This week marked the sixth annual global education and skills forum; an initiative by the Varkey Foundation where education practitioners, policy makers and distinguished members of international organizations get together to discuss pressing issues in global education. This year’s theme was how to prepare learners today for 2030 and beyond. This year, entrepreneurship was highlighted via the Next Billion EdTech Prize where initiatives in education from around the globe were featured for the work and change they try to make in global education. On behalf of the KDSL Global team, I attended this year’s forum and got to engage in interesting conversations with some of the speakers and delegates from around the world. If you didn’t make it to the forum this year, no worries! Here are some common insights we observed emerging among speakers and sessions:
1. The Incorporation of Augmented and Virtual Reality in Pedagogy Design Should Be Prioritized:
Not limited to STEM, AR and VR should be part of today’s learning. Immersive learning, in order to be effective, should aim for exposing students to digital storytelling as a step forward to teaching empathy and global citizenship. Such technologies, then, need to be looked as a learning experience rather than a tool in order to reach the desired outcomes of 2030. Teachers and school leaders should plan for professional development experiences that support envisioning teaching in light with EdTech. Here is an interesting article you might want to read on the topic, and if you are wondering how the future in emerging economies would look like, you might want to join Mr. Fiebeg; the Co-Founder of Coders Trust in a virtual journey here.
2. The Role of Socio-emotional Intelligence in Promoting Innovation and Well-being:
Almost all sessions pressed on that education should aim for preparing independent empathetic learners who are empowered with skills and attitudes that are core to solving local and global issues. With the skills gap that employers have reported in several studies, fresh graduates seem to lack the soft skills that enable them to be innovative and more understanding of the global market’s needs. For that, many speakers stressed the importance for paying more attention to emotional intelligence in school communities. I personally enjoyed this session on teaching young people empathy and why it is needed now.
To read the complete post from our KDSL Global Teacher Fellow Hiba Ibrahim visit
Makers Builders is a program that trains young people in the field of technology. I had the chance to interview Amir Yazdanpanah, founder and CEO, and asked him some questions about his company’s focus and direction.
How important do you believe these technology skills are to the growth of the next generation?
Technology and science continue to play a rapidly growing role when it comes to everything that consumers purchase and corporates create. Therefore future jobs will require a skilled workforce that is not only able to use technology but also knows how to create and innovate with it.
Are there any advancements or new technologies you wish to incorporate into your program such as VR?
The phenomenally fast-paced advancements in 3D printing, coding, robotics, VR/AR, smart devices, machine learning and so on is putting stress on traditional education and teaching methods as well as curriculum content. This new generation needs to be learning a lot of new skills in order to be ready for the next generation of jobs in 5 to 10 years. We strive to develop engaging “digital making” programs and courses that can capture the interest of children at an early age and encourage them to pursue learning paths in STEM.
What is the most important aspect to you about your programs: the fun, the education or being family oriented?
We try to make our program seem like “Edutainment” – we want it to be fun and engaging while educational at the same time. For example, coding is learned by doing. Students get to learn coding by building programs that change games they already play and are very attached to. We want to make them aware of and excited about the possibilities at their fingertips so that they be easily empowered to create. Learning about fundamentals, concepts and architecture comes with age-appropriate programs.
For more on Makers Builders visit:
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In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our tenth person to know is Jeffrey Smith.
Jeffrey Smith owns a Dubai-based business consultant specializing in K-12 education resources. He has over 15 years of experience forging partnerships with schools and organizations throughout the United States and across multiple countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Jeffrey is currently CEO of Copperstone Education. Copperstone represents the world-renowned and fully accredited Calvert Distance Learning curriculum for homeschool families and blended learning options in partnership with schools throughout the MENA region. Copperstone also offers Walkabouts by ActivEd and the Envision IELTS for Teachers program, which is thought to be the first IELTS preparation course developed specifically for teachers.
Prior to his current role, Jeffrey was Founding Director of Sylvan Learning in the UAE and Chief Operations Officer for Sylvan throughout the MENA Region. He is recognized for his extraordinary ability to develop “win-win” collaborations where the needs of all stakeholders are considered when developing solutions.
Jeffrey’s record of success also includes developing a partnership with the US Department of Defense to provide college preparation courses for military families at the Fort George Meade Army Base in the state of Maryland and his creation of several free community outreach projects here in the UAE, including Read Across the Gulf and the Community Service Initiative. Jeffrey has served on the Governing Board at North American International School for the past 5 years. He is also known for his volunteer work in the education community such as the Real Men Read campaign in the UAE.
Follow Copperstone Education here: