Making an impact for education with the SEF360 Open Education Forum

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With an aim to be the platform to collaborate the academics from all over the island to make an impact, SEF360 Open Education Forum took place recently at the Dialog Auditorium.

The importance of product design engineering

Tilak Dissanayake – Owner of Ants Global was on stage first at SEF360 Open Education Forum. We spoke about Tilak’s vision to build his own drone deliver network back in 2017. Today, Tilak was here to speak on one of his most popular topics: product design engineering.

Making an impact for education with the SEF360 Open Education Forum 3

One of Tilak’s focus points through his session at SEF360 Open Education Forum was how changes in the education system & different approaches could benefit the future generation. For example, having a shorter time period for degrees and diplomas would benefit those testing the water in different fields.

For example, if one were to pursue a degree in computer science and law one after the other, that would be around 8-9 years in total.
In comparison, bringing the duration of these programmes down to around 8-9 months each would result in the student completing both programmes in under 2 years.

SEF360 Open Education Forum
Tilak Dissanayake – Owner of Ants Global talking about product design engineering

Tilak emphasized that this threshold of 4 years is what keeps us stuck in one field. If somebody can finish a degree in 2 years or less as opposed to 4 years, it would leave more time and make things more productive. People can go on to contribute to the economy with multiple careers than just one.

The journey of an entrepreneur

Following Tilak, Rohan Jayaweera – Co-Founder/Director/COO of Antyra Solutions was on stage at SEF360 Open Education Forum. “You cannot be taught to be an entrepreneur” said Rohan. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to have a lot of adversities in your life. This prepares you to face risks in being an entrepreneur. Flexibility is the next thing an entrepreneur need. You need to have a level of fluidity to manage whatever life throws at you.

SEF360 Open Education Forum
Rohan Jayaweera – Co-Founder/Director/COO of Antyra Solutions talking about his journey as an entrepreneur

Lastly, its about staying hungry. It’s not about not eating. Rather it’s about always pushing yourself and to never be satisfied and fall into a comfort zone.

Rohan shared a few life stories at SEF360 Open Education Forum of how he got through university life doing odd jobs. Each of these jobs presented their own situations and problems. He found a way to overcome each situation and shared that this is something that an entrepreneur would definitely face in his/her life.

Being an entrepreneur is not an easy job

Sales is definitely your primary area of focus as an entrepreneur, shared Rohan. He went on to share that no one actually taught him all this. Rather, he learned it all by himself. Rohan also emphasized that as an entrepreneur, it’s important to distinguish between what’s nice to have and what you definitely need to have.

SEF360 Open Education Forum
Rohan continuing his session

Not understanding how finance and cashflow works can greatly affect your business. You need to be constantly on the lookout for that next trending wave. Once you have identified it, you then need to make sure that you have everything in place to make the best use of it.

Rohan shared that there is no need to rush things. You can take your time and achieve your goals. You can spend time understanding how the world works. If you think you’re not ready, take your time.

What can be the future of education?

Following Rohan’s session, things took a more interactive spin at the SEF360 Open Education Forum. A team from Without Borders divided the audience into groups. The focus of the session was design thinking. Following an introduction to what design thinking is, the groups were asked to propose what they think classrooms would be like in the year 2030.

SEF360 Open Education Forum
The last session at the SEF360 Open Education Forum was a panel discussion on the future of education

The last session at the SEF360 Open Education Forum was a panel discussion. The topic of the discussion revolved around open education. As such, a number of issues were addressed. These revolved around issues faced by both students and teachers as well. The audience offered their comments as well.

SEF360 Open Education Forum
The audience too took part in the panel discussion at the SEF360 Open Education Forum

One of the other points discussed here is that while technology has enabled a lot of good, it has also depleted the attention span of students today. One comment was that the attention span wasn’t adequate anyway. A solution to overcome this was to adopt to the modern environments.

Bringing the SEF360 Open Education Forum to a close

Ms. Vishaka Nanayakkara – Senior Lecturer at Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Moratuwa shared that one of her students had told her that sometimes she dozes off at class. The student would just wonder on the phone for a while and get back to the lecture. With a few more questions answered, the SEF360 Open Education Forum drew to a close.

If you would like to know more about the SEF and how you can help out, you can check out their website and Facebook page.

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