Erika Twani

Erika Twani

CEO, Learning One to One Foundation

Erika Twani is the Chief Executive Officer and a founding partner of Learning One to One. After years of experience in the technology industry applied to education and seeing the difference that personalized education can make to students’ lives, she joined experts to start up Learning One to One. She leads the organization to provide a personalized, life-long learning system that develops all individuals' potential, impacting their social and economic opportunities, and their country’s growth. Under her leadership, Learning One to One expanded into five countries to serve over 30,000 students in the Public Education System.   

Prior to Learning One to One, Ms. Twani was the Education Industry Director for Microsoft Latin America’s Multi-Country region, responsible for the company’s sales and marketing in the education industry and the citizenship program Partners in Learning, which enables 90,000 teachers per year in the use of technology. Prior to that, Ms. Twani was responsible for Education in Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential Group, a program that combines advanced technologies and strong partnerships with governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), educational institutions, and technology and service partners, to enable technology to reach underserved communities globally. 

Under her leadership, Microsoft has increased sales by 154% for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) segment in Chile, through successful sales campaigns and customer adoption of new education products, an initiative that was later spread worldwide among Microsoft. She also created and launched a sales model via undergraduate students in Brazil, reaching a total of 6,000 registered members.  

 Ms. Twani, a recipient of the Microsoft Circle of Excellence Award, is a speaker at national and international conferences on the topics of educational technology, school reform and strategic leadership, has represented Microsoft in engagement with government officials in Latin America, such as Ministers and Presidents, and has co-authored and published three papers about the use of technology in education. Ms. Twani has over 20 years of international experience in sales, marketing, and profit and loss management and started her career with Microsoft in 2005 as a Regional Sales Manager for the Enterprise Partners organization within Latin America.    

Prior to Microsoft, Ms. Twani worked with multinational Oracle in charge of License Management for its Latin America operations. In this role, she directed 26% of the total license revenue for the region and to over exceed her yearly revenue and EBIT plan by 10% throughout her four year tenure. Erika also implemented a partner program in the entire region, increasing sales by 35% with no added cost. She was a business owner in Brazil, prior to Oracle. Her company grew from five to 300 employees in six years, and from zero to US$60M in sales in the same period.  

 Ms. Twani has served in advisory boards, such as Florida International University’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center and currently serves at the GlobalMindED International Advisory Board.  

Erika Twani resides in Florida, USA.  She is originally from Brazil where she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering from the Brasília Catholic University.  She also holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the Jones International University in Colorado, a Partnership Brokering International Certification, and The ExecRanks Certificate of Continuing Board Education.  

How can education support students to flourish?

Helping students to flourish is to help them realize their potential while balancing their lives to find a constant stream of happiness. What is “potential”? Potential is the combination of skills that makes one unique and unlocks the infinite value of each person. Thus, skill development is of essence to accelerate the process of unleashing students’ full potential. We must understand though, students themselves are the only ones that can develop their personal skills. Our job as educators is to give them the right tools to create the intrinsic motivation for them to do so. After all, the word education comes from the Latin word “Educo,” which means “to draw out, to develop from within, to bring forth from within.” 

In Daniel Pink’s research about what motivates people, he found that there are three factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery and purpose. Autonomy is being self-directed, the ability to make our own decisions. Charles Duhigg shares in his book Smarter, Faster, Better: “a group of Columbia University psychologists wrote in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences in 2010, ‘the need for control is a biological imperative.’ When people believe they are in control, research shows that they work harder, are more resilient and push themselves more. Each choice - no matter how small - reinforces the perception of control and self-efficacy,” the Columbia researchers published.  

Therefore, we need to deliberately empower students to plan, take action, make decisions, change courses of action, and transform themselves while guiding them towards becoming autonomous learners. Having the control of their learning motivates students to achieve mastery, the “I-can-do-this” attitude. In this journey to get better at something, students develop key skills, such as resilience. Autonomy and mastery combined to a purpose is the ultimate intrinsic motivation force that will keep students learning regardless of the resources they have access to. The journey is no longer a pain when students have designed their own destination. Then, they will flourish.  

What role does innovation play in education change?

This question can be answered in two ways: (1) the impact that innovation in general has in education; or (2) the transformation of education comes through innovation. 

If we consider the innovation we are living now, it has to do with technology. More specifically, the vast amount of data available today gives room to Artificial Intelligence (AI). So how can we effectively use AI in education? I am currently writing a book about it, stay tuned. Here is an excerpt: 

"In the past, only humans could do certain work. Now computers recognize patterns faster than humans do and therefore, anything that can be in the form of an algorithm will have the potential to replace humans. Various professions will lose their economic value, thus we need more than ever the ability to recreate ourselves. We have the opportunity to enable children to create, regardless of the pathway they choose for their future; and to foster non-hackable beings, as everything else around them is hackable.  

Will AI ever replace educators? Though AI is growing – and will continue to grow – significantly, there has not been advancement on computer consciousness. Even if computers were to gain it, our human consciousness has a stronger power yet for us to understand it completely. AI may replace educators on repetitive tasks. Nevertheless, AI will never replace the human connection between educators and children. Educators are not only teachers, but also parents and others relating to children."

"We are at an inflexion point in history where we can shift the use of AI in Education into the right direction. For that, we must make the right choices when deciding which technology to use in our schools. The right use of AI develops students’ agency, personalizes students’ learning process rather than content, and have the ultimate goal of developing competencies and habits of mind, which will be part of students’ lives. We must ignore any technology offering more of the same, such as regurgitation of content, old metrics, or student dependency. 

 Until now, students had access to resources available in schools and technology with vertical content. AI opens the horizons of knowledge, entices their minds to ask more questions, and to explore what they have not thought about. The difference between the DNA of chimps and humans is only 2%, and yet this little difference allows us to be the intelligent species we are. Perhaps AI will enable us to reach the next level of intelligence, the next 2%, to ask questions we do not yet know to ask, to expose us to knowledge, which already exists, and it is yet not discovered. "All creation waits with eager longing for the revealing through the sons of men," Albert Einstein."