Celebrating Eiffel Corp – a culmination of 20 years
“We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before…
We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear: the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and private sectors to academia and civil society.” Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum 2016
In May 2018 Eiffel Corp hosted our 20 years if excellence celebrations, from 1998 – 2018. And while often with celebrations we reflect on the past, these celebrations also shed a bright light into the future.
In his opening statements, co-founder Andre van der Merwe quoted Hans Georg Gadamer as follows: “Understanding begins when something addresses us.” Simply put, this means we only try and grasp our environment when it affects us personally.
In 2018 one of the greatest realities we are faced with is the exponential speed at which technology has developed over the past 20 to 40 years. Today we face endless possibilities, with billions of people connected by smartphones, an increase in online storage capacity, access to knowledge like never before and not to forget the breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence.
When Eiffel Corp was founded, the World Wide Web was at its infancy, with Google starting its operations this year and Nokia launching its first cell phone with Internet access two years prior. It is quite evident that the magnitude of the World Wide Web or Internet had not completely penetrated our local or the global Education system yet. But it was obvious that this virtual access to knowledge would have a major impact on a global scale. So the question was what would the impact on Education be and how would we harness this major technological development to optimise learning and teaching. WebCT was one of the first products that facilitated this integration of online access to Education by students and lecturers. As technology advanced, so the role of WebCT grew and changed, later to be adopted by Blackboard, offering a fully integrated suite of technologies to manage a Higher Education Institute, opening up the opportunity for learning to be available and accessible at any time and place.
Twenty years down the line, we are now asking how technology and blended learning can advance education into previously impenetrable circumstances. The tools on offer are no longer about accessing information but offer an exchange – submitting and accessing information. It has become a real-time opportunity for not only virtual education, but for incorporating face-to-face education with the virtual realm for both teaching and learning. Referred to as blended learning, it is the “thoughtful integration of classroom face-to-face learning experiences with online learning experiences, [with] considerable complexity in its implementation with the challenge of virtually limitless design possibilities and applicability to so many contexts.” (Garrison & Kanuka 2004).
In simple terms, what this means is technology has integrated into virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It is no longer a point of access to knowledge, but part of our general knowledge or tools for tackling practicalities of our every day habits. This, therefore, brings up the next fundamental question – how do we rethink and redesign teaching and learning approaches and the relationships involved to fit into this new reality within the 21st Century?
This is a question we are already addressing with solutions, and foresee ourselves taking leadership in over the next 20 years, just as we have done for the past 20 years. The proof has not been in our successes, but in the success stories of how technological solutions have made a difference in the lives of the nearly 10 million students, we have been involved with through our clients over the past 20 years.
We have been and will remain fanatical about learning, finding and developing technological solutions that not only work for Higher Learning Institutions but also address the importance of efficiently integrating these technologies by enabling lecturers as well as students. Because we believe in this momentum of technological advancement, we can only develop and implement digital solutions successfully if we play a part in developing the leadership to play their part in applying these tools successfully.
Have a look at how we celebrated this momentous occasion: