It’s not a matter of if but of when education will be digitalised. Young, successful entrepreneur and teacher Danny Mekić (26) warns us for the ‘Google school’. “It’ll be much more fun than regular school, but it’ll be sponsored by commercial companies. But the expertise is in the schools.”
Technology and the internet – “For years, large organisations have been struggling with the internet: they’re supposed to do something with it, but what exactly, and how? I’ve been advising them for years, and they would give me a bottle of wine or a book token as thanks. That was until I founded NewTeam, a year and a half ago. We’re not the traditional kind of consultancy firm that comes up with a strategy and implements it for the client. NewTeam’s approach is: it’s the organisation that should be doing it, and we’ll join them to help. Today I’ll be meeting with people from the informatisation service of the House of Representatives, who are responsible for supplying members of the House with information. Together, we’re exploring the future with the current state of technology.”
Education in 2020 – “How can we digitalise education? I’m heading a debate about this, organised by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the University of Amsterdam. We’re looking ahead: what will education be like in 2020? Technology offers a solution for customised education. IT can bridge the gap between the teacher and the individual pupil. If this doesn’t happen in the area of education – which is rich in expertise and knowledge – then it’ll happen in Silicon Valley. After school hours, pupils would go to ‘Google School’, which is much more fun than school, but also sponsored by commercial companies.”
Lecturing – “I’m asked on a regular basis to give lectures at meetings, about entrepreneurship, education and technology. Today my lecture agency and I will be talking with about my ambitions. I like photography, and I often bring my camera along when I visit clients to take pictures of their workplaces. We will be discussing the possibility of combining a lecture with an exhibition. With my lectures, I try to create connections, often from the world of business to the area of education. That’s interesting both for my clients and for students and teachers. I love lecturing, but it needs to stay balanced. Sometimes I take a hiatus to read up or to elaborate thoughts.”
Social media at school – “A teacher wanted to post his homework on Facebook, but his pupils didn’t want that. What should he do? My answer: do it! Facebook is the centrepiece of the world young people live in. School should be a part of that, whether they like it or not. Education should serve the young. For that, we need to let go of conventional definitions. A class currently isn’t considered a class unless a teacher is physically present, whereas in business, half of the meetings rely on digital communication.
Playing the piano at the Amsterdam Public Library – “Every morning and every evening, I play the piano at home. I let go of everything and relax. Sometimes I go to the library to play there. Every piano is different, that’s what makes it exciting and unpredictable. When I start playing, I shut out the world around me. It’s amazing to notice afterwards that there are people around me, who talk to me and thank me. I’m very self-critical, I don’t do anything unless I’m good at it. That’s also what I often tell my students: If you want to make a choice, familiarise yourself with the options first. On exams, the options are handed to you as a multiple choice question. In real life, you have to find them yourself.”
This interview/profile has been published in ‘Backstage‘, the magazine of The Netherlands Association of VET Colleges.