On Thursday, April 30, a five-hour TEDx intellectual marathon took place under the title: Chronicles of the Future. My new world: instructions for use. Ten prominent speakers from four countries shared their visions of the future with the audience.
Among the speakers was Tao Zhan, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of Commonwealth of Learning, and Jeff Maggionkalda, CEO of the Coursera, also shared their expertise. All of the experts are members of the Global Coalition for Education, initiated by UNESCO in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and they are residents of the UNESCO IITE educational platform “Keep learning. Together we are on the move!”
The event also brought together high-level experts in the field of media, marketing, IT, ecology and business. They addressed emerging issues such as digital competence of children and parents, new patterns of consuming content online, the development of career paths in the new reality, the use of artificial intelligence and possible “competition” with robots, as well as the environmental prospects of humankind in the 21st century.
In his speech, Tao Zhan, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, mentioned several important lessons the global education system learned from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted the need to recognize and explore the new opportunities that online education brings to us in order to fully enjoy and benefit from the digital transformation. Mr. Zhan suggested that education will become the universal foundation of the new digital economy. It will help us build a more flexible and inclusive society to bridge the digital divide and make learning accessible for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, social and economic status, place of residence and health condition.
The new world we are going to embrace after this pandemic will be an era with booming digital economy, digital technology and digital education, where learning opportunities and quality education will be enjoyed by everyone and everywhere through the life course. This is not just an expectation, but rather part of a new approach of development and lifestyle for us based on lessons learned from the pandemic.
Tao Zhan, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of Commonwealth of Learning, reviewed the situation regarding access to education around the world and the ability to continue training, interrupted for one reason or another at any stage. Two of the most important subjects Professor Kanwar presented to the audience were the vulnerability of women in terms of access to education and the current actualization of digital inequality.
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of the Coursera educational platform, in his presentation shared a lot of statistics. He said that compared to last year, requests for connection to courses on Coursera increased by 644%. For example, as of April 2020, the audience from Russia has reached about 2 million people. Compared to last year, it increased by 500%.
Most of the experts agreed that right now we are entering a period of the “new normal”, suggesting that online education is becoming part of the concept of blended learning, combining the advantages of online and offline approaches.
The event proved relevant and popular if we look at the number of views. The live broadcast of the conference got more than 10 thousand registrations, 9.3 thousand people watched the broadcast on YouTube, and on the Vkontakte platform there were about 150 thousand viewers. Now the full TEDx marathon is available here.