During October and November this year we spent a month travelling around East Asia to meet with clients and attend a variety of e-learning events in the region, returning to the UK at the end of November. It would be impossible to mention everything in a single blog post, but we thought we’d share some of the highlights from our travels.
We arrived in China in the last week of October, after a gruelling 20 hour flight via Abu Dhabi. Our first stop was in Shanghai, where we were introduced to the difficulties posed by China’s national firewall – a frustration which was raised by more than a few of the schools we spoke with.
It was a practical reminder for us of the need for local knowledge when working with international schools – it’s easy to assume the world has access to everything on the Internet, but that’s not always the case.
Our time in China was spent meeting with some of the country’s largest and most prestigious schools, and discussing the state of e-learning provision in the country. We found a real enthusiasm for e-learning, and learning management systems in particular, and had some interesting conversations around localisation and integration requirements.
We also took the opportunity to meet the China-Britain Business Council, who provided some invaluable practical advice on doing business in China, and the future of the market.
After a week in China, it was time to head south, to attend the EARCOS conference in Bangkok. As EARCOS members, it was great to be able to catch up with a few familiar faces, and we enjoyed a packed schedule including informative keynotes from Loung Ung and Catherine Steiner-Adair, with plenty of time in between to meet with delegates and tech companies.
We also had the chance to meet with Saigon South International School, who we’ve been working with on a bespoke Moodle theme to improve engagement with their learning platform. Keep an eye out for a case study on this project which we’ll be publishing soon.
With some free time around the conference, we were also able to spend time meeting with other international schools in Bangkok, where much of our discussion centred around the new Moodle 3.0 release as well as an interesting meeting with the UKTI representatives for Thailand.
We landed in Jakarta at the beginning of November, in time to attend the SEASIMS conference, hosted at the British School Jakarta – a stunning setting for what was to prove an insightful and educational event.
Once again, we found ourselves surrounded by friendly faces, taking the opportunity to compare notes with many of the educators we’ve met over the past couple of years, and of course our clients Jerudong International School, who are currently avid users of our Edulink application.
It was a perfect opportunity for us to gather feedback on the app and discuss pathways for future development, as well as learning more about how SIMS is being used by schools in the region, which fed into our presentation on Moodle-SIMS integration and EduLink later in the conference.
From Jakarta, we took a short flight north to Singapore, to take part in the FOBISIA Heads’ & Senior Leaders’ Annual Conference at Tanglin Trust School. We were delighted to be joined once again by representatives from Jerudong, as well as meeting with another of our clients, the International School Brunei.
The programme certainly lived up to this year’s theme, “Be Inspired!”, with a varied and interesting schedule including contributions from Dominic Peckham, Roy Blatchford, and Robert Swan, OBE (who made our long haul trip around Asia feel somewhat dwarfed by his well-known expeditions!)
During our stay, we managed to take the time to visit and speak with a handful of schools in Singapore, many of whom we’d had the opportunity to meet on previous visits to Singapore – a good chance to get a feel for the fast pace of progress in e-learning.
Our final stop on the tour was in Hong Kong – as befits such a vibrant and bustling city we had a packed schedule of meetings for the whole week, as well as catching up on emails an admin from the previous month. After meeting with a few of the international schools in Hong Kong, it was time to say goodbye to Asia, and head home.
As well as the huge number of schools, speakers and educators we met during our time in East Asia, it’s also worth mentioning the valuable conversations we were able to have with other companies working in the e-learning space, some of whom are partners of Titus Learning, and others who we hope to work with in future. We really believe that collaboration between companies leads to better innovation within e-learning and ultimately better outcomes for students, teachers and schools.
Special thanks go to the representatives from iSAMS, WCBS, Capita SIMS, Planet eStream, School Website and BridgeU who we encountered along the way, as well as NutKase, who provided the branded iPad cases which proved such a big hit at the events we attended!
If you have any specific questions about our trip, as ever, please get in touch.