Leaders in education gain latest creative insights as IB's first virtual conference concludes

More than 4,500 school leaders and educators from 110 countries came together to offer vibrant and necessary discussion on opportunities, innovation and research in education during the four-day virtual conference. Event attendees will now have the opportunity to take all they’ve learned and give back and inspire change in their school communities.

The IB's Director General, Dr Siva Kumari, initiated the organization’s first virtual conference, engaging more than 4,500 school leaders, educators and experts from 110 countries. In her opening remarks, Dr Kumari praised educators for their work on the front lines of the largest disruption to education ever, while presenting the IB’s plans to enrich the next generation of global citizens with a high-quality curriculum designed for the modern world.

Just as doctors must keep up with the latest research, the Director General noted that educators must keep up their knowledge to provide an education that meets the demands of the fourth industrial revolution.

“We want our teachers to be respected as professionals, developing our young people and each new IB generation. We believe teachers are equal to doctors in their professional responsibility. Teachers develop the health and wealth of our society by developing generations. For this highly nuanced professionalism, you deserve our highest respect”, Dr Kumari said.

“We are co-creators in imagining what’s next as we re-emerge from this global pandemic”, continued Dr Kumari, speaking to the collaborative role of educators play in executing IB programmes.

In more than 60 on-demand sessions, the constructive discourse from the keynote speakers, topic experts and participants touched on the changing educational landscape, transformation of teaching and learning, diversity, equity and inclusion, curriculum design, assessment and more. Continuing the conference theme of, 'Re-imagining the future', participants were able to delve into different aspects of the IB, such as IB subjects, programmes and resources in close-knit roundtables and panel discussions with distinguished educators. Attendees noted the global need for the industry to come together and learn to better serve their school communities with the latest research, tools and ideas in education.

Taking to social media, school leaders and educators praised the conference’s success and shared their favorite takeaways. Highlights of the event included presentations of community projects and artwork from students around the world and the ability for participants to enhance their networks by interacting and knowledge-sharing.

The IB also shared plans to adapt to meet demands faced by schools, educators and students by focusing on continuous community-centered, data-driven methods.

“What you are preparing your students for with the IB curriculum will be eminently important. Critical thinking, curiosity about the world, creativity, the ability to formulate a hypothesis around a perceived problem and then use a research process to design a solution.”, Dr Kumari remarked.

Recent research indicates that an IB education gives Diploma Programme (DP) students an advantage in critical thinking, offers Career-related Programme (CP) students the adaptability and soft skills employers seek and promotes positive effects in Primary Years Programme (PYP) students, such as well-being, transdisciplinary learning, inclusiveness and other social-emotional attributes.

“These are the skills that will be necessary moving into the future because of the unpredictable road ahead. Creativity and curiosity are fundamental traits to be able to pursue your best future”, said Dr Nicole Bien, IB’s director of learning and teaching.

“Education is the strongest force for good in a changing world”, explained Dr Kumari, who is continuously increasing access to and opportunities for IB programmes. Kumari led the IB’s goal to invest in digital technologies, such as the award-winning eAssessment platform implemented for the Middle Years Programme (MYP) this year and secured additional funding for online master’s degrees in collaboration with the University of the People.

With these efforts, the IB has continued to see growth during the pandemic, increasing to offer more than 7,000 IB programmes in more than 5,300 schools in 158 countries and awarding the highest number of diplomas in its 52-year history, while also keeping costs low for schools, offering free professional development and eliminating the candidate registration fee.

The resources platform—including keynote, expert and breakout sessions—will be available to participants until 12 February 2021.