Tuesday, 10 March 2015


A futurist’s perspective on education in 50 years

In the wake of 2015, seven inland schools in Gauteng, South Africa, walked into the new era of the digital classroom, which will connect them to a world of better educational opportunities. While it remains quite impossible to state with certainty what the educational experience will look like in 50 years, we are however guided by several factors to imagine what we should expect.

What we observe currently with the educational landscape suggests strongly that change will continue to be a constant factor, and that educators will be challenged to think beyond traditional models if they want to remain relevant. New technologies and new approaches to learning are altering the way educational programs are delivered and are changing the way people learn.

Imagine a learning lab in a university that has space, resources and technology, where mini-Watsons are in the hands of each student and leading technology companies play a role in the learning environment. Imagine a ‘flipped classroom’ where students are not taught nor tested in the pedagogical way we know it today, but rather have to apply their knowledge to address real problems in the world.

When I imagine education in the future, I think about the movement of didactic lectures to online or digital classrooms, with campus programs focused more on the psychomotor aspect of learning such as; laboratories, studios etc. I imagine a societal focus on transferable skills as opposed to classical education. I imagine cheaper cost of learning driven by an increased availability and access to massive open online courses and alternative media for transferring knowledge and information.

Disappearing School four-walls
The traditional lecture hall is still the norm, but it is beginning to look possible that the four walls of the traditional lecture hall may cease to exist as we know it. With increasing accumulation and access to knowledge and information online, schools, especially higher education institutions, are beginning to adopt the digital way of things, so that lectures are now delivered and stored online, exams are now taken and scored virtually, degrees awarded to successful students and certificates shipped to the recipient thousands of miles away.

Learning will replace Teaching
While teachers might be content experts, they are not necessarily experts at creating the proper learning environment. For many years, the traditional model of education has focused on teaching, but a shift is being made to focus on learning. Learning is the essence of education and there will be an overall move towards more student-centred learning models. The world is waking up to the fact that education does not have to be represented by a teacher standing in front of a class. This awakening suggests a future of personalised learning, with learning models characterised by personal choice. This shift threatens the relevance of traditional teachers when we imagine education in the future, and will cause teachers to reinvent themselves, maybe not to become humanoids, but certainly evolve to find relevance in the new age of education.

Technology Drives Everything
Changes in education are driven by advances in technology; from solar-powered classrooms, to eLearning and iLearning platforms, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), mobile video learning, ‘flipped classroom’ and more. It is these advances in technology that will deliver the future of education.

Already, massive open online courses are capturing the interests of educational institutions around the world, and the debate is on whether they are a supplement or an alternative to traditional, pedagogical education. MOOCs are mostly free and are easily regarded as an alternative to traditional education especially to people in remote parts of the world or people who cannot really afford traditional higher education. Essentially, what I envisage is an amalgamation of some sort, of traditional educational methods and MOOCs to deliver new and innovative approaches to learning.
There is also growing interest in ‘flipped classroom’, a method that requires people to watch videos at home, as a substitute for lectures in the lecture hall or theatre. Then the classroom is used mostly for discussion and problem-solving. This method has great potential of full adoption and acceptance, and quickly too.

As regards using new tools and devices to impact learning, a number of schools globally have initiated massive deployments of iPads, with several of them applying BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) programs. In the U.S alone, Apple announced that it has sold over 4.5 million iPads to schools. This move presents a big opportunity for educators to use a medium that students are accustomed to.

Mobile video courses are transforming the learning experience for students, offering flexible classroom time and location. I envisage video learning to become a powerful content format that will drive learning engagement in the future.

The Future Student
Education will become increasingly available and accessible to everyone anywhere in the world, irrespective of their ability to pay for it. MOOCs are providing a great service in this respect. What is uncertain and quite unpredictable is interest and participation. The student of the future is therefore one who has an appetite to learn and apply acquired knowledge and skills to impact the world. Equipped with advanced technology and abundance of information, the student will be able to grasp concepts and theories quicker, and at their own convenience. They will be a lot more confident and specific about their interests, and will have a variety of quality learning options and methods to choose from.

The future student will not be driven mainly by a need to just get a degree so they can get a job somewhere. They will be driven by interest and passion to hone their talents and passions to impact society, and there will be increasingly more specific and tailored curricula catering to a diverse spectrum of often similar yet distinct interests, and new fields of study. This prediction is supported by statistics from the U.S Department of Labour that says that 65% of today’s grade school kids will end up in jobs that have not been invented yet.

Ultimately, I believe we are on the right path, drawing from the opportunities that technology provides, to arrive at a blended environment for learning and education, and I think the journey is truly interesting.

This Post was Originally published on Africa-OnTheRise.com

Friday, 16 May 2014


According to Twitter the ‘#’ symbol, called a ‘Hashtag’, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. However, this symbol has evolved beyond just marking keywords and topics on Twitter, to something much greater; from enabling resource mobilization to fostering campaigns and revolutions that brought nations to their knees, and also united the world for a common purpose.

In January 2011 mass protests filled the streets of Egypt in an 18-day revolution against then President Hosni Mubarak, who kept the country under tight dictatorial rule for 30 years. Hundreds of thousands of people occupied flooded the Tahrir Square, Egypt, in what was an entirely new kind of uprising that shot through the entire Middle East. We saw firsthand how social media –marked by hashtags such as #Egypt #Cairo #Mubarak - could shape events of the world. The government eventually had to shut down the internet a few days after across the country.

According to an article by Ryan Holmes, CEO at HootSuite, “One woman, whom I never met and know only from one tweet sent through HootSuite was named Sonia Verma. Reporting from right in the heart of Tahrir Square—where protests had suddenly turned bloody—she tweeted: “They are ripping up banners to use as bandages #Egypt.” In fewer than 140 characters, she said volumes—and her message potentially reached and moved millions. That’s the power of social media.”

In April 2014 over 200 school girls were abducted in Borno State in Nigeria by Boko Haram insurgents who have been terrorizing the Northern part of Nigeria since the present administration, led by President Goodluck Jonathan, took over office in 2011.
The Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls has helped galvanize world attention to the kidnapping of the girls, with global leaders and celebrities joining the calls to find the girls and bring them back safe. First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama’s photo in solidarity of the campaign is recorded to have been used nearly 3 million times on Twitter.

Although the girls are yet to be found, protests in Nigeria and around the world, as well as foreign government and international pressure on the Nigerian government to take more action, have shown that people will not rest until the girls are brought back home.

While it is not guaranteed always that the hashtag or social media campaigns will ultimately deliver the desired end – as was shown by the #Kony2012 campaign – we however cannot deny the fact that it always generates a lot interest and action towards the issue. Unfortunately, because of the virtual nature of the hashtag, it may never be considered for a Nobel Prize or anything of that sort, but we can all see how with a click of a button on your computer/phone/device, the world community can be rallied around a matter and generate impact, successfully or unsuccessfully.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Growing up, in high school, I remember how my father would say that the best student didn’t have two heads, that all the student did was study hard and prepare well for exams. I was not a bad student academically; on the contrary, I was actually quite good, even though I admit now that I might have been a little lazy and maybe quite uninterested in studying so hard. Regardless, I always made the top ten in class.
I also did know the ‘best student’ then. He didn’t quite like me, I remember. His name was Tunde Adeniran, but we called him Tunene, a quiet young lad with round, oily face. He wasn’t really good at sports and played very little tennis on occasion. He would just sit in the classroom or hostel room and read his school books. He wanted to be a neuro-surgeon. It was because of him that I learnt about Siamese twins and heard about Ben Carson, that was in J.S.S 3. Tunde didn’t like me because he felt I was unserious with my studies and therefore I would be bad company, so he avoided me.

Many other students who studied perhaps even harder than Tunde, and prepared well for exams too, began to suggest that it was because Tunde was born pre-mature that’s why his brain was unusually sharper than others. It was easy for such a notion to fly around and stick, and everyone believed it, so that many concluded that they would never be able to beat Tunde in any academic test or examination.

At first glance – and it is quite easy to see why – it would seem actually true that Tunde’s academic success was tied to him having a sharper brain from being born pre-mature. However, Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers proffers a different suggestion, a more reasonable one and I tend to agree with. Like Tunde, Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.

You see, Tunde is the youngest of four children. His immediate sibling is about seven years older than he is. He grew up almost by himself, kept company by the many books his siblings were done with from their classes. While Tunde was in high school his immediate elder brother, Kola, was already studying to be a medical doctor in the university. During the holidays Tunde would sit to read Biology and Medical texts. His eldest brother is a pilot so growing up Tunde was also exposed to a lot of Physics and Engineering texts as well. Now, the same holiday period while Tunde swam in an ocean of knowledge beyond his age, most of his mates were on trips to America or the UK, watching TV all day and reading comic books. When school resumed the next term, Tunde would astound the teachers and fellow students all over again.
Now, while I have nothing against kids watching TV and going on trips during the holiday period, I hope you see the point I am trying to make here. People are not better than the other because some people have been configured differently from others.

Eventually, it becomes clear that people like Tunde, people who climb higher, who we often consider to be exceptionally different, are not so different from us in the ways we consider them to be. They are products of history and community, of opportunities and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making them who they are.
The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.

Monday, 18 November 2013


I am at this place, the shopping mall popularly called Shoprite in Ikeja, Lagos. I am at the KFC outlet waiting for a friend. People walking past, minding their business, just as I am minding mine. I start to observe a pattern. I take out my blackberry device and start to type. I can sit here and write a book about this city and its people. The city of excellence and people of dreams.

Cars parked, neatly arranged, everything seems to obey order here; a typical example of how environment conditions man. This particular environment demands decorum from these people. They pay wholly, not because they are willing, but because this environment has subdued them.

It's an open city. Hierarchy is by how much money you have at the moment, potential is meaningless. They come here to reduce their accumulations. This place doesn't care; it sucks as much as it can from you, regardless of your earning power, regardless of your willingness to spend. Some are brought here to be spent on; some come here to spend, sometimes until they are spent. I like this place.

There's a certain consciousness that befalls anyone as soon as you step in through the gate. No, it's not a desire to stand out, rather it's a desire not to fall, not fall as in hit the ground, but not to fall one's hand. I think I am infected too, may be not consumed, but I feel it slightly. I can still stare at people boldly, hold their gaze and cause their eyes to drop. It's intentional.

A certain philosopher was of the opinion that man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains. Another believed that as humans we find ourselves living a savage impossible life; a life where we are not educated nor protected by the state. That human nature is bad: we’ll prey on one another in the most vicious ways.

Observing these people I remember the age long argument whether man as an entity is fundamentally evil. I wonder how much of that is as a result of the kind of environment a man finds himself in. I am pushed further to wonder if man shapes the environment or it is the other way round. If I consider this place to be a microcosm of the larger community, then it at first appears to be that the environment shapes man, but understanding that this place is an actual creation of man himself, then it is safe to say that the environment is shaped by man to shape man.

The world we live in is a huge network and interplay of expressions of various sorts and forms informed by orientation and character. So I propose that the state and disposition of an environment at any point in time is actually a reflection of the prevailing or dominant orientation and character of the people therein. And if we wish to affect the state of any environment, there has to be an adjustment of orientation and character, I think.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

IWEKA’s 1st Law of Domination

IWEKA’s 1st Law of Domination: “Desires can neither be created nor destroyed, but can only be replaced.”

Brands rule the world. Humanity is driven by its desires and whoever has the incredible power to cater for whatever cravings that man has, surely has a hold on mankind. All great companies strive to accomplish this feat, but only few actually succeed.

Great brands stem from great products, but also from great advertising. The equation therefore looks something like this: Great Product + Great Advertising = Great Influence.

Influence is the new currency. Eyes and hearts are priceless. The battle for global dominion is no longer over lands and seas; it is now a battle for patronage and loyalty. Why should a customer choose Brand A over Brand B?

Is it really because American companies create quality products that their brands are highly regarded around the world? (America has 63% of global brand value).

There has been a shift in the dynamics of desires and power. It used to be that brands were formed from the desires of the people, but now it's the people that are formed according to the desires of the brands. People no longer know that their desires can be different any more. They’ve been trained to love shit, want shit and shit shit.

It’s the foundation of the world economy. Taking over the world no longer requires you to match through lands and seas, charging forth with an army as large as the population of China.

Successful brands realised that there is simply not enough room in the minds of consumers to hold so much desires. Desires can only be replaced, not coexist. For new brands to grow, they need to know how to attack, fight to push off already existing brands.