On 4–8 March 2019, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (France) hosted Mobile Learning Week (MLW) – UNESCO’s annual flagship ICT in education event, organized in partnership with the International Telecommunication Union, ProFuturo Foundation and Skillogs. This year the event focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications for sustainable development.
MLW 2019 started with the ‘Global Conference – Principles for AI: Towards a Humanistic Approach?’, opened by Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, and Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Conference participants reached a clear consensus on the need to ensure a human-centred governance of artificial intelligence.
The MLW 2019 programme also featured Policy Forum, International Symposium, Workshops and Strategy Labs.
The key discussions and presentations within MLW 2019 focused on four major subject areas:
- Ensuring inclusive and equitable use of AI in education – actions on how to address inequalities related to socio-economic status, gender, ethnicity and geographic location; identify successful projects or proven effective AI solutions to break through barriers for vulnerable groups to access quality education.
- Leveraging AI to enhance education and learning – improve education management systems, AI-boosted learning management systems or other AI in education applications; and identify new forms of personalized learning that can support teachers and tackle education challenges.
- Promoting skills development for jobs and life in the AI era – support the design of local, regional and international strategies and policies; and explore how AI-powered mobile technology tools can support skills development and innovation.
- Safeguarding transparent and auditable use of education data – analyse how to mitigate the risks and perils of AI in education; identify and promote sound evidence for policy formulation guaranteeing accountability; and adopt algorithms that are transparent and explainable to education stakeholders.
UNESCO IITE in cooperation with the Section of Education for Inclusion and Gender Equality and ABBYY 3A Company held a Workshop “Artificial intelligence and Inclusion: Why it matters for reaching of SDGs?”. The main goal of the Workshop was to reveal the potential of AI-based solutions for inclusion, to discuss its benefits, including education of vulnerable groups, as well as to recognize possible risks of its implementation. Ms. Svetlana Botkina – Chief of the Assistive Technology Development and Application Unit of the Cultural and Sport Rehabilitation Centre of All-Russian Association of the Blind, delivered a report “AI application for visually impaired persons: case-study of the Russian Federation”. The Workshop offered examples of the new AI-based tools for educational environment and created a good platform for sharing experiences and best practices on providing various groups of students with quality and accessible education.
During the International Symposium – the summit event of Mobile Learning Week, UNESCO IITE presented its best practices and advances in promoting media and information literacy in the AI era. Digital service and social network algorithms, based on AI technologies, machine learning and big data, drastically alter human communication and information environment. In this respect, the process of deepening knowledge, skills and attitudes, which enable efficiency and maintain pivotal autonomy, takes on a greater importance. The online course on media and information literacy for educators, currently developed by UNESCO IITE, will allow for building new competencies in the informal learning environment.
Within MLW 2019, UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education signed the Agreement with Huashi Education (Hainan) Co., Ltd. (China) on the implementation of the joint project: Connecting Schools Online for Inter-Cultural Teaching and Learning: IITE – UNESCO Associated Schools Network Pilot Project for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Countries. The Project aims at establishing a successful intercultural dialogue between participants of the educational processes in different countries through the use of ICT potential, including interactive and online tools, by schools. The Project will be executed at the targeted UNESCO Associated Schools (ASPnet).
More information about MLW 2019 is available at the UNESCO official website.