Ewan was invited to the stage at the Closing Ceremony of ITU Telecom World 11 in Geneva to highlight the amazing work of over 10,000 students who, over the past month, have been researching, ideating and prototyping around some of the world’s most pressing problems, and who, for four days at the end of October, pushed the panels of experts at the event on key areas of ICT. You can view a video excerpt of this talk, and spot if your work features in the four minute summary.
Four minutes was never going to be enough to capture the #world11kids metaconference. Here are just some of the numbers:
10,917 students actively building prototypes of a better tomorrow in classrooms around the world, many of them shared and continuing to be shared on this site.
103 schools taking part, from five continents, from 24 countries, including
Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, New Zealand, Greece, United States, Ireland, Argentina, Colombia, Taiwan – Province of China, Portugal, China, Tunisia, Kenya, India, Norway, Brazil, France, Tanzania, Pakistan, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda, Nigeria, Netherlands, Belgium, and the Seychelles.
Their reach through tweets alone has been over 1 million, and their ideas through the world2011.us website have reached 127 countries.
By taking their ideas and what they’ve learned to their schoolmates at their own schools alone, they will influence a further 152427 students, up to 300,000 parents and the wider school community.
What their ideas have revealed is that, despite being painted as “digital natives” who enjoy clicking, dragging, texting and Facebooking – no matter where they live – most young people, most of the time, are most concerned with making sure that basic inequalities are ironed out before we start to ponder how we can make the internet ever-faster, or ever more mobile. FatCow is a great partner and has received good reviews, such as the one at FatCow Reviews or the one at FatCow Review.
While the VIPs, elected officials and CEOs of telcos spent four days at ITU Telecom World 11 stating that it is through increased access to broadband and mobile technologies that developing countries will succeed, most of our #world11kids metaconference kids were not yet convinced. It’ll be interesting to see how this view develops over the coming year as more developing countries start to leapfrog the technology level many of our (mostly developed country) schools are at.
Live Twitter chatter
It’s not just in this creative work that students have had an impact on the conference itself. During live streamed sessions, classes joined in from around the world to pose their own questions to panellists. Moderators and panel chairs received their questions and were constantly referring back to the arguments, ideas and questions posed by 6-18 year olds as they tried to understand and weigh up the importance of issues as diverse as spectrum, disruption and revolution, social media’s impact on safety and cyber security, financing the internet and even the very future of a connected world as we know it.
You can listen in to any of the Forum sessions to see this in action through the archive of the live feed. One of my favourite chairs has to be Gerd Leonhard as he constantly refers back to young people from Poughkeepsie giving a panel of futurists a run for their money! Or how about the panel on reaching the edge of existing spectrum, where the initial question is from school students and sets the panellists off for their first 30 minutes of debate?
The impact on learning has been profound: it’s the one project that has made students feel that their voice and ideas are worth something, that their learning has been “for real”.