… Assouline, N; + view all
Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development Synthesis Report. Mobile Learning Week 2019.
UNESCO. Education Sector: Paris, France.
2019’s Mobile Learning Week (MLW), UNESCO’s
flagship event for information and communication
technology (ICT) in education, focused on the theme
‘Artificial Intelligence for Sustainable Development’.
Held over five days in Paris, it comprised a sequence
of high-profile events (a global conference, a policy
forum and workshops, a symposium and strategy
labs), and involved more than 1,500 participants from
140 countries (including Ministers of Education and ICT,
other representatives from Member States, the private
sector, academia and international organizations).
The week’s events built on a sequence of premises.
First, it is widely recognized that the world is facing a
learning crisis (currently, more than 200 million children
globally are out of school, while a further 600 million
are in school but are not achieving minimum levels
of competency); second, it is education that powers
sustainable development (education is a key driver
of all the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
as well as the focus of SDG 4); and third, sustainable
development will only be achieved if we successfully
leverage the digital revolution, which now increasingly
includes artificial intelligence (AI).
Discussions at MLW 2019 centred on the challenges of
reducing barriers to education and improving learning
outcomes for all, and the possibilities afforded by AI. The
conversations were both wide-ranging and in-depth, and
were informed by experiences from many countries and
social contexts worldwide, as well as by experts in both
AI and education. Notably, at times, there appeared to be
a clear divide between the experts in AI (who sometimes
shared limited knowledge of pedagogy, the learning
sciences and classroom practices), and the expert
educators (who sometimes demonstrated a limited
appreciation of the pervasive nature and transformative
potential of AI). Nonetheless, although throughout the
week more questions were raised than were answered,
broad agreement between the participants did emerge,
and is summarized in this report.
Four overarching themes structured the discussions:
how to ensure inclusive and equitable use of AI in
education; how to leverage AI to enhance education
and learning; how to promote skills development
for jobs and life in the AI era; and how to safeguard
transparent and auditable use of education data.
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