Leadership and Management Studies, Negotiation Skills, CRISIS Management and Conflict Resolution.

She is a Member of ECIS SEN/Learning Support SIG and content creator for the LS/SEN SIG page.

Website: special education and inclusive education

Student Oriented Services ( SOS) and Additional Learning Needs

(ALN) Coordinator, Metropolitan School of Frankfurt

She is a Member of ECIS SEN/Learning Support SIG. Visit the website here.


Artificial Intelligence in Education: The Big Picture



The big picture – Ai evolution in context

AI didn’t come into existence out of the blue. It will also not disappear all of a sudden. It is the natural evolution of progress – it is the next stage in the industrial revolution.


The first Industrial Revolution happened between 1750-1870 (120 years). The most notable invention during the period was the steam engine. Main characteristics : mechanization, birth of industry, agriculture to be replaced as main economic activity.


The second Industrial Revolution took place between 1870-1950 (80 years). The most notable invention was the automobile. Main characteristics : basic technological advancements – electricity (gas/oil), steel, chemicals, telegraph / telephone.


The 3rd Industrial Revolution happened between 1950-2000 (50 years). The most notable invention during the period was the computers. Main characteristics : more technological advancements – industrial robots, electronics, telecommunications, nuclear energy.


The 4th Industrial Revolution takes place as we speak. It started in 2000. Nobody knows how long it will last, but the cycles of each stage are shorter and shorter. 120-80-50 years… Most likely this stage will last less than 50 years. The most notable invention during the current period is the internet. Main characteristics : emphasis on digitization – powerful computers, virtual reality.


The 5th Industrial Revolution will follow naturally. The most notable invention will be Artificial Intelligence. AI/ML will become widespread and a part of everyday life on so many levels, we can’t even imagine today. The only question is when will this new era start, if it hasn’t started already…



AI is a new phase in progress – probably the next industrial revolution


Industrial robots meant progress by increasing productivity in factories – blue collar workers, performing easy, repetitive tasks were replaced by machines / robots. AI technology means progress by replacing more complex jobs which require human capabilities such as : understanding, reasoning, planning, communication, perception. But this does not mean humans are in danger! This means humans can now focus on more creative tasks which can’t be performed by computers/robots/AI.


AI needs data to work. Data can be acquired by feeding it into the AI system (file import), by integrating the AI with other software or by the AI system itself when it interacts with the world (e.g. visual perception or speech recognition). Once the AI has data, it can perform various intelligent actions mentioned above (planning, perception, etc). AI systems assess the available information and then take the most sensible action to achieve a stated goal (e.g. planning a trip from San Francisco to New York).


Progress means that inevitably the jobs which require only the 5 capabilities mentioned above will be lost to automation. Are schools still preparing students for soon-to-be-obsolete jobs ? As mentioned in the first article, later down the road in our series of articles on AI in education we will focus on how students can prevent preparing themselves for jobs which are very likely to be lost to automation by the time they will retire from the workforce. This will reduce the need for professional reconversion later in life and will avoid various emotional situations associated with unemployment.



This article is provided by HEDKY-AI – Linking courses to careers. More than 90% of students using HEDKY-AI choose the right career – according to their talents. HEDKY-AI monitors student skill development from age 3 to graduation and beyond. Using HEDKY-AI’s “Skill passport”, teachers, schools and parents can see very early in a student’s life towards which type of career they are heading to, according to their choices and results in curricular courses and extracurricular activities. If they head towards a job which is likely to be lost by automation, parents would most likely want to know this as early as possible in order to change their career goal.


To learn more about HEDKY-AI, please visit or get in touch with us by email at hedky(at)


Artificial Intelligence in Education

Alex Canariov


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is definitely the buzz word today. It is quite widely spread and it’s included in a variety of software applications which we take for granted.


The Corona pandemic brought software in general to anyone’s attention all over the world. Across many economic sectors, including education, everyone is by now an expert in using virtual meeting software, such as Zoom, MS Teams or Google Meet. This Covid-19 crisis will also accelerate the pace the AI technology is to be introduced in the software we are using daily.


In education in particular, the use of technology proved to be even more vital, as during lockdowns online teaching was the only option to keep on providing education to our children. At the moment, the pandemic seems to be under control as vaccination rates are rising and the summer weather sets in in Europe. Nobody can tell for sure though if this one-in-a-generation crisis is definitely behind us. It might very well be the case that new lockdowns might be again imposed on us once the cold weather returns and numerous new variants of the virus emerge in different corners of the world.


Nevertheless, technology is here to help. It will even take us further and improve our lives as teachers, parents and students. I am talking of course about AI – the next step in how technology is to be used in education.


We are now starting a series of articles on the topic “AI in Education” with the aim to introduce the fascinating world of AI to school staff. Over the course of these articles, we will be covering subjects like AI Trends in Education, AI used as Career Assessment Tool, Types of Jobs AI will / will not take over by 2050 and which Skills will still be relevant in the future and which will become obsolete.


What is AI ?


As we plan to dive into the topic of “AI in Education”, we should first know what AI really is. In fact, it is not very easy to explain, as even AI data scientists have a hard time defining it, but in a nutshell we can say that AI is a computer system designed to simulate the human intellect. It is basically a fancy piece of software which performs various tasks only done by humans until very recently. Some basic examples of AI software are face recognition, text autocorrect or chatbots. AI technology is incorporated in very familiar software applications we use daily, such as web search (Google), digital assistants (Siri, Alexa), all social media news feeds, Google/Apple Maps or in consumer electronics products such as vacuum cleaners (e.g. Roomba). More complex AI examples include manufacturing robots, self-driving cars, virtual travel booking agents or automated financial investing.



The advantage is that now humans do not waste valuable time with boring, time consuming routine tasks and we can focus on more creative tasks, which require human interaction – in our case, teachers and school staff can focus more on education.

This is a unique opportunity to spend our working time creating more meaningful things. The evolution of AI does not mean humans will be out of work and doomed to starve to death. The Hollywood image of machines taking over and raging war against humans is, well, just that – a Hollywood interpretation of various scientific facts, portrayed in such a way to generate box office sales. AI technology currently is very far from being able to behave like Terminator. And I mean very, very far away – as in centuries. We can’t even say for sure at the moment that AI will ever be able to go past the “singularity” moment and become self-aware and start thinking on its own. So, rest assured, AI will not attack you, your children and not even your grand-grand children.


The main “threat” posed by AI is replacing humans in performing various tasks. Yes, some jobs will be lost to automation, but other types of jobs will be created to replace the obsolete ones. This is how progress works.

In education though, people should not worry as the teacher / educator jobs are among the less likely to be lost to automation. Jobs such as accountant, telemarketer or courier are among those most likely to be done by AI by 2050.

We will dive deeper into the automation risk and how can students today avoid them later in our series of articles.


In our next article we will focus on how AI came into existence as a natural next step in evolution in terms of progress and industrial revolution.


This article is provided by HEDKY-AI – Linking courses to careers. More than 90% of students using HEDKY-AI choose the right career – according to their talents. HEDKY-AI monitors student skill development from age 3 to graduation and beyond.


Using HEDKY-AI’s “Skill passport”, teachers, schools and parents can see very early in a student’s life towards which type of career they are heading to, according to their choices and results in curricular courses and extracurricular activities. If they head towards a job which is likely to be lost by automation, parents would most likely want to know this as early as possible in order to change their career goal.


To learn more about HEDKY-AI, please visit or get in touch with us by email at






Alex Canariov is a former teacher in the international school system, currently CEO at HEDKY-AI. Alex obtained an MBA degree from Germany’s oldest business school – HHL (Handelshochschule Leipzig) and has been involved in business consulting projects since 2001 and in software projects since 2007.


How will schools diversify, innovate, and evolve in the future?

Paul Montague, International Digital Learning and Curriculum Manager, Edmentum


How will schools diversify, innovate, and evolve in the future?


Educational provision has been forced to evolve during the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools have adapted and adjusted to the significant challenges of maintaining health and safety, ensuring education continuity, and providing social and emotional learning and wellbeing support. Every school is unique, and each has responded differently. This unexpected, unplanned, and rapid transition to remote learning with little preparation, training, and in many cases, access issues created problems for governments, states, schools, teachers, students, and parents to resolve. Transitioning from face-to-face to remote teaching in the space of a week was a remarkable achievement but is certainly not an ideal way to develop new online teaching pedagogy.


Many experts have differing views on how schools will, and should, emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. All would agree that it has been a catalyst for change and a disservice to our learners worldwide should we return to ‘normal’ without evaluating how EdTech can be used to complement, enrich, and enhance education. In an article for online magazine, Quartz, Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s director of education, commented: “All the red tape that keeps things away is gone and people are looking for solutions that in the past they did not want to see… Real change takes place in deep crisis… You will not stop the momentum that will build.” Speaking during his 2012 TED Talks discussion, he also stated, “Education is not a place; it’s an activity.” So theoretically, it can be delivered anytime, anywhere.


What will we learn from this great global remote learning experiment? We have an opportunity to develop an educational approach that will finally service our learners’ needs and strengths. It is an opportunity for education systems worldwide to reimagine learning to meet the 21st-century learner and workplace needs.


I have had the pleasure of supporting hundreds of international schools while providing planning and consultation meetings. I have watched in awe as bespoke solutions have been adopted and thousands of teachers have adapted and innovated using different combinations of our programs. With their skill, energy, and enthusiasm, educators have continued to engage students in learning as they adapt to new pedagogies, processes, systems, and technologies.


Education technology has had a positive impact on teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its effectiveness has varied by age group, and there is a consensus that online education for the oldest learners has been particularly beneficial. Many schools had already begun integrating technology and developing their own blended learning model, but what impact have EdTech solutions made during Covid-19?


The most successful solutions have common characteristics, which include: facilitating personalized learning underpinned by science, being pedagogically appropriate and aligned to curriculum standards, including elements of instruction (teaching). Progress checks and real-time formative feedback for both students and teachers driven by adaptive technology and the automatic creation of grade and mark books are also essential. A customization tool that enables teachers to add content, functions that reduce the administrative burden on teachers, and the offer of a range of lenses so that other decision-makers within the school can make informed decisions that lead to improvements in teaching and learning need to be incorporated.


My most recent consultations have been focused primarily on evaluating the impact of our solutions, discussing both credit and learning recovery options, and planning education provision for a potentially less-Covid-19 affected new school year in September 2021.


Credit and learning recovery continue to be significant issues that schools are seeking solutions for. Our online teachers can specifically focus on credit recovery by providing a digital curriculum while the school’s staff delivers on-grade-level teaching and learning. This is a powerful partnership that enables the students to recover quickly and protects their in-school teachers’ wellbeing. Some schools are already looking to develop bespoke online spring break and summer schools utilizing our teachers to provide targeted support for their learners.


I am currently working with governments to help their students recover learning and skills by embedding Exact Path. This solution identifies learning gaps, personalizes learning, and provides instruction, practice, and mastery opportunities that adapt to the student while continually feeding back progress and attainment data to teachers. One government is combining Exact Path with FEV Tutor, a personalized one-to-one tutoring service. Our partnership with FEV Tutor means we now have an on-demand tutoring service that can support students 24/7, ensuring engagement is maintained, and motivation increases as they experience more success and improve grades.


What lessons have we learned, and what will, could, and should school look like in the future? Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai, sees, according to The National News, an opportunity for there to be a significant evolution in the way education is provided. Dr. Abdulla envisages that “In the future, there will be as many models of education as there are pupils with a possibility that children could attend several schools at the same time as a shift to remote learning helps usher in a new flexible era of teaching,” Education in Dubai is primarily provided by the private sector and is home to some of the biggest brand names in education. Fierce competition between providers drives innovation and change in Dubai. Schools will respond to new opportunities and create new business models to meet parents’ and students’ changing demands and expectations.


Some international school groups, such as the Inspired Group, have already developed their own online school (King’s College, which is being offered to parents at a different, reduced price point to their physical schools). Theoretically, children could enroll in this school from anywhere in the world. Does this suggest that provision will go even further and enable students to take math in one school, English in another, and science in another while attending a physical school for elective, technical, or option courses?


Our priority at Edmentum is designing learning solutions that help educators become more effective and enable students to learn wherever teaching is taking place. We are perfectly placed to support American curriculum schools as they embark on their journey toward inclusive and personalized learning and are already partnering with schools and educators to provide personalized education models. Our Cognia accredited online school partners with existing schools to offer additional courses, provide credit recovery, and Advanced Placement courses. We also have standards-aligned digital curriculum that supports schools to deliver online, face-to-face, distance, and hybrid learning. This digital curriculum is rapidly replacing traditional textbooks and contains all the learning content a student would require. It has built-in assessments and is customizable, enabling teachers to combine material from different courses or grade levels. Exact Path, which is well known worldwide, is a supplementary adaptive tool that supports math, reading, and language arts development. Our partnership with BASE Education provides digital social-emotional and wellbeing courses. Our partnership with FEV Tutor means that any of our solutions can be supported by additional on-demand tutors 24/7.


Our partnerships with schools add flexibility to their education provision by providing age-appropriate solutions driven by adaptive technology and underpinned by learning science. We support schools to build a truly personalized provision around each learner that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Teachers are, and will always be, critical to education. Their role may change as they become facilitators of learning, but technology will never replace them. Similarly, Daisy Christolodou (2020), in her book, “Teachers vs. Tech,” points out that “a top teacher knows when, how and why to use each of their tools and techniques and can effectively implement them in different situations and with different students.” To do this, she says, “they combine science (from educational, psychological, and organizational sciences) with art and creativity to produce learning situations that are effective, efficient, and enjoyable for their students and themselves.” Technology will certainly allow teachers to become more effective by relieving some of the planning, administration, and assessment burden, enabling them to focus their skills on improving the quality of learning that is taking place.

Please join me and my colleagues at the ECIS Leadership Conference where we have a session to evaluate the best practice that has developed in international schools over the last year and considering new innovative approaches to both school provision and learning.


What do you think about the points raised in this article? We’d love to hear your feedback.



Paul Montague, International Digital Learning and Curriculum Manager, Edmentum







About Paul Montague

As International Digital Learning and Curriculum Manager, I partner with schools worldwide as they introduce Edmentum’s curriculum and learning solutions in their school. We put educators at the centre of everything we do and work with schools to improve digital teaching and learning opportunities.

I am an experienced education professional who has worked with governments, school groups, and individual schools. The focus of my conversations is always school improvement. I have extensive experience of international schools and the UK education system and regularly speak at international conferences and write thought pieces for educational journals.


20 Legitimate Work From Home Companies Hiring Now

About Edmentum

Edmentum is a leading curriculum and assessment company, putting educators at the heart of everything they do. Providing award-winning solutions that support educators and students aged K-12, it’s used across 80 countries, offering schools, school groups and governments the addition of hybrid, blended and distance learning solutions.

Edmentum’s commitment is to make it easier for educators to individualize learning for students using simple technology, actionable data, quality content, and a passion for customer success, redefining the 21st-century classroom. Learn more.


What is Agile?

Paul Magnuson, Director of Educational Research, Leysin American School.


What is Agile?

ECIS and several partners recently launched the Agile Research Consortium for Schools, or ARC.

Agile is relatively new on the educational scene. If you as an educator are not familiar, you are in the majority. Its origins are in the software industry, where it was needed, according to Steve Peha (listen to his podcast on Future Learning Design), to handle the large and expensive projects developers were working on in order to avoid wasting a lot of money.


References to agile as a set of principles and practices in education began showing up in the literature around 2005, mostly in courses and disciplines related to computer programming. This makes sense, of course, since agile was making a name for itself within that particular domain.


It didn’t take long, however, for agile to spread further, with early references and calls for its application in schools. (See Steve Peha again, this time in a 2011 Youtube video filmed at Yahoo.) Peha, speaking at the time ten years after the adoption of the failed US federal education law called NCLB, makes the point that it might be technology, not centralized testing programs, that save education … just not the way we might think.


Don’t wait for the next best app or technological fix for education, Peha was suggesting, but do consider learning more about how tech companies are working. In other words, learn about agile. In 2021, that might mean learning more about the way the folks at Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Tesla are working. Jeff Sutherland, speaking at a Boston University (BU) Agile Innovation Lab conference last fall (BU is one of the ECIS partners guiding ARC), put it like this: Companies that don’t work agilely aren’t going to be able to compete, period. Might it be the same for schools? Sutherland, by the way, knows a thing or two about agility. He co-created Scrum, one of agility’s best-known formulations.


Lots of folks in education do think we need agility – or agile values and an agile mindset – in school. Beginning with John Miller around the time Peha spoke to the folks at Yahoo and continuing with Willy Wijnands and others, the agile mindset as a guide for education has gotten more and more attention. Wijnands, for example, adapted Sutherland’s Scrum for his high school chemistry class. Less than ten years later, eduScrum has organizations in over 30 countries, with a host of trainers and workshops and model projects in schools.


Those who have already adopted elements of agile in the classroom are not surprised by its growth at all. Any system and manner of thinking that is about increasing student agency, sharing the management of learning, focusing on short iterations, and delivering frequent low stakes feedback is welcome in our schools. In fact, as I’ve met and interviewed people working with agile, it’s common to hear of its transformative power. People who have adopted agile approaches report that their personal lives changed and their way of thinking about work and colleagues changed. This quote, paraphrased, comes up so often it cannot be a fluke: “After adopting an agile mindset, I could never go back to working how I used to.”


But there are still far more anecdotes of success using agile in education than there is research. ARC would like to address this lack. The co-founding organizations of ARC hope to organize existing research and contribute their own as we learn more about agile and how it works as a mindset for educators and students. We would like to know if agile stands a chance of offering a significant and sustainable contribution to school reform.


We hope the website raises interest in agility for those of you new to it and that it is useful to current agile practitioners who are continuing to “inspect and adapt,” as agilists say, as they find their way forward. Everyone is invited to contribute resources and research; see the link on the site:


Want to find more stories of agile in the classroom? Read Spotlight, a publication of Leysin American School, and visit Agile in the Alps, Blueprint Education, EDgility, and the resources mentioned in the text. 


Paul Magnuson is a founding member of ARC. He and colleague James Costain will be presenting at the April ECIS Leadership Conference on pulling agile into education.

What do you think about the points raised in this article? We’d love to hear your feedback.


Paul Magnuson is the director of Educational Research at Leysin American School and adjunct faculty for the International Education Program of Endicott College. His interests include student agency and self-regulated learning for students and teachers.

Building the pathway to inclusion

Patrick McGrath, Education Technology Strategist, Texthelp

Building the pathway to inclusion

If there’s one thing we can say with confidence this year, it’s that education has become increasingly dependent on technology for teaching and learning. As learning evolves, we are finding new ways to engage, motivate, assess and teach students. We’ve jumped headfirst into tools like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams. We’ve suddenly found ourselves in live video lessons and discovering the power of polls and analytics. We’ve struggled too – from the repetitive cry of ‘unmute’ through reducing distractions to figuring out how best to support differentiation when technology is an increasing portion of learning time. But, no matter how the ‘where’ of learning occurs in the coming months and years, we know that technology will continue to become increasingly central to all that we do. Why? Because with all the challenges we can see the upsides. We see new opportunities for engagement and for helping our students express their learning. It’s about the balance of putting teaching and learning first and skillfully using technology to underpin solid pedagogical strategies.

There’s a second thing though. The diversity of the students we teach stays the same – everyone with a differing approach to learning, and many requiring additional help and support to ensure that they continue to receive equity of access and stay included. For most students, as teachers, we only ever see the tip of the iceberg – the 10% of everything that contributes to our students being who they are. We don’t see the impact or challenges of home life, challenges around language or their mental health and wellbeing, and this is never more apparent than when students learn remotely.

Consider individual needs – statistics show that on average, around 5% of our class is identified and supported as being Dyslexic, yet the stark reality is that on average 17% of all students struggle with Dyslexia. The move to technology can not and must not forget this, and it behoves us as educators to ensure that the tools and supports that were in place inside our classrooms continue to be planned for and provided, wherever learning occurs. We need to rethink our notion of diversity and we need to start to redefine what it means to be inclusive, and how technology can reach and support every student.

Diversity stretches across language, culture, ethnicity and individual needs. It must, though, also include respect of the fact that research shows us that our students have an almost infinite path to learning. It’s their very differences that make them unique. Technology is inherently flexible, and when used well can and does support students in enabling a personalised, tailored approach to learning that can support this uniqueness. We all need to make a start, but how?

As, always, it starts with learning. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework is based upon the simple tenet of universal design – it’s aim is to make learning accessible to all by recognising that each and every student is unique and the learning community they are in is truly diverse. It seeks to encourage the provision of pathways for educators to adopt basic, practical approaches to designing learning from the outset, by focusing on designing learning for the margins and not the centre-ground of the student experience. In doing so, it postulates that we can reach every learner in an almost endless variety of ways that are personal to them.

We can start to embrace UDL by rethinking how we approach learning. Instead of objectives, we can focus on goals. Why? Think of it like skiing. Head to the top of any slope and there is one simple goal – get to the bottom. Every slope has its map providing alternate routes to reach that goal – at various levels of challenge and difficulty. As a skier, you take the route that works best for you or choose to stretch and challenge yourself with the more difficult path to your goal than the last time you tried. If we move to goal-orientated strategies, we open up the paths to our diverse learners to reach their goal in a multitude of ways.

The key then is to create these paths, and this can be achieved in many ways – not least of which today is through the effective application and use of technology tools. Once integrated into learning design and technology platforms, these tools can be used by everyone to ensure content, knowledge, expression and understanding is available in countless, unique ways across digital platforms and devices. As an example, tools like text-to-speech provides students with specific needs a way to support comprehension and understanding but also support high achieving students to prepare for effective answering for exams. Simple forms provide a quick way to monitor progress and understanding or provide fast, effective feedback for every student. Providing the right range of technology tools delivers multiple paths to engagement and expression, and in turn, expands accessibility for all students.

To embrace the opportunity before us, we have to be more deliberate, more flexible, provide more opportunities and take more risks. We need to endeavour to remove more barriers by shifting our focus to providing the widest range of tools and paths to learning if we are to support every student.

The technology journey ahead will give us the ability to innovate, to engage with and to support students like never before. If we embrace it, the result is that every learning experience can be representative of, and tailored to, the individual.

The goal is inclusive education, wherever learning occurs. It’s time to build the pathways to achieve it.


What do you think about the points raised in this article? Please share your thoughts below.



Resident Education Technology Strategist at Texthelp, Patrick is a passionate educator, and an accomplished international speaker, panellist, blogger and contributor across a wide range of media. His content is engaging, inspiring and motivating – focused on how technology can make a real and meaningful impact on teaching and learning for all. An Apple Education Mentor and Google Certified Educator, Patrick received the UK Digital Leader 100 award and was appointed an Honorary Fellow of the University of Ulster (School of Education) in 2016. His specialisms include literacy, inclusion, assessment educational vision, leadership, and change management.