Fifth Global Competition in Design for Future Education run under auspices of BNU and UNESCO IITE

In March 2022, UNESCO IITE and Beijing Normal University joined forces to promote the practical application of ICT in education and organized the ‘Fifth Global Competition in Design for Future Education’. The competition has been held annually since 2018, and even in the context of severe restrictions and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the events were arranged remotely by virtue of information and communication technologies.

Every year the geography of the competition is expanding, the number of its participants is growing; the quality and significance of the projects are increasing. From March to July 2022, the largest ever count of applications were submitted from over a dozen countries, including Cameroon, Canada, China, France, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, South Korea, the UK, Vietnam and others. The Final Roadshow held on 22-24 July 2022 and organized separately for schoolteachers and university and college students, featured 77 and 15 teams, accordingly.

In the nominations ‘Artificial Intelligence and Education’, ‘Metaverse and Education’, ‘Education in Rural Areas’, ‘Inclusive Education’, teams of schoolteachers received 10 First, 24 Second and 43 Third Prizes. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Prizes awarded six student teams and nine teams received Outstanding Prizes.

The topic of the use of metaverses in education aroused the greatest interest among the participants. Within this nomination five projects were presented in the Final Roadshow for students. The second most popular topic was ‘Inclusive Education’ – four projects.

In his closing speech, Director of UNESCO IITE Mr Tao Zhan congratulated the winners on their brilliant results, noting the innovative nature of the projects and the spirit of cooperation displayed by the participants. He also praised the contribution of Beijing Normal University and NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited  to the transformation of education with the benefit of intelligent technology. In partnership with UNESCO IITE, Beijing Normal University and NetDragon are implementing projects in the field of smart learning, contributing to the quality development of the future education through building and strengthening teacher capacity with the help of AI and digital technologies.

Oleg Akimov, Program Specialist of the UNESCO IITE Teacher Professional Development and Networking Unit, was one of the five jury members of the student Final Roadshow. In his comments, he highly appreciated the participants’ innovative ideas and solutions, while noting the need to pay special attention to the integration of AI achievements into pedagogical practice and inclusive education. In his address, Mr Akimov emphasized that it is essential for international organizations and universities to press forward research project activities among students around the world.

The best thematic projects of the competition will be included in the E-Library, an online platform for educators in English and Russian, created by UNESCO IITE and NetDragon with the meaningful support of Beijing Normal University. The ultimate goal of the E-library project is to provide teachers around the world with open access to high quality and meaningful educational resources.

In conclusion, the organizers of the competition thanked the participants and expressed their hope for the successful application of the new knowledge and practices in educational and research activities.