Talking Circle

2023 Special Focus—Smart Education 4.0 Empowering Learners and Educators

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William Cope, Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States


Talking Circles offer an opportunity to meet other delegates with similar interests and concerns. Delegates self-select into groups based on broad thematic areas and then engage in extended discussion about the issues and concerns they feel are of utmost importance to that segment of the Research Network. Participation is open, encouraged, and supported.

*Please choose the room with the theme that aligns with your research and interests. 

Smart Education 4.0: Empowering Learners and Educators

We have in modern times experienced a series of socio-technical revolutions. On one count, after the industrial revolutions of steam, electricity, and digitization, we are now encountering a fourth revolution in which artificial intelligence will be central. World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab calls this Industry 4.0. However, much of what we do in education remains in older industrial models. Even digital learning frequently follows old models of curriculum delivery, instruction and assessment.

What will be the shape of Education 4.0? If industry 4.0 is characterized by smart technologies, what will smart pedagogies be like? Optimistically, these will take full advantage of the fourth industrial revolution to enhance the effectiveness of e-learning, integrating of advanced technology to support innovative digital pedagogies that deepen learner engagement, provide on-the-fly feedback, and customize learning to align with the specific needs and interests of different learners. Education 4.0, it is optimistically argued, will support creativity, social presence, critical thinking, and participatory design within added-value learning spaces. These developments, however, are not without their dangers ranging from surveillance of students and teachers, privacy to learner profiling. They also come in the context of what has been termed “platform capitalism” where a handful of large corporations dominate the spaces of pedagogy and learning.

This conference sets out to take a balanced perspective, measuring potential progress in the era of Education 4.0 against its potential pitfalls and dangers.

Digital Media

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