New developments in the Global Education Platform at ISTE 2015

Two weeks ago, ten thousand people gathered in Philadelphia to attend the 2015 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference. Top technology and education innovators, including GBC-Education members Microsoft and Lego Education, partnered with grassroots and on-the-ground leaders in over a thousand sessions to discuss ways of addressing the world’s most urgent education problems.

One such session was led by GBC-Education’s Adam Braun, who, as co-ordinator of GBC-Education’s Global Education Platform (GEP), announced a national competition to run this year where children in India will create content to improve literacy. Announced in September 2014, the GEP convenes academics, technology entrepreneurs, business leaders, global development experts and educators in conversations to identify how technology could be used to deliver recognised skill development that leads to economic opportunity in a model that prioritises learning as a public good for the most marginalised.

The competition will act as a pilot for one of five potential models for a tech-based learning mechanism which forms the core of the GEP initiative. In a world where access to a mobile phone is now more widespread than access to sanitation, the initiative moves past thinking solely about connectivity, to envisioning how connectivity enables a fresh return to basics — addressing issues such as illiteracy.

Far too many schools in developing countries don’t have access to modern lesson plans. Those that do often find their overly westernized material inaccessible — particularly when questions of geography or local customs dominate the lesson. Drawing on a reservoir of existing EdTech companies which have collectively written more than 100 million books, GBC-Education’s GEP innovators will create a platform that allows users, particularly marginalized youth, to access, discover and create stories that supplement traditional school curricula.

— Olivia Simone