Call for Demos extended

The UNESCO Chair for Education and Technology for Social Change is extending the period to present demos for its X International Seminar until October 7:

Revisiting the Fundamentals of Traditional Curricula
R/Evolution: what “R” would mean for Education

Showcase your innovative project or experiment in educational practice related to design or delivery of Curriculum, including metholodgies and assessment. Presenting a demo is an excellent opportunity to make an informative and relevant case out of it, to share your results, successful practice, but also your doubts.

We expect the presentations to be specific and practical, rather than theoretical or analytical, and address any level of education. In particular, the seminar organizers are keen to receive proposals that:

  • Are based on or supported by research (or not!)
  • Demonstrate an experimental or alternative approach to coursework, curriculum, assessment, etc.
  • Are related to issues of social inclusion and development
  • Stimulate and provoke a good discussion

For more information, visit the Seminar’s website: 

Today: International Literacy Day 2014 [UPDATED]

According to the latest OECD’s report, even in developed countries where access to higher education is widening, people are falling short of high levels of skills; other trends is that social mobility is slowing down. UK is a case in point and is said to face a skill gap which is bigger when it comes to numeracy.

Read more: UK has more graduates but without skills and social mobility to match


Literacy plays a crucial role in the creation of prosperous and peaceful societies. As an exemple to address the global problem of illiteracy which strikes many regions within the developing world and frustrates their development perspectives, the 2000 Dakar Framework for Action set the goal to increase literacy levels worldwide by 50 percent by the year 2015. Yet millions of adults and young learners around the world continue to struggle with low reading, writing and math skills. What proven innovative practices might be brought to scale?

Debate at WISE 2013 Summit

X International Seminar: Registration is Open!

The theme of this year is

Revisiting the fundamentals of traditional curricula.
R / Evolution: what “R” would mean for Education.

You can now register here.

The UNESCO Chair in Education & Technology for Social Change is pleased to host its X annual International Seminar. It will take place on December 1-2, 2014 in Barcelona, at the Barcelona Growth Centre (former “MediaTIC”)

The website of the X International Seminar is functional but it is still under construction. There you will find the Call for Papers and this year’s topics, among others.

To see updates, visit us often! 

First ladies Obama and Bush urge African leaders to educate, empower women and girls

Click to watch video
Click to watch video

In a conversation at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with former first lady Laura Bush, Michelle Obama shared her personal success story and the important role education played in her life.

“I am an African American woman”, she noted, “and there’s nothing in my life that would indicate that I would be sitting on this stage with a former First Lady and the most renowned journalist and every first spouse in Africa. My parents believed in the value of education, even though they were not educated themselves.  And they pushed my brother and I to do the best that we could do.”

Likewise, Mrs. Bush stated that “because only countries where all people are involved can be successful.  When we look around the world and we see countries where half of the population is marginalized or left out, then we usually see countries that are failing.”

Mrs. Obama urged leaders from African nations to empower women and girls by improving their access to education. “Until we value women and girls, we won’t tackle those other problems,” she said. “Until we prioritize our girls and understand that they are as important and their education is as important as the education of our sons, then we will have lots of work to do.”

Read in full:

N.Y. Public Library Plans Face-to-Face 'Classes' for MOOC Students

In a pilot program with Coursera, the New York Public Library plans to organize meet-ups at which people taking massive open online courses can gather and discuss the courses with help from “trained facilitators.”

The partnership is part the MOOC company’s effort to build an infrastructure for in-person learning around its free online courses. Research has suggested that MOOC students who receive offline help earn higher scores on their assessments.

Read the article in full:

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled by EAIE

Blog_BarometerAs internationalisation of higher education has become increasingly complex and far reaching over the past years, EAIE (European Association for International Education) unveiled a project to undertake comprehensive research to map the state of internationalisation in Europe. In particular, the study will focus on the current state of affairs regarding internationalisation in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the key developments and challenges in the field and the skills requirements and specific needs of staff involved in international education. The study will provide analysis on both a national/regional level and European level.

The survey aims to provide a chance to share experiences, not only strengthening the knowledge base for policy makers but also addressing the performance and skills of people in their day-to-day work in internationalisation. In the midst of a constantly evolving international education field, the survey is expected to provide essential insights to all those organisations working to assist those practitioners directly involved in international education.

Invite to all faculty to participate in the e-survey, which will be  available online from 13 March until 22 April.

Read More:

The face of internationalisation in Europe: brand new EAIE study unveiled

Harvard, MIT Launch MOOC Student Visualization Tools

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the two institutions behind the massive open online course provider edX, on Thursday released a set of tools that visualize the age, gender, location and level of education of their almost 2 million MOOC users.

Called Insights, the tools were developed by Sergiy Nesterko and Daniel Seaton, research fellows at HarvardX and MIT, respectively. In a news release, Nesterko said Insights “can help to guide instruction while courses are running and deepen our understanding of the impact of courses after they are complete.”

A side-by-side comparison of HarvardX and MITx’s enrollment numbers shows Harvard’s MOOCs have attracted more than 1 million users to MIT’s roughly 820,000. More than one-third of Harvard’s MOOC students are in the U.S., compared to about one-quarter of MIT’s. The only other country to register in the double digits among either institution is India, whose students account for 15.5 percent of HarvardX’s total enrollment.

Similar to the student bodies at the physical campuses, MITx students are more likely to be male — 66.2 percent to HarvardX’s 59.5 percent. They are also younger — MITx’s median age is 27; HarvardX’s, 28 — and, by a few percentage points, less likely to hold a postsecondary degree. MOOCs are still dominated by students who hold such a degree, however. Among MITx students, 64.6 percent hold at least a bachelor’s degree, and for HarvardX, those students make up more than two-thirds, or 67.8 percent, of the total enrollment.

Insights will be made available to the member institutions in the edX consortium.

Read more:

Women's Rights after the Arab Spring


The revolutions that swept across the Middle East in 2011, known as “The Arab Spring,” promised greater freedoms for many in the region, including women. While there have been some advances in women’s rights, the promise in many cases has not been realized.

While the new constitutions in Egypt and Tunisia guarantee greater rights for women, the laws that keep women safe are often not enforced. On the one hand, revolution took conservative forces to the fore – which do not empathize with women at all. On the other hand, the new political ground empowers women and provides a chance for shift.

Turkey has often been at the forefront of women’s rights in the Middle East. But the recent rhetoric of Prime Minister Erdogan, and more conservative social norms encouraged by the Government have raised increasing concerns about equality for women. A quarter of Turkish marriages involve a child bride. Half of women over the age of 15 have reported abuse at home. Only 26% of girls graduate high school. These are just some examples of the challenges women’s rights are facing in Turkey.

 While the Gulf is often considered more conservative when it comes to women’s rights, attitudes may be shifting. Opposite to these countries where revolutions jeopardized and even rolled back recently achieved rights for women, in Gulf’s Arab Dynasties people have seen greater social and political reforms.

According to Isobel Coleman, a Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, it’s important to remember that every country and the starting point for women in every country is really quite different. Arguably, in Tunisia, women were starting from the highest point – very high levels of education. Education eases women’s empowerment, and that is why in some lands women’s civil society groups organized, got people out, and denounced this as somehow code that “complementary” means not-equal, and really demanded language around equality, which they do have in the constitution.

Women rights are, then, a hot issue not only in Arab Countries but in the whole international community. To cite an example, UNESCO and the Government of Pakistan signed an agreement to support better access, improved quality and safe learning environments for girls in the hard-to-reach areas of Pakistan.

Horizon 2014 Report Is Out: 6 Technologies Will Change Colleges in Coming Years

The six technologies and the changes they’re expected to bring are detailed in“NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition,” a 52-page document  comprised by the 56 international experts.

In a nutshell, the following trends and time horizons were identified by panel members:

 *  The two most imminent, within 2 years,  are the integration of social media into every aspect of college education and life and the blending of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning with face-to-face instruction.

 *  In 3 to 5 yearsdata-driven learning and assessment will have its maximum impact on campuses, helping to personalize learning and improve performance measurement. Also listed as having its greatest impact in three to five years is a shift toward “learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content.”

 * Two trends were identified  as long-range, with  their biggest impact is still 5 or more years away: the continuing evolution of online learning and universities’ shift to more agile “approaches to teaching and learning that mimic technology start-ups.”

For each of the trends the panel identified, the report offers examples and a further-reading list, as well as a discussion of whether the changes affect leadership, policy, practice, or some combination of the three.

The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice:

See also: