Brendan O’Malley, University World News:
Universities risk becoming irrelevant and irresponsible if they don’t equip staff to deal with the digital age, said Martin Bean, vice-chancellor of the Open University, in the 2014 Sir John Cass’s Foundation Lecture at the Cass Business School in London.
Bean said he wanted to focus his 5 November lecture on the tyranny of conventional wisdom, particularly in education, where “disruptive innovation” is forcing people to reconsider the very foundations of learning and teaching.
Bean said today’s young people have their smartphones glued to their hands and can’t conceive of a world before Google, YouTube and Twitter.
“When they have a question, they google the answer. When they want to know what’s happening, they check Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and a million other forms of social media. They have friends living thousands of miles away and may spend hours chatting to them each day even though they’ve never met.”
“If education doesn’t keep up with this changing environment, we risk the sector becoming irrelevant and even irresponsible.”
Bean has worked at the intersection of education and technology throughout his career, in the United States and in England. At the end of this year he is heading back to Australia to become vice-chancellor and president of RMIT University in Melbourne.