Tech Trends at #GESF 2018

We’re heading over to Dubai for the biggest event in Education Innovation.

Now in its sixth year, the Global Education and Skills Forum is an initiative by the Varkey Foundation. Tech Trends was at last year’s event, and we’re excited to see what’s in store for this year, where the theme is “How do we prepare young people for the world of 2030 and beyond?”

As that implies, technology and innovation will be a big focus at GESF 2018, as in the Digital Age they must play a big part in the Varkey Foundation’s mission of improving the quality of education for children throughout the world.

Hence the fact that a large part of the conference will be dedicated to EdTech. The GESF FutureZone is billed as the largest ever showcase of innovative tech dedicated to education, and will feature some big players in the tech space such as Blippar CEO Ambarish Mitra, who will be talking about the potential of emerging technologies such as Augmented Reality and AI to democratize access to learning all over the world.

The FutureZone will feature an Immersive Learning Showcase, where there will be demonstrations of VR/AR/MR applications and a series of Future Talks exploring how Immersive Tech will transform education, and will also host the launch of The Next Billion Prize — the first prize of its kind that will be awarded to the Ed-Tech project destined to make the biggest impact in the developing world.

Dozens of start-ups from all over the world will pitch their innovative products to a panel of expert judges including Tech Crunch Editor-at-large Mike Butcher. The winner will receive a US $50,000 prize in addition to expert mentoring and support in implementing and scaling up their solution, conducting pilots in public schools in selected countries for a year to demonstrate proof of concept and access new markets and opportunities.

“In a world where access to quality education is a real issue for millions of children, Ed-Tech has the huge potential to change young people’s lives for the better,” says philanthropist Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation. “ The FutureZone will showcase the latest innovative Ed-Tech poised to make a real difference in emerging markets and the developing world where problems of accessing education and getting the best quality teaching are most pressing. The event will also help the creation of a community of practice around education technology,” he concludes.

As usual GESF attracts a host of high-profile attendees and there are plenty of familiar names on the speaker list such as Al Gore, Simon Schama, Nicolas Sarkozy and Rory Bremner to name but a few. And if last year’s Global Teacher Prize ceremony — where the trophy was delivered by a parachuting Bear Grylls and winner Maggie MacDonnell was announced from the International Space Station and congratulated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — is anything to go by, we can expect a few surprises for this year too. The fact that none other than Bill Gates announced sets the tone:

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, GESF 2018 Takes place at The Atlantis, The Palm from the 16th to the 18th March 2018. Follow the latest right here and on Twitter @techtrends_tech

Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter

Originally published at Tech Trends.

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