Celebrating a successful OEB MidSummit in Reykjavik, Iceland

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  • 12th June 2017

Celebrating a successful OEB MidSummit in Reykjavik, Iceland

The OEB MidSummit in Reykjavik saw a successful two days on June 8-9, 2017. Arranged by the organisers of OEB Global, Europe’s leading conference on EdTech and the future of learning, ‘MidSummit’ was a forum for reflection and discussion about some of the most important emerging issues for education.

The summit showcased exciting new formats designed to encourage discussion and inspire free thinking in both formal and informal settings. MidSummit keynote speakers included Nell Watson (Poikos, Ireland), cognitive science and machine intelligence entrepreneur; Tony O’Driscoll (Global Head of Strategic Leadership Solutions at Duke CE, USA), expert on leadership learning; Andrew Keen (author and SalonFutureCast, USA), commentator on the digital revolution; Donald Clark (PlanB Lerning UK), blogger and EdTech entrepreneur; Audrey Watters (Hack Education, USA), education technology writer; Roger Schank (Socratic Arts & XTOL, USA), one of the world’s leading visionaries in artificial intelligence.

The OEB ‘MidSummit’ highlights included:


Two of the EdTech industry’s most outspoken commentators were interrogated about their controversial views on the future of higher education in a ‘Hard Talk’-style interview at the OEB ‘MidSummit’ in Reykjavik on June 8th.

Roger Schank, Chief Executive of Socratic Arts and one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of artificial intelligence in education, and ‘Plan B’ blogger Donald Clark, a “serial entrepreneur” who has won numerous awards for the design of online learning programes, believe higher education is “unfit for purpose”. They faced a barrage of detailed questioning from leading Internet expert and Guardian commentator Andrew Keen, the author of ‘The Internet is Not the Answer’, as they tried to defend their view that higher education is failing to take account of the rapidly changing needs of markets and employers.

“Universities are run by professors,” says Schank. “At the top universities, in order to become a professor, you have to have demonstrated, and must continue to demonstrate, an ability to do cutting-edge research. Then we ask these researchers to teach. They have very little interest in teaching and, if they must teach, they want to teach about the research they are doing.”

The session, which was entitled “Is HE still worth it?”, showed Keen’s true colours. Once an evangelist for high-tech, he is now skeptical about the wilder claims made for the supposed benefits of ICT and has even been described as “the Internet’s fallen angel.”  The mix of characters and the clash of opposites made for a thoroughly engrossing session at this fascinating new conference.

For more highlights from the OEB MidSummit, see the OEB Twitter account here.

Have a look at photos from the conference here.

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