After a very successful Going Global summit, the dust from the dunes of the Dubai dessert has finally settled. About 1,200 education, industry and government leaders from all over the world joined the sessions at the Dubai’s World Trade Center to reflect on the internationalization of higher education and its impact on the development of 21st century nations. As highlighted in Michael Stevenson’s blog, Cisco had a significant presence as a Gold Sponsor of the summit.
Firstly, On Monday, March 4,we had the privilege of hosting about 40 delegates from 19 countries at our Cisco campus in Dubai and guide them through our vision for education transformation enabled by technology.
During a very interactive and dynamic 2 hour session, the delegates had the opportunity to experience Cisco technologies that support 21st century learning. We connected our Cisco experts live from London, Oslo and Oklahoma with the delegates in Dubai spread across different rooms to experience different learning environments and different usage of the Cisco technologies (Collaboration, Show and Share, Chroma Key, and Augmented Reality). The demo was very productive as it enabled thought provoking discussions about how to best use technology to increase learning outcomes and enhance the student experience. Questions regarding access to the internet, multiple languages, and localization, were as expected, some of the most common themes. Other interesting reflections highlighted the importance of changing the mindset of educators to embrace technology and to adjust their pedagogical practices in a way that can maximize the use of technology in the classroom.The demo session was superbly closed by a live interview conducted by Michael Stevenson, Cisco VP for Global Education with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, Prof. Nigel Thrift, who shared valuable insights about the process of transformation this University is experiencing under his leadership.
Prof. Thrift sees transformation as vital for the higher education sector; more so right now as the need for skilling and educating massive scales of people increases worldwide. Some of the major trends about the future of Higher Education shared by Prof. Thrift include:
- Universities getting more involved in the shape and development of secondary and mature education
- Importance of qualifications, especially with the rise of MOOCs
- Rethinking distance learning and the appropriate methodologies to better incorporate technology (also in light of MOOCs). (See Michael Stevenson’s MOOCs blog).
- An imperative need for innovation in order to survive
- Involving graduates in the teaching of other students around the world
On Tuesday,Cisco had the privilege of hosting a session with about 400 delegates in the main program of Going Global conference at the World Trade Center: “The University in the 21st Century – innovate, collaborate or die”.
After listening to a very powerful and compelling video message from Andreas Schleicher on skills, employability and the importance of a holistic system approach and leadership, Michael Stevenson moderated a very interesting discussion that explored different models in Higher Education that have innovation and collaboration at their core: first, the Open University model (superbly presented by its Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean), which is based on a new type of online learning and cross institution cooperation via Future Learn (the first UK MOOC platform); and second, the Glasgow Caledonian University model based on partnerships and multistakeholder alliances with industry, governments and non-governmental actors, also very well introduced by its Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Pamella Gillies.
Professor Kassey Garba, our third speaker from the University of Ibadan, shared her perspectives on how a hybrid of these two models could be desirable for Africa. She also reflected on the need to produce global graduates that are equipped with the right values (wisdom, understanding, character, social awareness) in order to benefit from these models and positively impact society.
Undoubtedly, the Going Global summit was a very successful and thought provoking event. Throughout the multiple sessions and the conversations we had with delegates at our exhibition stand, it was made clear that the Internationalization of higher education is developing at unprecedented speed and that Technology, Innovation and Collaboration have a fundamental role to play in this process. Most interestingly though was to hear how a new pedagogy, multi sectoral partnerships and a holistic system integration (with K12 as well as Technical and Vocational Training systems) are VITAL ingredients in the recipe for success.
I am delighted to have taken part of this summit and grateful to the different Cisco teams that contributed to making our participation a success.