I am writing a blog series about my personal perspectives as a Master’s student on the role that technology plays in Education. Click here for Parts I, II, III, IV and V.

In his book, Klaus Schwab describes the Fourth Industrial Revolution as “… a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

Today, creating an object with 3D Printing is (almost) as easy as writing document. It is now common knowledge that the world’s largest taxi firm owns no cars, the world’s most popular media company creates no content and the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no property. Uber, Facebook, and Airbnb were built on principles and models that are re-shaping every aspect of our life.

In previous Industrial Revolutions, the rate of change in working, collaborating and communicating, allowed workers to adapt to the new ways of working. This time the speed of change is unprecedented and we need an education system that allow students to adapt better for this change. The problem in the future might not be the lack of employment, but the shortage of skills that the new jobs will demand.

Education needs to adapt in new ways to meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and respond to a demand for new types of skills.

According to PwC’s 20th CEO Survey, 77% of CEOs say that it’s the soft skills they value most that are hardest to find. Creative, innovative leaders with emotional intelligence are in very short supply.

O’Flaherty and Phillips (2015), provide a comprehensive overview of relevant research regarding the emergence of the flipped classroom and the links to pedagogy and educational outcomes. They suggest that flipped class has the capacity for building lifelong skills for 21st Century learners. What is Flipped Learning? According to the Flipped Learning Network (Flipped Learning Network (FLN). (2014) The Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™):

Flipped Learning is a pedagogical approach in which direct instruction moves from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the educator guides students as they apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.

I had the luck to have a flipped class experience some weeks ago as a student. At UCL, we had to prepare a group debate in two days on a delicate and complicated case: the regulation of new emerging business models (such as Uber or Airbnb). We were divided in groups of four and each represented a different stakeholder (consumers, incumbent, new entrants, regulator, government etc..). To prepare, we used the content provided in class and split the additional research topics in the group. As a group, we exchanged ideas and collaborated on our stance once. In class, we presented our evidence and discussed (aka fought) the case in a controlled debate for about two hours. At the end of the week, each individual put together a 1500-word briefing note, summarising his/her understanding of the topic.

While this experience was constructive and offered very good building blocks for my future, it lacked an element of spark to make it both long-lasting (once in the cloud I can keep that piece of work with me for future references) and more relevant to the conceptual needs of our time. Here, I propose some variation of the task, with a sprinkle of Office 365.

If instead of just preparing the case, we had to put together an Office Mix to present the main points of our case in a concise manner we would have had to think more as a group. The creation of the Mix would have helped us squeeze out some creativity to complete the exercise. The individual briefing note, could have been put together in the form of a Sway, to really tell the story of how new technologies are shaping and challenging existing regulatory frameworks. These two small changes would have not only helped develop our creativity, but also prepared us better for a world where the way you present and support your findings can play a real difference in influencing others.

Flipped classroom offers great points to help students develop the skills that are needed in this “brave new world”. There is no single formula for executing an effective flipped classroom, but core features of the flipped learning approach should include: content in advance (generally the pre-recorded lecture), educator awareness of students’ understanding, and higher-order learning during class time. With the addition of some elements of content creation to help generate creativity, this tool has the capacity to help building lifelong skills that reflect the demands of this century.

Educators need to feel confident about these apps to implement them in their teaching curricula. Why not get in touch with Hable for a one-day Workshop to strategically discuss with your team how to unlock the full potential of Office 365?


If you have any specific topics that you would like me to cover in the future, drop me a line at oiurcovich@hable.co.uk or continue the conversation on Twitter.