Teaching the Future of Jobs with EdTech

Much has been written recently of the core skills which business graduates will need to succeed in future but what is already happening to start to address the future of jobs in what is now called the ‘Fourth Industrial Age’!   

When University of Waikato, Business School Lecturer Jackie Allen ‘plugged in’ an online learning experience from ‘start-up’ AccountingPod in 2016, she was looking for solutions to preparing her students to cope with the ‘pace of change’ in business today and the uncertainty of tomorrow.

Resilience and Flexibility Needed

Says Jackie “we have to build resilience and flexibility” in our students to better equip them for the current and ongoing business disruption. Jackie was looking to better engage her students with real and current tools in use in the business ecosystem while still meeting the course learning outcomes. She had already run a basic Xero course to introduce her students to the cloud but wanted to push beyond that simple exercise and needed new content, new tools and new connections to manage student learning.

Jumping the Technical Skills Gap Sooner

The AccountingPod founders, Judith Cambridge and XingDong Yan had seen the lack of ‘current applied’ business knowledge of graduates first hand, when interviewing candidates for their CA firm in New Zealand and confirmed via a survey of 500 students during 2016. Candidates were consistently demonstrating a lack of knowledge of business cloud, digital solutions and practical New Zealand business contextual knowledge which would allow them to move quickly from ‘technical compliance’ into the much needed advisory and thinking space for business. Says Judith ‘as public practice accountants we all know how the technology we use today has absolutely changed the work available for a graduate. Couple that automation with any other disruption; including offshoring, outsourcing or just training of clients to do more with these online tools, and you have to ask, ‘what are our graduates going to do’?”

Answer, “we have to help them jump the technical skills gap sooner to where they can add real value to business.”

Enter AccountingPod where students are given a ‘real financial experience’ by each having their own SME, its data both financial and non-financial, and access to unique instances of online business tools in which to practice.

Stretching Horizons

That 2016 pilot at University of Waikato was deemed a success and the course was offered again in September 2017.

Says Jackie, “as an educator, focusing on Accounting and Accounting Information Systems, I cannot overstate how energising it is to have access to a learning solution like AccountingPod.  This learning approach enables students to fully immerse themselves in a real business.  The structure of the learning portal guides students through a series of modules and tasks, which are designed to stretch their horizons.  By the end of the month-long AccountingPod experience our students have interacted with local, national and global resources in a way that allows them to bring together a wide range of skills and knowledge, developed through their tertiary study.  AccountingPod was a challenging experience and those students who fully engaged with the process thoroughly enjoyed it – that’s what education should be about!”

Gaining Behavioural Insight

Text answers in dashboard format for teacher review, auto marking, feedback and webchat support are all part of the AccountingPod experience but there is also opportunity to research insights into student online learning behaviour, an emerging area of interest to educators. See example in the total ‘time spent per day’ graph, below. The peaks generally align with each learning module closing date.


At AccountingPod, real and recent business data is used to curate unique new learning content. This experiential and applied approach to business financial capability learning represents a fresh and innovative addition to an educators toolbox in their search to equip the student of today with practical skills for tomorrows ‘future of jobs’.

AccountingPod Ltd is an EdTech [Education Technology] Company based in Queenstown NZ. They can be contacted at www.accountingpod.com

Jackie Allen is a Business School lecturer at the University of Waikato and can be contacted at  jackie.allen@waikato.ac.nz.