Learn and Shift - Your educational podcast

Elliot Boucher

The essential education podcast, every tuesday at 10 a.m Each week, Elliot Boucher, co-founder of Edusign, the innovative educational tool, invites an expert to share his or her captivating journey, valuable advice and innovative methods to help you achieve all your learning goals. read less
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Episodes

#5 - Breaking Boundaries in Education: A VR Revolution - With Brad Benedict
31-10-2023
#5 - Breaking Boundaries in Education: A VR Revolution - With Brad Benedict
In this interview with Brad Benedict, a State Workforce Advisor at Transfr, we gain valuable insights into the future of education and the transformative power of virtual reality (VR) in the learning process. Brad, a passionate advocate for education and training, started from humble beginnings and, over time, developed a deep-rooted commitment to helping others succeed in their chosen careers. His journey led him from running his own restaurant to a pivotal role in ceramic manufacturing, where he played a key role in education and training. Transfer, the company Brad works for, has been at the forefront of disrupting education and training since 2017. They utilize virtual reality and immersive simulations to provide hands-on job training and career exploration experiences. These simulations are tailored to various industries, including skilled labor careers like electricians, plumbers, auto mechanics, healthcare, and construction. One of the most compelling aspects of Transfer's approach is how it addresses the critical issue of career exploration. Many high-paying jobs remain hidden from plain sight in industrial parks and other less-visible settings. Transfer's VR experiences expose students and job seekers to these careers, opening their eyes to previously unconsidered opportunities. Brad highlights the rewarding experiences he's had working with justice-involved youth. By providing them with a glimpse of alternative career paths through VR, these individuals have found hope and motivation to change their lives for the better. Transfer's technology offers a tangible goal to work towards, a powerful tool for anyone seeking a fresh start. He also touches on the role of AI in their VR-based training, with their digital coach, Simon, incorporating content from subject matter experts to enhance the learning experience. Furthermore, data tracking helps educators understand students' progress and customize their learning experiences. When discussing the future of education, Brad predicts that technology will play an even larger role in classrooms. With each generation being more tech-savvy, more technology will be integrated into the learning process. He emphasizes the importance of diversifying your sources of knowledge, as the more input you have, the more varied your perspective becomes. For those interested in further exploration of education and poverty, Brad recommends reading "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne. This book provides valuable insights into the experiences of individuals from low-income and poverty-stricken backgrounds and offers strategies for addressing their unique challenges. Finally, Brad underscores the importance of using social media platforms like LinkedIn for networking, learning, and growth. He believes that LinkedIn is a positive space where professionals can connect and share knowledge. As we conclude our discussion with Brad Benedict, we're left with a deeper understanding of the transformative potential of VR and the role of technology in shaping the future of education. Brad's dedication to helping individuals find their passion and unlock their potential through VR training is both inspiring and promising for the world of education and workforce development.
#4 - Transform Education with AI - With Christophe Zoghbi, Founder of Zaka
24-10-2023
#4 - Transform Education with AI - With Christophe Zoghbi, Founder of Zaka
In a world where technology is constantly reshaping the way we live and work, the future of education is a hot topic. Today, we have the privilege of delving into the fascinating journey of Christophe Zoghbi, the CEO of Zaka, a company specializing in artificial intelligence education. Join us as we explore Christophe's evolution from a software engineer to a trailblazer in AI education. A Journey of Passion and Innovation Christophe Zoghbi's journey into the world of AI education was far from conventional. With a background in software engineering, he initially embarked on his career, developing mobile apps and various software solutions. Little did he know that his path would lead him to the realm of artificial intelligence. In 2013, Christophe took the entrepreneurial plunge, collaborating with friends on a product that required the incorporation of smart capabilities. This endeavor introduced him to the world of machine learning and AI, igniting a fervent passion for the field. Although the startup venture didn't pan out as planned, Christophe's fascination with AI remained unwavering. Empowering the Community Christophe was determined to not let his newfound passion go to waste. In an era when AI was a relatively new concept in Lebanon, he founded a community known as "Data's AI." This community aimed to promote AI awareness, bringing together experts and enthusiasts to discuss and explore AI's potential. Through Data's AI, Christophe organized engaging events, inviting prominent speakers to share their knowledge and experiences in applying AI to various projects. It became evident that there was a widespread hunger for practical AI knowledge, as people wanted to understand how AI could be applied effectively in their projects. The Birth of Zaka: An AI Education Mission Recognizing the gap in the market, Christophe set out to fill the void by launching Zaka. The name "Zaka" derives from the Arabic word for intelligence, emphasizing the company's commitment to AI education and empowerment. Zaka's mission is clear: to advance AI adoption in the region through education and upskilling initiatives. Zaka began by catering primarily to technical professionals, offering programs tailored for software engineers and developers. However, as the demand for AI education grew, the company expanded its offerings to accommodate a broader audience. Today, Zaka provides courses not only for engineers but also for individuals from diverse backgrounds who seek to harness the power of AI in their work. AI for Everyone For those who aren't software engineers but still wish to grasp AI's fundamentals and practical applications, Zaka offers a course aptly named "AI for Everyone." This course is designed to be accessible to individuals from all backgrounds, demystifying AI concepts and fostering a sense of AI awareness. In this ever-evolving landscape, Christophe Zoghbi and Zaka have paved the way for democratizing AI knowledge, bridging the gap between the tech-savvy and the uninitiated. With their commitment to education, they are playing a pivotal role in shaping the future of education, where AI is not just a buzzword but a practical tool for all. In conclusion, Christophe Zoghbi's journey from software engineering to AI education exemplifies the transformative power of passion and innovation. His commitment to AI education and the growth of Zaka is a testament to the profound impact one individual can have on an entire industry. As the future of education continues to evolve, AI education is set to be a driving force, and Christophe Zoghbi and Zaka are at the forefront of this exciting revolution.
#3 - Empowering neurodivergent students - With Kirstin Coughtrie, Founder of Gaia Learning
17-10-2023
#3 - Empowering neurodivergent students - With Kirstin Coughtrie, Founder of Gaia Learning
In a recent "Learn and Shift" podcast episode, Kristen shared her remarkable journey in education, dedicated to neurodivergent students, including those with autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. Kristen's innovative approach is making waves in the education landscape, offering inclusivity and personalization. Tailored for Neurodiversity Kristen's initiative focuses on creating a supportive learning environment for neurodivergent students who often struggle in traditional classrooms. Her team's online program, accredited by Cambridge International, provides a flexible, personalized curriculum that caters to individual needs. Freedom to Choose The uniqueness of Kristen's program lies in the freedom it grants students. They can learn individually, in small groups, or a blend of both. This autonomy allows them to dictate the pace and style of their learning. Addressing Key Challenges Neurodivergent students often face sensory issues, sensory overload, and rigid teaching methods in conventional schools. Kristen's program is designed to tackle these challenges by offering a more adaptable and personalized approach. Rising Demand With increasing demand from parents, schools, and local authorities for alternative education options, Kristen's initiative is well-timed. Traditional schools are struggling to meet the diverse needs of neurodivergent students, and her program provides a much-needed solution. Fostering Belonging Kristen's program not only enhances academic performance but also nurtures students' mental well-being and a sense of belonging. It's a crucial step towards breaking the feeling of isolation neurodivergent students often experience. Scalable and Engaging Kristen's program has scalability at its core, aiming to grow from an initial 16 students to around 200 by year-end. Small class sizes, interactive teaching methods, and the use of technology ensure an engaging and personalized learning experience. Harnessing Technology Technology plays a pivotal role in Kristen's approach. It's used to reduce distractions and create personalized learning experiences. Data from sources like smartwatches is harnessed to tailor the learning environment for each student. Empowering Focus Technology is leveraged to enhance students' focus. Kristen emphasizes the importance of making technology unobtrusive and user-friendly, streamlining the learning process while collecting valuable data on students' learning experiences. Supporting Well-Being Kristen's program goes beyond academics, focusing on students' mental health, resilience, and real-world skills. It provides a safe space for students to gain confidence and transition into more traditional settings if they choose. Inclusivity for All Kristen believes that her personalized and flexible approach can benefit all students, not just those who are neurodivergent. It's a vision for education that accommodates individual learning styles. A Vision for the Future Kristen envisions a future where traditional schools exist alongside flexible online platforms, breaking down barriers and connecting students from around the world. It's a vision of inclusivity and understanding. Accelerated Growth Kristen and her partner, Kate, are entering an accelerator program to expand their initiative. Their journey from being single parents to education innovators is inspiring and demonstrates the potential for change in the sector. Global Connections The conversation closes with Kristen's excitement for the future of education. She highlights the importance of global connections in shaping the future, celebrating the positives in education, and empowering students and parents to take ownership of their learning experiences. Conclusion Kristen's journey in education is an inspiring tale of transformation. Her commitment to inclusivity, personalization, and the well-being of students offers a beacon of hope in education.
#2 - Revolutionizing Education - With Wybren Bosma, Founder of MetaSkills
10-10-2023
#2 - Revolutionizing Education - With Wybren Bosma, Founder of MetaSkills
Introduction: Welcome to the Learn and Shift Podcast, where we explore the ever-evolving landscape of education. In this episode, we had the privilege of conversing with Wybren, a trailblazer in the realm of education. He is the founder of MetaSkills, a visionary company that is reshaping the way we approach learning and development. Join us as we delve into the exciting world of immersive learning, AI, and the future of education. From International Business to EdTech Pioneer: Wybren, at 32 years old, has already made a substantial impact in the field of education. His journey commenced with a background in international business, with his studies taking place at Erasmus University. Subsequently, he spent six years at the Boston Consulting Group, accumulating invaluable experience both in Amsterdam and Johannesburg. However, three years ago, Wybren embarked on a career pivot. He set out on a mission to teach himself coding, dedicating five days a week to immersive online resources. It was an intensive journey that eventually led him to an incredible intersection of coding and education. The Emergence of MetaSkills: Wybren's innovative spirit and unwavering determination brought forth MetaSkills, an edtech scale-up that is revolutionizing corporate training. MetaSkills isn't merely another edtech company; it's pioneering a paradigm shift in the way we approach skill development and training through immersive experiences. One of MetaSkills' primary objectives is to make VR-based training more accessible, cost-effective, and adaptable to various learning needs. The initial hurdle lay in the high costs associated with developing VR content, which often demanded extensive coding and customization. Wybren and his team decided to rewrite this narrative. The Power of "PowerPoint for VR": Wybren introduced a groundbreaking concept - "PowerPoint for VR." Rather than relying on intricate coding and protracted development cycles, MetaSkills devised a user-friendly platform that facilitates the swift creation of VR training content. This innovation drastically reduces development time and costs, democratizing immersive learning. The Role of AI: What sets MetaSkills apart is its integration of AI, specifically GPT-3.5, into their training platform. This integration addresses a critical limitation of VR-based training: the rigidity of decision trees. In the past, learners had limited choices and interactions within VR environments. With AI, conversations become dynamic, mirroring real-world interactions. AI avatars, powered by GPT-3.5, engage learners in authentic, unscripted conversations. This integration offers learners the freedom to respond naturally and practice their communication skills effectively. The cost-effectiveness of AI avatars also makes immersive learning more accessible to a broader audience. Customization and Adaptation: MetaSkills recognizes that one-size-fits-all training doesn't suffice. To address this, they've developed a platform that empowers companies to tailor training experiences to their specific requirements. Users can define the personality of AI characters, the context of conversations, and even the conversational style. The Future of Learning: Wybren envisions a future where immersive learning experiences are highly personalized. Learners will have the flexibility to practice and refine their skills in a virtual world tailored to their needs. This approach will complement traditional training methods, allowing individuals to hone their abilities anytime, anywhere. Conclusion: Wybren's journey, from international business to the forefront of edtech, exemplifies the transformative power of innovation and dedication. MetaSkills is not just changing how we learn; it's opening doors to a future where personalized, immersive learning experiences are accessible to all. The fusion of VR, AI, and customization is reshaping education, promising a more dynamic and effective learning journey for everyone.
#1 - The Future of English Language Education - With Ben Knight, Oxford University Press
03-10-2023
#1 - The Future of English Language Education - With Ben Knight, Oxford University Press
Navigating the Future of English Language Education: An Interview with Ben Knight from Oxford University Press Welcome to the Learn and Shift Podcast, where we delve into the evolving landscape of education. In this episode, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ben Knight, a dedicated professional at Oxford University Press, to explore the ever-changing world of English language teaching. Ben's role bridges the gap between research insights and the development of English language courses, and his insights shed light on the fascinating journey of language education. Bridging the Gap: Ben Knight's Role at Oxford University Press Ben, a member of the Oxford University Press team in the United Kingdom, shares a common mission with his organization: supporting research and education through the creation of materials that facilitate learning. Ben's area of expertise lies within English language teaching, a field that has seen remarkable evolution over the years. In the early days, English language education primarily centered around rote memorization and repetitive practice of grammar and vocabulary. The emphasis was on pinpoint accuracy in language use. However, Ben highlights the transformative shift towards communication-centric teaching. Today, the focus is not solely on linguistic precision but also on the effectiveness of communication. Language learners are encouraged to convey thoughts and ideas fluently, making it a dynamic shift across the education spectrum. The Future of Language Education: A Technology-Infused Vision As technology continues to permeate every facet of our lives, the question arises: will we eventually rely solely on automated translation tools? Ben suggests that while transactional communication may lean heavily on apps and automated translation, there will always be a place for mastering a language when building relationships and communicating effectively. In a world where persuasion, convincing, and engagement are paramount, language learners of the future may find themselves focusing less on grammatical precision and more on the art of connecting with others. Technology may handle the mundane, but human connection thrives on understanding and empathy, something only language mastery can provide. The Importance of Learning a Language: Beyond Transactional Needs Ben emphasizes that while technology can assist in transactional scenarios, it may fall short in the quest for genuine connection and understanding. Learning a language isn't just a tool for ordering a meal or asking for directions; it's a gateway to meaningful relationships and cultural appreciation. Ben's experiences in Italy, where he encounters individuals who don't speak English, highlight the profound difference that language can make in forging connections. In conclusion, the future of language education is poised at an exciting crossroads. Technology will continue to play a pivotal role in simplifying transactional interactions, but the art of mastering a language remains essential for building bridges, forming friendships, and truly understanding one another. Ben Knight's insights from Oxford University Press offer a glimpse into the fascinating journey of English language education, where communication and connection are paramount. Thank you for joining us on this insightful journey into the future of education. Stay tuned for more engaging discussions right here on the Learn and Shift Podcast.