Conference IITE-2010 – step towards the Knowledge Society

The International Conference IITE-2010 “ICTs in Teacher Education: Policy Development, OER and Partnership”, organized by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education and the UNESCO Moscow Office, was held in Saint-Petersburg, the Russian Federation, on 15th and 16th of November 2010. The Conference was organized in close cooperation with the Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, the St. Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation and the St. Petersburg State University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics and with support of CISCO Company.

In his welcome speech Prof. Bernard Cornu, Chairperson of the IITE Governing Board, underlined the importance of the topics raised at the Conference, showing his appreciation of the results achieved by the Institute and wishing IITE further success at the new stage of its development.

“For UNESCO education is indeed a proclaimed right in the modern world which is developing at a breakneck speed. The information society based on new technologies should lead us to the 'Knowledge Society'. I believe that our Conference will contribute to the development of the modern education system based on the use of ICTs”, said Dendev Badarch, a.i. Director of IITE.

The International Conference IITE-2010 has become a platform for open dialogue between policy makers, teachers, experts from public and private sectors, and representatives of educational, scientific and professional institutions and organizations. The total number of participants representing 24 countries amounted to 115; of them 63 experts, 15 representatives of UNESCO Chairs, 16 participants from IT-companies and non-governmental professional organizations delivered presentations at the Conference.

At plenary and thematic sessions the participants discussed opportunities for further development of ICT usage in teacher training, importance of promotion of open educational resources (OER), open education and improvement of pedagogic practices. They also outlined the perspectives of establishing partnership between IITE, UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs and leading IT-companies in the field of ICT usage in education. Furthermore, they discussed an initiative of creating an International Master’s programme “ICT in teachers’ training”.

The Education For All Global Monitoring Report confirms that yet today, the number and quality of teachers, teaching practice and teacher education are facing serious systemic challenges across the world. The participants of the Conference were unanimous that in the modern society free access to education should be guaranteed to everyone, including persons with special needs and indigenous people.

The quality of teachers and their continuing professional education and training remain central to the achievement of quality education. Use of ICTs in education, as for example application of e- and m-learning, world informational and educational resources, including OER, may significantly improve the current situation. UNESCO supports and implements initiatives which address these challenges through a holistic, systemic approach to education and teacher development systems in ways that also incorporate the enabling role of ICT.

In this regard, IITE was highly appreciated as a medium and provider of best practices in this sphere, big interest being shown to its series of publications on best practices of ICT usage in education across the world.

Key recommendations on improvement of teachers’ training and development of ICT application in education, IT-literacy and OER dissemination as well as on establishing partnership between IITE, UNESCO Chairs and UNESCO ASPnet Schools and leading IT-companies working in the field of distance learning and ICTs in education were made in the final Resolution of the Conference.

Conference programme and materials: