New Delhi: The UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) successfully concludes the third edition of its annual global Ed-Tech conference, Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH 2019) today. The three-day conference held between 10 – 12 December at Visakhapatnam, saw attendance of 1000 delegates from 29 countries giving insightful sessions on the three themes. Transformative Pedagogies for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL); Reimagining Learning Spaces for Planetary Citizenship & Data, Learning & Education – Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The aim of the conference is to facilitate collaboration between latest in neuroscience research, best on offer digital pedagogies and science of learning, in order to build peaceful and sustainable societies.
The highlight of the event was the collaboration of over 1000 diverse stakeholders that UNESCO MGIEP brought together to deliberate on the importance of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in education systems. TECH 2019 witnessed series of engaging keynotes, panel discussions, knowledge talks putting youth at the center of the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
At the opening ceremony, Prof Anantha Duraiappah, Director UNESCO MGIEP delivered his annual TECH talk on the role of digital technologies in enabling a shift from “transmissive pedagogies” to “transformative pedagogies”. “The response for TECH 2019 has been phenomenal and it is a testimony to the rising need to mainstream Social Emotional Learning (SEL). We will continue to deepen our discussions year-on-year to create a movement of inspired and empowered youth to achieve sustainable development”.
He further added, “UNESCO MGIEP is committed to drive change at all levels and therefore for the first time we have invited a group of young students (age-group of 8 -15) for their views to shape the current and future education environment. He emphasized on the “need to listen to the younger generation and understand the interplay between our emotions and behavior and how SEL can help us train our emotional brain to guide behavioral change. Reading about compassion will not make s person compassionate, one has to practice it.” The children’s panel was organised for the first time in order to design the future of education systems through their lenses. UNESO MGIEP invited these change makers with the aim of breaking age barriers and learning from learners themselves. Some of the other highlights of the session were around the role of wholesome assessments, need for community-based approaches to drive change through collaboration, use of emerging technologies such as AI and Machine Learning that have the potential to drive behavioral change for future change makers.
The conference brought together some of the world’s foremost experts who spoke about the significance of emotional intelligence in their respective domains. Richard Davidson, Founder at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reinstated the key components of well-being. Jon Ramer, Founder of Compassion Games International talked about the importance of behavioral change by spreading the fire of compassion. Dan Shefet, Founder, Association for Accountability and Internet Democracy shared his insights on hate speech and the obligations of teachers to educate students in consideration of the moral and regulatory framework. Yvonne Liao, the partner and CSO of Squirrel AI Learning, shared her views on how AI can be a powerful tool to transform role of teachers. Prof Michael Witbrock from The University of Auckland spoke on common sense in the age of AI.
Some of the companies that participated included Microsoft, Dell, Samsung, HP and Adobe among a gamut of other leading companies. TECH 2019 aims at drawing a blueprint for harnessing pedagogical possibilities opened by digital technologies, in order to contribute to enabling a revolutionary shift in education from individual content acquisition to collaborative intelligence.