Published: 19th November 2018
Tech and how: TECH 2018 will show us the strength and the need for digital learning
The second of five great TECHs to be conducted over a period of five years is a few days away
The second edition of Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH) is here. UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in New Delhi has joined hands with the Government of Andhra Pradesh again to conduct this conference from November 15 to 17 at Hôtel Novotel Visakhapatnam Varun Beach. The aim of this conference is to show how games and digital learning can be game changers when it comes to education. This edition is going to see speakers like Jessica Lindl, Global Head of Education at Unity Technologies and Peter Vesterbacka, the man behind Angry Birds among others. We catch up with Dr Anantha K Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP, who will be speaking at the event, about what we can expect from TECH.
In TECH 2018, what have you done differently from the first conference?
TECH 2017 was the first and we kept it broad. For the first time, there was a forum for discussing digital pedagogies and the digital world as a transformative mechanism, and not just a transmissive tool; it had breadth but little depth. In 2018, we will focus on a few key thematic areas for a much deeper analysis. We intend to draw attention to the use of Artificial Intelligence in education, the issue of privacy and data, the role of gaming in education and also if there is a need for developing a guideline on the digital educational material to ensure quality and consistency. Substantial discussions on the thematic areas, apart from a strong policy dimension, can be expected. A Vizag Declaration is expected which calls for guidelines to be developed for digital educational material.
We are excited about your TECH Talk. What can we expect?
It will explore the concept of the Internet of Education that ensures personalised learning in a fun, immersive, interactive and experiential manner is given to our children. The talk will not just end with some of my thoughts and ideas but with the launch of UNESCO MGIEP’s CHI — Collective Human Intelligence.
We need to move away from rote learning, assessments and exams and a move towards making learning fun and relevant. We need to allow children to explore, make mistakes and learn at their own pace and in areas that stir their passion and imagination
Dr Anantha K Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP
What will it take to take digital learning to the grassroots levels?
Unless we provide access to digital learning to all children, the inequality gap across our children will only grow larger. We need three fundamental transitions. First, the cost of digital devices and the internet. The downward trend in both areas is inevitable and we are witnessing this. The second is the development of high-quality digital content for students. The last is the change in mindsets of educators whereby the role of the teacher changes from one who holds the knowledge to one who acts as a coach and facilitator for knowledge generation and building intelligence.
Where do you see digital learning in India 20 years down the line?
Every child will have a personal bot that helps the child learn, overcome obstacles and gets continuously assessed not by exams but through real-time feedback; all this driven by an AI platform built on the Collective Human Intelligence of all learners from around the world.
What can we expect next from UNESCO MGIEP?
The International Youth Campaign on Kindness for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will keep us busy at least until 2030, when the SDGs agenda comes to an end. MGIEP will continue to organise its lecture series and its Ahimsa Dialogues held on October 2 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to celebrate the international day of non-violence and the Mahatma’s birthday. But what is key for MGIEP will be to scale-up its activities for building the emotional intelligence of all learners. This means firing the Gandhi neurons in our neural networks and build the whole ‘being’.
Three changes he wishes to see in the education system:
- Teacher mindsets and embracing the power of digital pedagogies
- The quality of digital material is assessed by a set of guidelines developed by the community
- The notion that education is a social good and that the beginnings of the Internet of Education are set in motion
For more on the conference, click on mgiep.unesco.org/tech2018