Two years post-covid, in the city of gold, South Africa, on the 9th of June 2022. Two companies launched a call for collaboration. People were delighted to meet and engage face-to-face for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, and the excitement was tangible! The purpose of the event? To “curate educational experiences together.” Eiffel Corp and AWS set out to engage with the higher education sector on where we are post-covid in terms of technology, digital learning and what the institution of the future should look like. It was a learning experience, with guest speakers sharing their views on where education is heading while aligning the vision of Eiffel Corp and AWS with the people, processes and technologies of our institutions.
Highlights from the Past Two Years
Opening the day was speaker Stefan du Plessis, our very own Chief Commercial Officer. He touched on what we have been up to for the past three years while also giving the direction of where we’re headed in the future. He shared that we at Eiffel Corp, “are proud of the impact we make in Africa and being recognised for it pushes us to work harder and strive to achieve more.” It was also a great honour to share that we are the first and the only South African EdTech company that has earned the AWS Qualified Software recognition for our Digikamva LMS. This came after successfully completing the AWS Well-Architected Review of our LMS. Here is a little snippet of what we have been up to:
Growth with Strategic Partners and Solutions:
Together we help solve challenges within the education sector:
- Turnitin – More than 80 new institutions across 15 African countries. We also received the Partner of the Year award 2021.
- Staffroom – Supported more than 90 schools in South Africa to manage their school administration completely remotely.
- The Invigilator – A new partnership offering support to 15 new institutions, boasting more than 350 000 users, mitigating the risk of dishonesty during assessments.
We received numerous awards, recognising our work. Here are a few:
- BEST ELEARNING CONSULTANCY FIRM IN AFRICA 2020/21
- MOST INNOVATIVE HIGHER EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY OF 2020 /21
- BEST EDUCATION SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS PROVIDER – SOUTH AFRICA 2022
- STEVIE AWARDS BRONZE – TECHNICAL INNOVATION OF THE YEAR 2021
Being a strategic solution partner in education, we were keen to learn about the current and future needs of the educational sector. We will strive to continue helping our clients achieve sustainability and success, and most importantly, enabling greater access to meaningful education through all we do.
The event also launched Eiffel Corp’s partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs to individuals, companies and governments. AWS partners with organisations within the education sector with the mission to accelerate the digital transformation of education. To achieve this, AWS collaborates with the full education community, including learners, educators, administrators, and researchers. Cloud is a crucial enabler to effectively compete and excel in an era of vast opportunities and innovation. This is a crucial component of the institution of the future, which was also a focal point during the event.
The Institution of the Future
“Given the state of the world, the unprecedented set of challenges before us as well as the breakneck speed of change we are now so used to, the future is almost unfathomable.” Myles Thies – Director of Digital Learning Services at Eiffel Corp. Using some familiar analogies and established trends, Myles presented and discussed some of the most pressing issues of the day from social and political to environmental and technological. He further shed some light on how higher education can create adaptive means to respond to those challenges. He also discussed the opportunities that lie ahead for universities and how they can maintain their status as a centre of learning excellence, innovation, research, critical social development and most importantly, the champion of reason, inquiry and philosophical receptiveness.
The Panel Discussion
Our panel discussion themed, Life After Covid at Higher Education Institutions, was facilitated by Myles Thies, with Dr Gerrit Wissing from the University of the Witwatersrand, Linda Siso from Amazon Web Services and Luci Carosin from the University of the Witwatersrand weighing in on the conversation. The discussion highlighted the importance of technology in education. ‘’It takes a crisis to get a reaction.’’ In response to the pandemic, the use of technology increased, and execution had to take place immediately. The discussion continued to how their institution handled the immediate shift to remote/hybrid learning. “To prepare educators for the rapid change, we put training in place in the form of workshops per faculty.” The audience eagerly participated, with the greatest concerns raised being the digital divide and the disparity between individuals who have access to technology and stable internet, versus those who do not. The case was made, that if we had done nothing during Covid, we would also have been nowhere now. It was important to start somewhere and carry on with what was possible and find solutions for those who were left behind. This is a sensitive matter and needs more than a day to discuss.
Our World Cafe Collaborative Experience
After the insightful panel discussion, and a lovely lunch break, we moved on to the World Cafe section of the day. The World Cafe consisted of participants rotating between three tables with relevant topics. Here participants were encouraged to be creative, with playdough, lightbulb stress balls, khokis, stickers and big sheets of paper to stimulate the process. The buzz around the tables was contagious, everyone grabbed the opportunity to give input and feedback. After each rotation, the next group at the table could build on what the previous group had discussed. After the final round, a member of the group at each table shared a summary of what had been discussed at the tables. We will be sharing the outcomes of these discussions shortly. The themes were: Enabling access to meaningful education; curating meaningful education experiences together and establishing your institution for future learning & success. What was clear is that there is a need for technology to enable success and that all group discussions pointed to student success as a top priority and driving force at their institutions.
Lessons learnt from the event
We are in exciting, but challenging times. There is a great stride towards the future of education and technology in Africa. But in moving forward, we also have to be very aware of those who we are leaving behind. And we will have to find ways to address the digital divide, without slowing progress down. A tightrope balance that is yet to be figured out. But within the gaps, we only see opportunities for innovation. Having such an informative event made people more hopeful for the future of education. Having come together to interact with one another, and sharing ideas and opinions were great highlights that need to be built on. And so we are getting ready for our next event, happening in the Western Cape on 22 September 2022. Reach out if you are interested in attending!
It goes without saying that this write-up does not do the whole experience justice, you had to be there!
Reach out to us to find out about our next event
Save your seat HERE!