JERUSALEM — The 2016 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Education Summit was held September 25-27 at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem. This marks the first time world education leaders convened in the city of Jerusalem.
Organized jointly by the European Union and Israel’s Education Ministry, the location for the OECD Global Education summit was chosen to symbolize the need for innovation in education. Israel is considered second only to Silicon Valley in technological innovation, having been referred to as the “start-up nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer in their 2009 book discussing Israel’s impressive ability to build and nurture a high-tech and innovative economy.
The Israeli government has invested heavily in research and development, venture capital and high-tech industries. Israel’s requirement of one year of military service exposes citizens to technology while also offering leadership opportunities. Additionally, the Israeli government runs a grant program that provides funding for innovative new projects. Israel has been able to foster this innovative atmosphere as a young country surrounded by consistent conflict.
Summit attendees had the opportunity to tour Jerusalem to see Israel’s innovation in action in the areas of education, technology and security. Thirty world-wide delegations attended the conference including countries such Sweden, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand.
The first OECD Global Education Summit was held in 2015 in Helsinki focusing on the use of technology to improve the quality of global education.
The goal of the 2016 OECD Global Education Summit was embracing technological innovation in education to improve classroom learning experiences around the world. The over-arching idea was to prepare children for occupations that have not yet been created in a world that is always changing.
According to Andreas Schleicher, Director of OECD Directorate for Education and Skills, “educating for innovation and innovation in education” is the key to preparing students for a dynamic world. However, Mr. Schleicher makes it clear that technology cannot replace well-trained teachers. Technology should serve as an enhancement to a well-executed classroom experience at the hands of teaching professionals.
Problem-solving, critical thinking, flexibility and communication are key to accepting and nurturing innovation in education. Students today must be prepared to balance technology with basic skills as well as prepare for the technological changes, jobs and social issues of the future.
Mr. Schleicher asserts that technology and innovation must not only play a central role in the education of students but also in collaboration among educators to build capacity. Technology creates a global world where ideas can be shared and positive changes can take place, but teachers must be the driving force. Currently, the education sector is not embracing this trend as quickly as others.
Overall, the message of the 2016 OCED Global Education summit is to embrace technology and the added benefits it can bring to traditional learning.
– Mandy Otis