Mobile Learning Week, UNESCO’s flagship ICT in education conference, was held under the theme “Education in emergencies and crises” from 20 to 24 March in Paris. The event was organized by UNESCO in partnership with UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, and ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for ICT. The five-day event aimed to examine how new and affordable technologies can reinforce education in emergency and crisis contexts and expand learning opportunities for displaced people.
The core of the Mobile Learning Week (MLW) was the two-day Symposium including 76 breakout sessions, exhibitions, and a series of panel discussions with government representatives, education specialists, mobile learning experts, project managers, researchers and industry partners. They shared strategies to expand access to education and improve learning through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The workshops showcased innovative mobile learning content, technology, research and project. The strategy labs hosted by UNESCO and UNHCR partner organizations were aimed to guide the conceptualization and development of projects to strengthen education for learners in emergency and crisis contexts.
UNESCO IITE was represented by Mr. Tao Zhan and Mr. Alexander Khoroshilov who took part in a number of events and meetings within the MLW. Director of UNESCO IITE Mr. Tao Zhan moderated the panel discussion #2 “Supporting Teachers” designed to facilitate international knowledge-sharing focused on supporting teachers in refugee camps. The panel pointed out the major challenges that teachers face in the context of emergency and crisis, and brought recommendation for the use of ICT to empower teachers in refugee camps. Mr. Tao Zhan held several important meetings with colleagues from the UNESCO Headquarters as well as external partners, including the publishing house “Prosveshcheniye”, to discuss possibilities of cooperation with the Institute. IITE Governing Board chair Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, and Governing Board member Mr. Steven Duggan, Director for Worldwide Education Strategy, Microsoft, participated in the MLW 2017 as well.
A Policy Forum was held to wrap up the Mobile Learning Week on 24 March. It brought together ministers of education and ministers of ICT to speak about the changing skills required in societies that are increasingly dependent on digital technologies. UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education Mr. Qian Tang opened the Forum where participants discussed how e-skills could enable learning that advances progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including in contexts of emergencies and crisis.
The Mobile Learning Week 2017 explained innovations that leverage mobile technology to improve the learning opportunities for vulnerable children and adults, especially those who have been displaced, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. The event was designed to help global knowledge sharing and develop solutions that can be scaled to strengthen inclusion in education and keep the cycle of learning in emergencies.
More information about the Mobile Learning Week 2017 is available at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/mlw