AI and Education webcasts from UNESCO’s Digital Learning Week

In my last post I mentioned the UNESCO Digital Learning Week, taking place in Paris next week and amongst other things including a series of discussion about AI in education. It seems over 1800 people have registered to attend the event face to face. However for those of us not lucky enough to be in Paris some of the sessions are being made available by web cast in English and French. You can find the full program including details of of which sessions are on the webcast on the UNESCO Digital Learning Week web pages. And to make things easy for you I have extracted from the extensive programme a list of the sessions around AI in Education which can be followed by webcast (the address for the webcast is not currently available but I expect it to be linked from the programme by next week). Tuesday 5 September 10:45 – 11:15 DIGITAL LEARNING AND AI IN EDUCATION: UNESCO’S INTEGRATED APPROACH Moderator: Mr Fengchun Miao, Chief, Unit for Technology and AI in Education, Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO
  • Ms Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO
  • Mr Manos Antoninis, Director, Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, UNESCO
  • Mr Sobhi Tawil, Director of Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO
Wednesday 6 September 11:30 – 13:00 Plenary session 4 EduGPT: the missing middleware? Moderator: TBC
  • (Title to be announced) Representative from Alef Education, UAE
  • Merlyn Mind's education-specific AI platform Mr Satya Nitta, CEO, Merlyn Mind, USA
  • EduChat: A large-scale language model-based chatbot system for intelligent education Ms Yuling Sun, Associate Researcher, East China Normal University, People’s Republic of China
  • MathGPT - The core engine for next-generation personalized tutor Mr TIAN Mi, Chief Technology Officer, Tomorrow Advancing Life Education Group (TAL)
14:00 – 15:30 Plenary session 5 AI COMPETENCIES FOR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS Moderator: Mr Yao Ydo, Director, UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE) Presentations of draft UNESCO AI Competency Frameworks for teachers and students:
  • Mr Fengchun Miao, Chief, Unit for Technology and AI in Education, Future of Learning and Innovation, UNESCO
  • Ms Kelly Shiohira and Ms Natalie Lao, experts for the UNESCO AI Competency Framework for School Students
  • Mr Mutlu Cukurova and Ms Shafika Isaacs, experts for the UNESCO AI Competency Framework for Teachers Reactions:
  • Ms Ramza Jaber, Chief of Cabinet, Minister of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon
  • Ms Lindiwe Matlali, Founder & CEO, Africa Teen Geeks, South Africa
  • Mr Pedro Philippi Araújo, Student, XôDengue project, Brazil
  • Representative from Education International (TBC)
Thursday 7 September 9:30 – 11:00 Plenary session 6 REGULATING AND FACILITATING THE USE OF GENERATIVE AI IN EDUCATION Moderator: TBC
  • Ms Gabriela Ramos, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO
  • H.E. Mr Murhaf Al-Madani, Assistant Minister of Education for Development and Transformation, Saudi Arabia (TBC)
  • Ms Sindey Carolina Bernal, Vice-minister of Digital Transformation, Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies, Colombia
  • Ms Mona Laroussi, Director, Institut de la Francophonie pour l’éducation et la formation (IFEF-OIF), Senegal
  • Mr Villano Qiriazi, Head of Education Policy Division, Council of Europe (TBC)
  • Mr Yonah Welker, Tech Explorer, Public Evaluator, Board Member, Future of Algorithms, Research & Policy
  • People’s Republic of China Regulations on GenAI (TBC)
  • The potential danger of unsafe AI systems beyond ChatGPT Mr Yoshua Bengio, Full Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at Université de Montréal and the Founder and Scientific Director of Mila – Québec Artificial Intelligence Institute, 2018 A.M. Turing Award laureate
  • (Title to be announced) Mr Yann LeCun, Vice President & Chief AI Scientist, Meta, 2018 A.M. Turing Award laureate Reactions and dialogue:
  • H.E. Ms Ester Anna Nghipondoka, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Namibia
  • H.E. Mr Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, UAE

AI skills and competences for teachers

Photo by 杰 肖 on Unsplash

UNESCO have long been active in AI in education, seeing it as a critical support for the United Nations Sustainability Goal SDG 4 for which they are the lead agent: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. There are three main strands to their work:

  • AI and the Future of Learning
  • Guidance for Generative AI in education and research
  • AI Competency Frameworks for Students and Teachers 

In a flurry of announcements and posts on LinkedIn over the summer, Fengchun Miao, Chief of the Unit for Technology and AI in Education at UNESCO, has released details of forthcoming initiatives in this field.

In 2022 UNESCO published theK-12 AI Curricula: A mapping of government-endorsed AI curricula”, the first report on the global status of K-12 AI curricula. “All citizens need to be equipped with some level of competency with regard to AI. This includes the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to be ‘AI literate’ - this has become a basic grammar of our century,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO.

Building on this work, UNESCO have released two draft Competencey Frameworks, one on AI for students and the other AI for teachers. According to Fenchung Miao "The AI competency framework for teachers will define the knowledge, skills and attitudes that teachers should possess to understand the roles of AI in education and utilize AI in their teaching practices in an ethical and effective manner."

The drafts of the two AI competency frameworks will be presented and further refined during UNESCO's Digital Learning Week which takes place in Paris from 4-7 September 2023.

The EU funded AI pioneers project is also committed to identifying AI competences for teachers and trainers in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education based on the EU DigCompEdu Framework, At first site, although there may be some differences in how the Frameworks are presented there appears to be no barriers to incorporation of the UNESCO Framework within DigCompEdu.

What data is there to support the use of AI in VET and Adult Education?

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Of course researchers and practitioners in vocational education and training (VET) and in Adult Education are long used to their secondary status compared to School and Higher Education. And although Learning Analytics has been around for quite some years now, there has been little consideration of its use in VET and in workplace learning.

Is it is good to report that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research together with the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training have funded a study on artificial intelligence offers benefits for implementing personalised and adaptive learning environments (PALE; Schumacher, 2018). PALE are digital learning systems that continuously analyse and leverage education-related data to adapt the learning environment to individual needs and constantly changing requirements

As the authors of the study, Four Perspectives on Personalised and Adaptive Learning Environments for Workplace Learning, Yvonne M. Hemmler and Dirk Ifenthaler, say"

A major challenge in designing trusted PALE for workplace learning remains the identification of reliable indicators. Indicators are variables (e.g., interests, demographics, location) that reveal useful information about learning behavior and that are processed by specific algorithms to personalize and adapt the learning environment. Reliable indicators are crucial for PALE as accurate and comprehensive information about learners and their contexts is needed to design effective interventions to support learning processes and outcomes.

The research identified three profiles as being central to the collection of data for developing and implementing personalised and adaptive learning environments. These profiles were examined against different perspectives: Pedagogical perspective, ethical perspective , data analysis perspectives and Information perspective.

The results are cautious. “Despite rich datasets and advanced analytics methodologies, not all approaches utilising artificial intelligence in education seem to be effective for workplace learning.” They conclude that so far "no wide-scale organisational implementation of artificial intelligence for workplace learning exists and no empirical evidence is available for supporting the assumption that PALE improve the performance of involved stakeholders and organisations."

However, they suggest “Interdisciplinary perspectives on adoption models as well as on pol icy recommendations may help to move the pioneering efforts on artificial intelligence for workplace learning forward”


Schumacher, C. (2018). Supporting informal workplace learning through analytics. In D. Ifenthaler
(Ed.), Digital workplace learning: Bridging formal and informal learning with digital tech-
nologies (pp. 43–61). Springer. 3- 319- 46215- 8

Has your organisation a policy on AI?

Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash

Stumbled on this google doc this morning. It is an open document for people to share their institution's policy on AI. OK - so the organisations all appear to be in the US and its main focus is on Higher Education. But it seems to be going a little viral - there were 43 entries this morning and now there are 56! And it is interesting in that there appear to be wildly different policies between different organisations. Lets give you a flavour of some of them:

Some student work may be submitted to AI or plagiarism detection tools in order to ensure that student work product is human created.  The submission of AI generated answers constitutes plagiarism and is a violation of CSCC's student code of conduct.

Columbus State Community College

 AI is a tool, just like a pencil or a computer. However, unlike most tools you need to acknowledge using it. Pay close attention to whatever information you use in your own work that is produced from Ai, and explain how/what you used at the end of assignments.

Clemson University

Use of an AI Generator such as ChatGPT, iA Writer, MidJourney, DALL-E, etc. is explicitly prohibited unless otherwise noted by the instructor.  The information derived from these tools is based on previously published materials. Therefore, using these tools without proper citation constitutes plagiarism.

Middle Tennessee State University

 expect you to use AI (ChatGPT and image generation tools, at a minimum), in this class. In fact, some assignments will require it. Learning to use AI is an emerging skill, and I provide tutorials in Canvas about how to use them. I am happy to meet and help with these tools during office hours or after class.

Wharton School University of Pennsylvania

We will use AI tools that harness large language models, including ChatGPT (and DALL-E 2 among others), as pedagogical opportunities for learning and teaching in the course. Doing so aligns with the course objective on digital literacies (course objective 4) and opens up a class dialogue about the role of AI in education, including opportunities and complexities for teachers' everyday work in facilitating the learning of diverse student cohorts

University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

And so on. It seems to vary quite a bit depending on different subject araes - especially with art and design programmes integrating AI in the curriculum.

It would be fascinating to have a similar page for European education (will suggest this to be colleagues in the AI Pioneers Project)