Reimagining education

Cutting-edge educational products will be showcased in Philadelphia next month, at the 2017 Reimagine Education Awards & Conference

World-leading pedagogical innovation and cutting-edge educational products will be showcased in Philadelphia this December at the 2017 Reimagine Education Awards & Conference, a joint initiative organised by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, global educational solutions providers and compilers of the QS World University Rankings; and the Wharton Business School.

The event, which recently secured Amazon Web Services as their Global EdTech Sponsor, is designed to provide a platform for those responsible for overseeing teaching delivery at their institution to meet those behind the most successful, or promising, means of enhancing learning outcomes.

Reimagine Education was first conceived in 2014, the joint brainchild of QS’s CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli and Jerry Wind, Lauder Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School. As providers of the world’s most popular university ranking for over a decade – the QS World University Rankings – Quacquarelli recognised that the tables compiled by QS were still reliant on proxies to measure teaching quality.

Recognising, too, that pedagogical innovation would be essential if educational institutions were to successfully incorporate technological advancements into their curricula in evidence-based ways, he and Wind created the Reimagine Education competition as a means by which innovative educators would be encouraged to come forward and share best practices. QS offered a prize fund of $50,000 to the most effective, original approach that improved teaching or learning outcomes: thus, Reimagine Education was born.

Since its inception three years ago, the competition at the heart of Reimagine Education – the “Oscars” of Education – has grown from 250 submissions to over 1000. So, too, has the funding pool available to innovators grown: contributions from Amazon, the US-based Center for Curiosity, and Chinese development firm Agile mean that almost $250,000 is available to winners across the 17 Award Categories offered by QS this year.

It’s not just the competition that has exponentially grown during Reimagine’s brief existence. Quacquarelli and Wind were also keen to promote collaboration across disciplines, institutions, and even sectors: the flagship event in Philadelphia provides a platform for doing so. On the 4th December, those decision-makers responsible for driving effective, modern learning practices can see the leading submissions to this year’s competition showcase their award-winning work. Over 120 carefully-selected applicants will be highlighting how their work in myriad areas – virtual reality, adaptive learning, artificial intelligence platforms, educational apps, employability-boosting schemes – have driven institutional improvement.

“While the comparative data provided by rankings remain of indispensable importance to students,” said Quacquarelli, reflecting on the growth of the conference, “we also acknowledge that to outsiders they can seem to promote an educational model in which competition is paramount and foremost. This can be a good thing, but QS is also devoted to emphasising the role that collaboration plays, and will increasingly play, in improving education for learners worldwide. Reimagine Education does so, and also rewards institutions for recognising that seeking to improve research at the expense of teaching innovation ill-serves the next generation of learners.”

We seek to examine the fundamental ways in which both education and work are going to change over the coming decades – and to make sure the world is prepared for those changes

It’s not just collaboration between educational institutions that Reimagine is seeking to foster, though.

“Reimagine’s mission goes beyond allowing learners to achieve better test scores,” argues Professor Jerry Wind. “We seek to examine the fundamental ways in which both education and work are going to change over the coming decades – and to make sure the world is prepared for those changes. No one sector has all the answers here. We need government input; we need universities at the table; we need employers to tell us what they need to thrive throughout the fourth Industrial Revolution.” 

“So we bring Google to the table, we bring leaders from government educational departments, we bring MIT and UCL, and we bring those behind some of the best edtech startups in the world. They come together, and each brings their needs, concerns, and perspectives with them. The result is something far more than just a trade show – it’s a forum that does more than perhaps any other to foster an integrated, holistic understanding of the future of education.” 

This year’s conference will feature, among others: speakers from Amazon, Google, IBM, MIT, UCL, NYU, Columbia University, LSE, New York Times bestselling author William Deresiewicz, Deloitte, McKinsey, and the Brookings Institute. The list of successful applicants showcasing their shortlisted projects include academic faculty from MIT, UCLA, Imperial College London, Arizona State University, Cornell University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Readers of University Business are invited to book their place at a 20% discount by visiting and using the promo code RE17UB.

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The international student pathway reimagined

Thursday, December 2, 11AM (GMT)