Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the Education World Forum (#EWF2016), which was held in London, England, right before BETT2016, the world’s largest edtech exhibition. Attendees included country education ministers and their senior advisors, representing over 80 percent of the world’s population, in order to debate future education policy. Dozens more participated from around the world—from Indonesia to South Africa to Korea and Norway—in a live online forum (that actually worked!) to kick off the event.
Amongst the many, many inspirations I gained from listening to the conversations was the realization that the same exact edtech issues facing schools here in the United States affect teachers and students across the globe. In Sudan, educators struggle with mobile device management. In the UK, worries about data, standardized testing, and assessment abound. In Nicaragua, education leaders are concerned that technology may be hindering student creativity and character instead of enabling it. At the same time, many countries have come up with solutions as well. For instance, Egypt has created a national Internet Service Provider platform that ensures access to every one of its students.
Unfortunately, I was embarrassed by the absence of any official US participation at the Forum. Not only could the many district success stories we cover every month help other countries with their initiatives, we could also learn a lot from them. For our part, I have asked Michael Trucan, Senior Education & Technology Policy Specialist for the World Bank, to come on board as a Tech & Learning advisor, to assist us in gaining a more global perspective. Look for his work to appear on techlearning.com and in the magazine in future issues.
— Kevin Hogan