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Leaders discuss innovations in education at Yidan Prize Conference Series

Yidan Prize Foundation Council of Luminaries discuss latest innovations in education
Leading educators and researchers at the Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021.
From top left to bottom right: Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Yidan Prize Foundation; Professor Louise Richardson, University of Oxford; Dr Sobhi Tawil, UNESCO; Professor Jo-Anne Baird, University of Oxford; Ms Vicky Colbert, FEN; Professor Harry Daniels, University of Oxford; Professor Sibel Erduran, University of Oxford; Professor Larry Hedges, Northwestern University; Professor Thomas Kane, Harvard University; Dr Susan James Relly, University of Oxford; Ms Lucy Lake, CAMFED; Ms Angeline Murimirwa, CAMFED; Professor Carl Wieman, Stanford University.

Global education leaders discussed new or emerging approaches, methods, and systems in education at the Yidan Prize Conference Series: Europe 2021 in partnership with University of Oxford

The European session of The Yidan Prize Conference Series was hosted by the Yidan Prize Foundation in partnership with the University of Oxford’s Department of Education on 28 May.

The virtual conference saw leaders in education and researchers - from Yidan Prize Foundation, UNESCO, Harvard University, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Northwestern University, CAMFED (Campaign for Female Education) and Fundación Escuela Nueva (FEN) - discuss the theme of ‘What is Innovation in Education?’.

As part of the Conference Series, the Foundation also held its first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference on 27 May to support the new generation of education researchers.

With the global learning landscape gradually emerging from the pandemic that disrupted the education of 90% of students worldwide[1], the conference considered what the longer-term future of education could and should look like. It commenced with an insight session from Dr Sobhi Tawil, Director, Future Learning and Innovation at UNESCO.

Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, Founder of the Yidan Prize, commented: “The world is changing very quickly. The pandemic has highlighted gaps in education globally, from access and inclusion, to the digital divide. Education never stops. Communication, collaboration and action must move forward. We are all connected, and we should be working towards the same goals. We must continue to learn no matter how far along we think we are on this journey.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, commented, “We are delighted to work with the Yidan Prize Foundation in organising this important conference. Dr Charles CHEN Yidan is committed to the advancement of education as a means of improving all our lives. He and his colleagues have been at the forefront of recognising, supporting and rewarding leaders in the field of education and I have no doubt that they will continue to do so in the years to come.”

How motivation in classrooms affects behaviour

In the first panel on how motivation affects behaviour in education, speakers considered strategies to dismantle barriers to engagement, the role that exclusion plays and how to create more inclusive education systems that work for all students.

Speakers included:

  • Ms Vicky Colbert, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2017; Founder and Director, FEN
  • Professor Harry Daniels, Professor of Education, Department of Education, University of Oxford
  • Ms Lucy Lake, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Chief Executive Officer, CAMFED
  • Ms Angeline Murimirwa, Yidan Prize for Education Development Laureate 2020; Executive Director – Africa, CAMFED

The panel shared evidence and insights from their own research and programmes, looking at how to create cultures of participation and belonging, how to boost academic self-esteem and the role that each of these strategies can play in improving attendance, motivation and performance.

In addition, the panel outlined their experiences of using the insights of excluded and marginalised young people to help inform future, more inclusive education research and interventions.

Scientific approach to improving teaching outcomes

The second panel discussion focused on innovation in education from a scientific perspective. A panel of global education research experts considered the need to root future education innovations in evidence-based research. They explored science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and how a scientific approach can improve teaching outcomes.

Speakers included:

  • Professor Sibel Eruduran, Professor of Science Education, University of Oxford
  • Professor Larry Hedges, Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2018; Chairman, Department of Statistics, Northwestern University
  • Professor Thomas Kane, Member of the Yidan Council of Luminaries; Walter H. Gale Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Professor Carl Wieman, Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate 2020; Professor of Physics and Graduate School of Education and DRC Chair, Stanford University

The panel argued for a need for a new model of learning and teaching for better learning outcomes. Teachers need to be better supported with the tools needed to develop new and evidenced based teaching practices.

The panel also outlined a future in which STEM knowledge accumulation for assessment is replaced with an emphasis on authentic problem-solving more useful to future generations in terms of their ability to solve complex, real-world problems.

In line with Yidan Prize Foundation’s commitment to foster rising talents in education research, it hosted its first International Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference. The conference looked at the future of education and what skills young people need in order to pursue the challenges they face.

During the conference, doctoral students heard from Dr Rebecca Eynon, Professor of Education, the Internet and Society at the University of Oxford, about the datafication of education in the future. They also heard from Ms Lucy Lake and Ms Angeline Murimirwa about how CAMFED address the intersectionality of education, inequality, and technology in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Yidan Prize Foundation and University of Oxford review panel selected five doctoral students with the best papers as winners, who will be invited to join the Yidan Prize Summit and Awards Presentation Ceremony in Hong Kong in December.

In addition, they will be invited to an exclusive meeting with the 2021 Yidan Prize laureates. Conference papers will be printed in an inaugural volume of a series of annual proceedings from the Yidan Prize Doctoral Conference.

About the Yidan Prize Foundation

Founded in 2016 by Dr Charles CHEN Yidan, the Yidan Prize Foundation has a mission of creating a better world through education. Through its prize and network of innovators, the Yidan Prize Foundation supports ideas and practices in education – specifically, ones with the power to positively change lives, systems and society.

The Yidan Prize is an inclusive education award that recognises individuals, or up to three-member teams, who have contributed significantly to education research and development. It consists of two awards, the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development.

Yidan Prize Laureates each receive a gold medal. In addition, a total of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million) of prize funds is awarded to the individual or team (shared equally) from each category, half of which is a cash prize while the other half is project funds.

Full speaker bios are available at: http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/events/yidan-prize-conference-series-europe-2021-speakers-bios/, and the conference recording is available at https://yidanprize.org/events/yidan-prize-conference-series-europe-2021/

[1] UNESCO ‘Save Our Future’ white paper

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