UNESCO’s OER and YouthMobile programmes highlighted at the 2017 World Conference on Computers in Education

17 July 2017

The 2017 World Conference on Computers in Education (WCCE), organised by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) and hosted by the Irish Computer Society, took place in Dublin from 3 to 6 July 2017.

The World Conference takes place every four years bringing together professionals and experienced teachers and learners, aiming to discuss the future of learning environments. The event focuses on the latest uses of technologies, on computing and technology learning resources, educational practices, and cutting edge educational research.

This year, the WCCE International Programme Committee chaired by Prof. Don Passey, Lancaster University (UK), selected a number of high-quality papers, many of which emphasizing the recent new practices of computing and Computer Science education, including in primary schooling. Several other presentations shared experiences on innovative ways of using digital technology in schools. From 3D printing and 3D learning to Facebook use in higher education, the conference gave the opportunity to participants to share their research works and findings, and to discuss about the future of ICTs in Education.

The conference theme, “Tomorrow’s Learning: Involving Everyone”, reflected the long-standing commitment to both learning and technology of the Technical Committee 3 (TC3) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).

The conference’s programme included two keynote speeches from UNESCO. Dr Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, presented on “Open Educational Resources (OER) and the implications for future use”.

We might be gradually approaching an inflection point in the mainstreaming of OER, where OER may one day become the default method of education”, said Dr Banerjee, highlighting the exponential growth of open-licensing.

Inviting WCCE participants to join the 2nd World OER Congress, organized and hosted by UNESCO and the Government of Slovenia from 18 to 20 September 2017 in Ljubljana, Dr Banerjee further stressed that the “OER movement is growing, but it needs more champions”, some of those “may be sitting in this room”. The OER Congress will be marking the 15th anniversary of OER, and the 5th anniversary of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration.

The second keynote informed the audience about UNESCO’s YouthMobile. It’s coordinator, Mr. Davide Storti, recalled how during the previous WCCE conference in Torun, Poland (2013), was born the idea of a UNESCO’s initiative aimed at sensitizing the youth to the use and understanding of technology as a mean for creating software (Apps) solutions.

Why should a citizen care about the local authorities releasing data as exploitable open data?”, he challenged the audience. “Both teachers and learners should get a sense of confidence [in technology]”, he added, as “Software development is also a form of expression”. Mr. Storti then exposed the experience of several YouthMobile projects targeting young girls and women, particularly in Africa as well as in Central Asia. He further mentioned the support of UNESCO to the 2017 Africa Code Week, which aims at introducing 500 thousand children and youth to coding in 35 African countries. Organized in partnership with SAP, the week will run from 18 to 25 October 2017.

IFIP is a global Organization for researchers and professionals working in the field of information and communication technologies to conduct research, develop standards and promote information sharing. It was established in 1960 under the auspices of UNESCO. IFIP’s Technical Committee 3, in particular, aims at providing an international forum for educators to discuss research and practice in teaching informatics and the educational uses of communication and information technologies.

The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative aims to provide young people with the high-level skills and confidence to develop, promote, and sell locally relevant mobile apps solving issues of sustainable development and provide employment.