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Empowering Teachers with Knowledge and Awareness on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

15th ASEF Classroom Network Conference (ASEF ClassNet15)

Participating in the ASEF conference has given me the impetus I needed to start taking real and meaningful action in the area of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It was an absolute privilege to meet so many inspiring people involved in education across Asia and Europe.Ms Susan Wilson, Japanese & Chinese Language Teacher, Gorey Community School, Ireland (Participant, ASEF ClassNet15)

It was the most inspiring to see what an individual teacher at the school level can achieve through their ASEF School Collaboration projects. – Dr Eddy Chong, Assistant Dean, National Institute of Education, Singapore (Observer, ASEF ClassNet15)

ASEF ClassNet15 Group Photo

ASEF co-organised the 15th ASEF ClassNet Conference themed, “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Role and Readiness of Teachers” from 25-29 November 2019 in Tokyo Japan in partnership with Sophia University, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and United Nations University - Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability with support from The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Development Education Association and Resource Center, Ochanomizu University Senior High School and The Open University UK. The conference brought together over 100 outstanding and dedicated teachers, scholars, Ed-Teach experts & enterprises from 51 ASEM countries. Among these 100 participants, it was a privilege to have both UNESCO Chair for AI and UNESCO Chair for Technologies for the Training of Teachers – Prof John SHAWE-TAYLOR and Prof Colin DE LA HIGUERA as keynote speakers who are currently driving projects and research on the topic across the world.

It promoted a much-needed timely discussion on the significance of integrating ESD at the secondary education level, and the possibilities of empowering teachers with knowledge and awareness on AI tools to help them improve teaching and learning environment for 21st century.

Learning that Took place in Schools Across ASEM Countries

ASEF deeply values the integration of creativity, critical & innovative thinking, intercultural understanding, and teamwork in learning process. Hence, every year ASEF ClassNet Conference inspires teachers from Asia and Europe by creating scopes to collaborate on school projects that could empower students, with opportunities to learn beyond the regular school curriculum and develop relevant 21st century skills. This year 6 outstanding ASEF ClassNet School Collaborations have been shortlisted from 45 Collaborations that were implemented in 2018 & 2019. They were given Gold and Merit Awards at the 15th ASEF ClassNet Conference in Tokyo, Japan:

Gold Awards

  • Postcards from the Edge: Using a range of ICT tools to develop digital skills, students of this collaboration explored their creativity and imagination to express themselves and share their love for writing. It built empathy and a sense of urgency among young writers to develop a greater understanding of themselves, their own and other cultures.
  • Asia-Europe Cultural Heritage Games: This collaboration used a cutting-edge pedagogical method to teach history and culture of Asia and Europe, which surely provides teachers interested in gamification with great ideas to innovate teaching and learning process.
  • TeACh: Teens Actions for Change: Inspired by global programmes like Design for Change, Global Youth Service Day, Apps for Good, this School Collaboration helped students to find inspiration, information, identify problems, get involved and, finally, act to solve problems and improve their local communities to support the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. The project enabled participants to improve their creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills for life.

Merit Awards

  • The ARCTIC: This collaboration “The ARCTIC” exposed learners to different global issues and encouraged them to actively participate in raising awareness and proposing possible and logical solutions to the identified global plight of combatting climate change.
  • Great Minds in STEM, Bridging the Gap: Raised awareness on gender gap issues in STEM fields and provided platforms for meaningful discussions.
  • Hacking Our Spaces: Encouraged students to learn and use Design Thinking for improving their problem-solving skills. Students conducted research on how STEM subjects can impact their lives and how STEM solutions can be leveraged to improve spaces like homes, schools, and communities around them.

These 6 school collaborations mobilised a total of 756 students, 52 teachers, 40 schools in 24 ASEM countries.

The 16th edition of the ASEF ClassNet Conference is being planned to take place in early half of 2021 in the United Kingdom themed "School Leadership in the AI Era" (working title). More information on the upcoming conference will be announced in the second quarter of 2020.