December 16 – 18, 2017 | Novotel Varun Beach, Visakhapatnam, INDIA
The three-day Transforming Education Conference for Humanity (TECH) 2017 organised by UNESCO MGIEP was held at Novotel Varun Beach, Visakhapatnam from December 16 – 18, 2017, focused on digital pedagogies for building peaceful and sustainable societies – through 21st century skills, schools and policies. The conference was attended by over 1,700 registered participants (including teachers, educators, learners, technology and gaming experts, amongst others) from more than 75 countries and witnessed highly engaging deliberations on the future of education, particularly on the innovative methods of teaching using technology. Over the 3 days, TECH comprised of 2 Headline Sessions, including that of award-winning Prof. Sugata Mitra, over 50 catalytic speakers, 100+ presenter sessions and a dedicated Learning and Startup Zone. TECH 2017 was supported by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India.
The first day of the Conference witnessed an exciting opening ceremony, graced by the Honourable Chief Minister of the State of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Dr. Satya Pal Singh, Honourable Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India and Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO (on video). Addressing a full house at the TECH 2017, Sri Naidu expressed that “education is a key factor for any development” and added that “nothing can be achieved without education”. He further articulated the importance of technology in education and voiced his commitment to the future of education through digital pedagogies. Post his talk, Sri Naidu officially inaugurated the Learning & Startup Zone of TECH, which comprised immersive technologies by startups and other leading organisations in the field of education and technology such as Microsoft India, Samsung and Veative.
The Opening Ceremony also witnessed the signing of two key Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs); the first MOU was signed between UNESCO MGIEP and the Economic Development Board of Andhra Pradesh to establish a “Games and Digital Learning Hub” while the second MOU was for the establishment of a strategic partnership between Samsung India and UNESCO MGIEP to launch Virtual Reality (VR) content and 360 films on two Indian Heritage Sites, the Sun Temple in Konark and the Taj Mahal in India. Additionally in a long term strategic partnership with the State Government of Andhra Pradesh, UNESCO MGIEP will work towards setting up a school for Difference Learning in Andhra Pradesh by 2018.
The Ceremony was followed by a highly engaging 15 minute TECH talk by Dr. Anantha Duraiappah, Director, UNESCO MGIEP who spoke of the concept of flipping education and of embracing technology as a pedagogy. Dr. Duraiappah expressed that “technology should not be seen just as a delivery platform but as a pedagogical tool.”
Following the TECH talk was a highly disruptive panel titled ‘We don’t need no Education’, with a diverse set of panellists including Prof. Sugata Mitra, Ms. Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilhe, Diplomat and Jordan Shapiro, world-renowned thought leader on global education – all of who debated their thought-provoking views on the goal of education. In addition, various breakout sessions were held by presenters during the day on varying themes from “The use of Artificial Intelligence in Distributed Co-Learning” to “Teaching History through Digital Fabrication”.
Day 2 of TECH commenced with an exciting debate through UNESCO MGIEP’s flagship event, Talking Across Generations of Education (TAGe) that provided a platform to youth and policy-makers to exchange views on whether “technology increase or decrease the inequality gap in education”. TAGe was followed by a captivating talk by Prof. Sugata Mitra on “The Future of Learning” during which Prof. Mitra expressed the requirement of “learner-centric education”. Further, day 2 of TECH witnessed various engaging catalytic sessions as well as breakout sessions, debates and keynote sessions on digital pedagogies and neural learning as well as design thinking as a strategy for innovation. Eminent speakers included Kaushik Bellani, Managing Director – McGraw Hill Education India Pvt. Ltd., Vinnie Jauhari, Director – Education Advocacy, Microsoft and Sylvia Martinez, Co-author of Invent to Learn, Making, Tinkering and Engineering the Classroom.
The last day of the Conference witnessed a talk by Heather Knight, Assistant Professor of Robotics at Oregon State University on ‘Developing Charismatic Robots for the Real World’. During her presentation, Prof. Knight presented by her Robot, Ginger, who kept the audience highly engaged.
The Valedictory Ceremony, held on Day 3 to close the Conference, was graced by the Honourable Minister of Human Resource Development, State of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Ganta Srinivasa Rao as well as Y.S. Chowdary, Honourable Minister of State for Ministry of Science & Technology & Earth Sciences. Sri Ganta Rao expressed his commitment to the future of education through digital pedagogies and declared the state Government’s support to institutionalise the TECH as an annual event. He expressed that he would be “keen to see the various methods that UNESCO MGIEP will bring up in the future to advance its efforts”.
TECH was sponsored by Microsoft India (Education Technology Partner), Samsung India, Dassault Systems, Veative (Immersive Learning Partner) and McGraw Hill (Learning Science Partner). The Knowledge Partners of the Conference included NMIMS, Ubisoft, Quebec Government, ISTE, Social Alpha, EDB and IYC.