Mobile Learning Week 2019
UNESCO IICBA participated in Mobile Learning Week 2019 (MLW 2019) organized by UNESCO-HQ in Paris 4-8 March 2019. MLW 2019 is a UN flagship ICT in Education event. The theme of this year is Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Sustainable Development. IICBA was represented by Dr. Temechegn Engida, Program Officer and Ms. Jingxin Bao, Consultant, at the event. Ms. Jingxin presented IICBA's work towards AI-ready education and lifelong learning systems at the Symposium held from 6 to 7 March and participated in the Strategic Lab on Using AI to Support Teachers and Teacher Development on 8 March. Dr. Temechegn attended the Strategic Lab on AI in Education Readiness Index to elaborate on how UNESCO-HQ and IICBA supported the Ethiopian Government to develop a national ICT in education policy.
In addition, IICBA organized side events with partners and UNESCO colleagues in promoting AI for teachers in Africa with ProFuturo Foundation, Global Digital Library (GDL) team and others. IICBA also worked on reviewing the Policy Guidelines for AI in Education that was shared to participants during a workshop on ICT in Education Policy and Master Plan Development in Ethiopia in mid-February 2019.
Enhancing the Global Digital Library through Artificial Intelligence
UNESCO organized, during the Mobile Learning Week (MLW2019), a Side Event on 6 March 2019 entitled “Global Digital Library: Prototyping new reading experiences with AI” in line with the theme of MLW2019: Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development.
The side event was moderated by Ms. Liv Marte Kristiansen Nordhaug, Senior Advisor for NORAD, and facilitated by Mr. Christer Gundersen, Chief Technology Officer of the Global Digital Library. Dr. Temechegn Engida, Program Officer at UNESCO IICBA, provided the input on the GDL launch in April 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the GDL testing in February 2019 in Hawassa, Ethiopia.
Both Ms. Nordhaug and Mr. Gundersen were present for the GDL launch in Addis Ababa and Mr. Gundersen was the main technical person at the GDL testing workshop in Hawassa at the Hawassa College of Teacher Education (HCTE).
The Side Event on prototyping the new GDL reading experiences with artificial intelligence was focused on the potential of key technological tools such as Google Assistant (in its early stage but tested in Ethiopia), Microsoft Cognitive Services, Translation Assistant in selected languages (tested in Ethiopia), and Image-processing algorithms to smartly identify, caption, index and moderate one’s pictures and videos.
Participants of the Side Event raised several issues including the need to address non-formal education participants, consider higher levels of education, the role of teachers and parents in the utilization of the GDL materials, technological affordability for people with different economic status and access to infrastructure. The facilitators stressed the fact that the materials are available in PDF formats in the GDL site (https://digitallibrary.io/) and can be printed and distributed to as many stakeholders as possible with no cost to the developers of the content or the platform.
Dr. Temechegn stressed the fact that UNESCO IICBA, given its mandate on teacher development, has strategically tested the GDL materials and its approaches on teacher educators and pre-service teachers of HCTE to showcase that the GDL should not simply be used as reading material but as a pedagogical approach employed by teachers to enhance students’ learning. He also stressed that the focus on teacher education colleges with pre-service teachers will serve as a cascading approach since the pre-service teachers will in a short time span begin applying the GDL approach with children in schools.