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February 14, 2019

Future of Education an international perspective

Agata Piekut by Agata

Since the very beginning of HubHub’s presence in Poland, the team behind it decided to focus on providing education in emerging technologies. Often before anybody else decided to do it. We’ve sat down with Małgorzata Żurowska: Event Manager in HubHub to talk about the strategy behind this approach, their involvement in Hacking Carrots and the future of education on a larger scale.

Why did you decide to become a Partner of Hacking Carrots?

We have been cooperating with Geek Girls Carrots for quite a while now and as soon as we’ve heard about the new project, we loved it and knew it’s something that fits our goals as well. Besides providing coworking space and building an innovative community, we’ve also been focusing on education as one of our fundamental pillars.

Last year, shortly after we started our operations in Poland, we run open educational programs on topics like Blockchain or Smart City and Mobility. This year, while continuing our own projects, we decided to put even more effort in supporting other entities, especially NGOs which have great experience and success in new tech education.

I see partnerships with programs like Hacking Carrots as the perfect opportunity to foster growth of the innovative community here in Warsaw and in the CEE region. By working together we can greatly increase the impact of this initiative. We also know that Geek Girls Carrots are great at bringing together diverse and innovative groups of people who are eager to learn – and we just love having that kind of energy in our spaces.

What is the single most important thing that our education system needs right now?

I would say regeneration. We’re lacking a proper reboot and an update to the system. Since the digital revolution the world has been changing on an unprecedented scale, and it doesn’t seem like it will slow down anytime soon. Yet our education system still makes us more prepared for the factory system of the 19th century rather than the dynamic realities of today and the future.

In schools we still focus on loading information rather than dealing with it. We live in the world where computers and new tech solutions process information faster and better than humans ever will. Yet our distinctly human skills, like critical thinking, communication or creativity are often neglected by our education system.

Instead of losing the race of trying to be like machines, we need to make sure we know how to use them and that we’re equipped to face the challenges of the modern world.

To someone who’s new to the idea of Hacking Carrots, how the program answer this need?

Education system is a hard thing to change. Until we do, programs like Hacking Carrots are crucial in fulfilling the need of an education fitted for the world of today and tomorrow. It takes the good parts of the traditional system, i.e. being prolonged in time beyond just an ad hoc hackathon or a single meetup. However, it also adds the much-needed layers, that are crucial in the 21st century – knowledge on emerging technologies as well as an inspiration and a direction on how can they can be used for the betterment of our world.

UN Sustainable Development Goals are sort of a blueprint for areas we should collectively focus on and where our energy should be directed. I think it’s a very empowering aspect of the program and gives it a unique mission.

Lifelong learning is a fashionable keyword but how do we turn it into practice when we’re permanently out of time?

Personally, I really dislike the phrase “I don’t have time for that.” It’s sometimes hard not to say it, but I try to remind myself to avoid it as much as possible. It’s all about how we choose to prioritize what we spend our time on.

Time management is another aspect where our education system could improve. From the early years we’re used to associate learning with school – one building, strict daily schedule marked by bells and winter/summer vacations. Such scheme makes it much harder for people to maneuver in a world where 9-to-5 work slowly becomes extinct.

As a coworking space, we are focusing on providing solutions for the challenges facing the job market where more and more people work remotely, in flexible hours and in an ever-changing environment.

One of the challenges of that environment is realizing that learning can and should be incorporated in our everyday activities, and not only something we have to have a separate time or even building for.

We learn by doing, trying, failing, reading, watching and communicating. Talking to various people can sometimes teach you more than a whole textbook. I guess the key is to see opportunities to learn using various sources.  

HubHub is also an international network, based on this experience what tips would you give on building diverse communities?

Open eyes, open ears, check your privilege 😉 Make sure various voices are heard. It’s amazing how much we can all learn from diversified perspectives. As HubHub we are focused mainly on the CEE region, so we often find many cultural similarities between ourselves, but whenever differences emerge, we try to be open to them, use them as different points of view and extract the best parts to enhance our actions. Again, I think it’s a matter of seeing diversity as a learning opportunity that can help us all grow.

Some people come to meetups for knowledge, others for networking – as a person leading community-building initiatives, what tips would you give to Hacking Carrots participants to get most value out of the events?

Know what you’re there for and be open. The program can be a great tool, that you can use in the future. It’s always up to you how much you will gain from the events. If you want to gain more, you can always do research before and follow-up after. Ask questions and know yourself. Personally, I try to always have a good old notebook –  IT tools are great, but I know that my brain works best with pen and paper 😉

And if you’re there only for knowledge, or only for networking, combine both! You never know who you can meet or what inspiring thought you might hear. As the provider of space for work and events like the Hacking Carrots, we know that magic happens when different people with similar interests meet in the same physical space. So see you soon in HubHub! 😊

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