In Conversation with…

Presenting the latest thinking from key educational technology influencers across the globe. We bring education leaders the intelligence they need to make informed decisions regarding their digital strategies.

As Educational Data Scientist at the prestigious Collège du Léman in Switzerland, Anja Werthenbach has been pivotal in transforming educational approaches through data. 

Having designed dynamic, user-friendly Power BI dashboards, and empowered teachers with professional development, Anja was able to support school leaders in making data-driven decisions and improve learning at school. 

Anja has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at CERN and Germany’s DESY, where she collaborated with some of the greatest minds in physics. 

With a passion for making data accessible and a strong advocate for using data to inform educational strategies, Anja’s work exemplifies how scientific rigour can be applied to educational practices to foster a culture of informed instructional decision-making.

In this interview, we talk about how to build a data culture at schools. 

As the visionary principal of British School Muscat and British School Salalah, Kai Vacher embodies the spirit of educational innovation and leadership. Both schools are renowned for integrating cutting-edge educational practices with the richness of traditional methods. 

It is fair to say that Kai is one of the most influential leaders in British international education, with 25 years of experience in teaching and school administration. 

His leadership not only sets a high bar for academic excellence but also paves the way for pioneering the use of AI in education.  

Kai is recognized as an ‘Edrupter’ and recognised as one of the top international education influencers.  He also contributes to the wider educational community in many ways, sitting on the  COBIS Board of Directors and acting as the Regional Representative for BSME. In addition, he hosts ‘The Educator’s Corner’ podcast, sharing valuable discussions on the future of teaching and learning.  

In this interview, we delve into challenges and opportunities of school leaders, and the potential of artificial intelligence in education. 

As the CEO of the Council of British International Schools, Colin Bell has a unique perspective on the evolving landscape of British international education, with a keen focus on the transformative role of technology and artificial intelligence. 

COBIS is a membership association that represents more than 450 schools and organisations globally. High-quality COBIS schools, which educate over 165,000 students and employ more than 17,000 teachers, can be found in more than 80 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.  

It’s worth noting that our organization, The EduTec Alliance, has recently had the privilege of working closely with COBIS on the design and implementation their digital transformation programme. While this is not the topic of the interview, it’s a noteworthy achievement that underscores the forward-thinking approach of COBIS in embracing technology to achieve their mission. 

As the Director General of International Baccalaureate (IB), Olli-Pekka Heinonen is the is a driving force behind the transformation of international education.

The IB  stands as a beacon of excellence in education across continents. Its educational programmes are offered to more than 1.95 million students aged 3 to 19 across over 5,700 schools in 159 countries. Between 2018 and 2022, the number of IB programmes offered worldwide has grown by 34.2%.

Olli-Pekka is a true luminary in the field, known for his unwavering commitment to fostering global-mindedness, critical thinking, and holistic development in students around the world.

In this interview conversation, we delve into the exciting crossroads of education technology, curriculum evolution, and the potential of Artificial Intelligence.

Chris Baldwin is the Enabling Tech Lead at Nord Anglia Education’s global group of schools.

Chris is a highly experienced educational technology and IT professional, and has managed global educational transformation projects in the state and international school sectors.

The Nord Anglia Education group comprises more than 80 schools worldwide.  Chris ensures that technology is deployed and used effectively for both school operations and student learning.

In this interview, Chris talks about technology strategy, data integration, cybersecurity and edtech choices. He also shares his best practices that allow the group’s technology to work smoothly across the 30 countries where Nord Anglia have a presence.

Andreas Schleicher is the Director of the OECD’s Directorate for Education & Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General.

Even though many people  know OECD from its PISA studies, it does much more in the education space. In addition to policy and country reviews, the work of the directorate also includes the , the OECD Survey of Adult Skills, the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems.

Andreas has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders to improve education and has received numerous awards for his works. 

It’s fair to say that Andreas is possibly the individual on this planet with the best global overview of the current state of education and how it’s evolving.

In this interview he gives us a glimpse of how the future of education will look with the rise of blockchain, AI, the Metaverse and robots – and how schools will need to address this new reality.

Krishnan Gopi is a change agent and turnaround specialist who is passionate about disrupting organisations from within. He has been leading business transformation strategy & execution for two decades, focusing on the potential of technology to leap-frog the competition. He has been a CIO, a CTO, and the first-ever CDO (Chief Disruption Officer) in the education world. Besides being the Group CDO at GEMS, the leading k-12 private education provider, he is also the CEO of TMRW, the edtech arm of GEMS.

In this interview, we discuss digital transformation as a necessity for schools to achieve teaching and learning excellence and operational efficiency.  Krishnan also provides us with an insight into TMRW’s innovative LearningOS – a disruptive system that promises to revolutionise education. Finally, we tackle the issues that schools must come to embrace if they intend to remain competitive, such as AI infused operations, robot teachers, data optimisation and fluency, blockchain, and much more. A must see interview for leaders in the education field.

Martin Baker is the CEO and co-founder of The Safeguarding Company, the makers of the Queen’s Award-winning safeguarding software, MyConcern®. As a  former Chief Constable, Martin’s career spanned five UK police forces, including significant spells in counter-terrorism, safeguarding and child protection.  He is an experienced school governor and is currently a director of a Multi-Academy Trust.   Martin is co-author of the 2021 Amazon best seller, ‘Lessons Will Be Learned: Transforming Safeguarding in Education’.  In this interview, we discuss safeguarding strategies that work for today’s “digital school” and how proactive leaders are empowered to protect their organisations from issues around information management, data protection regulations and cyberattacks.

Bill Freitas is an experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the Education field. He is a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL®) by COSN and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).  After a distinguished career with several top US Schools, Bill now supports the EduTec Alliance in providing its services. 

In this interview, we tap into Bill’s vast experience and focus on his approach to protecting schools from cyber risk. He offers practical advice to school leaders who may feel overwhelmed by the complexity of the subject. 

Adam Selwood is the Co-founder and CTO of the Melbourne based Cyber and Data Protection company Cynch, a company that provides what they term as ‘Cyber Coaching’ to over 400 small businesses of all types in Australia. They are now launching their new product ‘Cynch For Schools’, which helps school Bursars and Business Managers manage their organisation’s cybersecurity and data protection issues.

In this interview, Adam explains how their coaching program is focused on ‘cyber fitness’ and how adopting such an approach can help schools around the world deal with the growing cyber threats.

John Mikton is currently the Head of Education and Media Technology (and Deputy Principal) at the International School of Luxembourg. John is an edtech guru and and a trainer at the Principal Training Centre – facilitating courses on Technology and Online Blended Learning. He is a Certified Google Trainer, an Apple Distinguished Educator and a facilitator at the Institut de formation de l’Éducation Nationale du Luxembourg. In this interview we explored how schools can create an intentional culture of innovation in the school and how school leaders can tackle the major challenges they face in their institutions in this post pandemic world. John also gives an overview of the major points schools should focus on when adapting to the new General Data Protection Regulations.

Eve Psalti has led Microsoft global strategy for its education programs, has worked as head of strategic platforms at Google and now is again at Microsoft as the Principal Group Project Manager. Having published a number or articles, Eve is a tech guru and AI evangelist. In this interview she covers the role of artificial intelligence in teaching and learning and in school operations. She shares where Microsoft is heading with its AI embedded tools for education and how schools can best incorporate them. We also discuss the role of teachers with the rise of AI and the importance of teaching students about AI and the effect on their lives today and in their future.

The interview is not technical and is intended for school leaders and digital learning leaders. 

Ben Schorr is a Senior Content Designer in the Microsoft 365 Cybersecurity team and a guru on the subject. He is also an author, speaker, and columnist. In this interview he covers the wealth of cybersecurity features that Microsoft’s Office365 platform has to offer.  He highlights the features of Microsoft 365 that schools should deploy to be safer, such as conditional access, multi factor authentication, safe-links, safe-attachment, least privilege, and many more. Ben also explains concepts such as ‘Zero Trust’ and ‘Safe Access Surface Edge’ and touches on the importance of promoting a positive security culture within the school. The interview is not technical and is intended for School Leaders and IT Managers.

This is a fantastic session for school leaders – cybersecurity in plain English!

Silvia Scuracchio is the Founder and Principal of Escola Bosque,  a private school in São Paulo, Brazil.  Escola Bosque is a Microsoft Showcase School, a T4 Global Showcase School, and a true reference of leadership for innovation in education. In this interview, she shares the principles of a successful digital transformation and how her school navigated the pandemic with impressive results. Silvia shares how good leadership is the key for smaller schools to be innovate and maintain themselves as future relevant to students.

JC Gaillard is an expert on security, risk and emerging technologies. JC is a thought-leader active across the Cyber Security community in the UK and abroad, and the founder of Corix Partners, a Management Consultancy Firm focused on assisting C-level executives in resolving Cyber Security Strategy, Organisation and Governance challenges. In this interview he talks about the importance for school leaders to understand cyber issues that can affect schools and shares corporate best practices that they can adopt to avoid data breach and ransomware attacks.

Hannah Young is an experienced educator and specialist in blended and hybrid learning. She teaches History, Politics & Modern Studies at a prestigious school in Scottland and holds a masters in Educational Technologies and Instructional DesignIn this interview she shares her strategies for effective teaching and learning that any teacher can incorporate in their online or blended courses. Hannah also talks about future proofing the school curriculum and the role of technology to support this new educational paradigm.

Dr. Arnie Bieber, has steered the International School of Prague to become one of the most innovative schools in Europe. His 13 year headship is marked by a deep commitment to the school mission and a shared strategy that is present in all corners of the school. 

In this interview, he talks about embedding a strong mission and a solid strategy in schools, leading innovation and learning for the 21st century. He also talks about skills-based curriculum, challenging learning environments, and schools as learning organisations for students and staff.

Philippa Wraithmell, Head of Technology and Innovation at Cranleigh School in Abu Dhabi discusses the importance of having a structured education technology ecosystem in schools. Philippa also highlights the responsibilities that digital learning leaders have in schools (data protection, safeguarding, training and much more) and their critical roles as school advisors. 

Mike TholfsenPrincipal Product Manager for Microsoft Education  – talks to Glaucia Rosas about how Microsoft is helping schools face the challenges of blended learning and what lies ahead. Mike stresses Microsoft’s focus on personalising learning  and accessibility tools in their platforms and shares how schools can keep up with the company’s new developments. 

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