In June – July UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) has organized a mini-series of webinars for teachers of ASPnet schools and beyond within the framework of two ongoing projects – ‘Promoting ICT Capacity Building and Open Education in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies’ (by UNESCO IITE and ASPnet) and ‘Connecting schools online for inter-cultural teaching and learning’ (by UNESCO IITE and HEDU (China)). They were devoted to the use of ICTs / AI by teachers in general and for a specific purpose – for effective and engaging teaching about climate change, its consequences and ways to mitigate it.
Two of the webinars were united by the topic of a worldwide survey conducted by UNESCO IITE together with ASPnet International, Shanghai Open University and Huashi Education Group (China). The findings of the survey of over 13,000 teachers from ASpnet schools and beyond from around 50 countries that took place in late 2021 – early 2022 were presented by Dr. Wayne Holmes, Associate Professor, University College London, and consultant for the Technology and AI in Education unit at UNESCO. In his insightful presentation he not only outlined the main findings of the survey (presented in the analytical report) but also mentioned the recommendations developed on the basis of the survey findings with the aim to address the needs and aspirations of the educators across the world regarding access and mastery of ICT and AI tools for educational purposes. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion and mostly concerned the issues of access to ICTs and solutions to associated problems, the ethics around use of ICTs and especially the new AI generative tools, and the role of UNESCO and its institutes in these processes. The recording of the webinar is available here.
The second webinar connected with the abovementioned survey presented a few cases from around the world exemplifying practical cases at schools where teachers employ some advanced ICTs and AI. The webinar featured presentations about the innovative practices from schools in France, Russia, and Brazil. The presentations were followed by a Q-and-A session and a general discussion.
Finally, the third webinar under the overarching aim to connect schools and educators from across the world aimed to familiarize the participants with practical examples and experience of educators coming from different backgrounds in teaching about the topic of climate change in an engaging and inspiring way, particularly, with the use of ICTs. Featuring presentations from renowned experts in greening education and sustainable development from India and the USA as well as a presentation with a number of school initiatives dedicated to teaching about climate change, the webinar provides a wealth of sources to get inspired by.