Global Smart Education Conference 2021: Futures of Education


The social transformation of the intelligence era generates new demands on future education. In response to these demands, countries and international organizations are exploring new paths to adapt to the intelligence age. With a focus on identifying the promise of futures of education, Beijing Normal University (BNU) and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), extensively supported by higher education institutions and distinguished field experts, held the 2021 Global Smart Education Conference on 18 – 20 August 2021. Totally the Conference received more than 5,050,000 views from 13 different live stream channels.

Opening Remarks

At the opening session of the first day’s conference, Dr. Stefania Giannini made the opening remarks from the view of the effective and equitable usage of technologies, which has taken center stage in education policy debates.

From the perspective of UNESCO, the design and usage of technology should be in the service of people, to enhance human capacity, to protect human rights, and to ensure sustainable development, which is also the core values promoted by The Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, to be adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in November 2021. Smart learning and the future of education come with major ethical responsibilities. Cooperating with partners, UNESCO is committed to a more balanced regulation that supports public governance.

Dr. Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education

Joint Project on Smart Education

UNESCO IITE with Beijing Normal University (BNU), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Higher School of Economics (HSE) collaboratively launched the joint project at the Conference. The project “Rethinking and Redesigning National Smart Education Strategy” (SmartEDU) aims to explore the solution of infusing technology into education.

On August 18th, 2021, the first day of the 2021 Global Smart Education Conference, Professor Ronghuai Huang, Dean of Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, introduced the ongoing process of this joint project from the perspective of Sustainable Development Goals from United Nations and education at the post-COVID-19 era.

The project’s final deliverables will include:

  • Review of policies on ICT in education for futures of education
  • The framework of national smart education
  • The rationales to design the assessment and monitoring
  • The smart campus: typical models
  • The national public service system for education: typical public services for smart learning

For more information on the project, please refer to the SmartEDU brochure.

On August 19, a sub-forum with the theme of “New Ecology of Regional Smart Education” was held to discuss the development of smart education in regions of China. Experts from the eight areas shared China’s stories and experiences in the smart education construction at the “New Ecology of Regional Smart Education Forum”.

To read more about experience of China on smart education, please refer to the document.