Ben Nelson speaking at EDUtech Europe

Ben Nelson
Chairman and CEO, Minerva Project
and Chancellor, Minerva University, USA

Ben Nelson is founder, chairman, and CEO of Minerva Project and Chancellor of Minerva University. Ben founded Minerva in 2011 with the goal of nurturing critical wisdom for the sake of the world through a systematic and evidence-based approach to learning. Nelson has, since, built Minerva University, ranked as the most innovative university in the world, and has developed a business to share Minerva's unique approach with other like-minded institutions, corporations and governments.
Prior to Minerva, Nelson spent 10 years at Snapfish, where he helped build the company from startup to the world’s largest personal publishing service. Serving as CEO from 2005 through 2010, Nelson began his tenure at Snapfish by leading the company’s sale to Hewlett Packard for $300 million.
Nelson holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he created a blueprint for curricular reform in his first year, the principles from which he drew to frame Minerva.

How Minerva Project helps institutions rethink how they approach education

Higher education is experiencing a crisis in confidence, increasingly accelerated by the advent of generative AI. This is manifested through decreasing student enrolment, the degradation of skills acquired by graduates, and the fiery ideological clashes on campuses. It is a moment for universities to fundamentally transform what skills they teach and how to assess them, thus nurturing real learning, rather than just bestowing credentials.

In this keynote, Ben will highlight

• The root causes of what is broken in higher education
• How learning programs can be transformed from being "atomized" to "integrated and systematic"
• Why learning assessment should focus on the breadth of application



Avanti Sharma speaking at EDUtech Europe

Avanti Sharma
Pre-Teen Technology Specialist
Workshop4Me, Luxembourg

Avanti stands for the Sustainable Development Goals and encourages iGens to play a role in them. Starting with her TEDx about “How an iGen would implement the Sustainable Development Goals”, Avanti has been presenting her ideas on international forums.
Avanti’s contribution has been recognized by Technology Playmaker Awards 2018 hosted by, IT Ladies Night 2019, InspiringFifty Belgium 2022, ShEU LEADS (European Commission) 2022, GirlsInTech 2022 WomenInTech 2023.
Avanti was interviewed by Randi Zuckerberg Influencer, CEO & Founder of HUG and former marketing director, Facebook, for her podcast ‘Dot Complicated’ in 2018. Avanti has been featured in Tech Talks podcast by legendary David Savage, Group Technology Evangelist, Nash Squared in 2017. In 2022, Avanti featured in EU Code Week podcast. 
In 2023, Avanti won the ‘honorable award’ and 1st place for International Delegates at the Largest Science Exhibition in Portugal for a software Studified™ she developed. Avanti was honored by receiving the ‘Aspiring Teen Award’ at the Women In Tech Europe Awards in October and representing Europe as a finalist for the Women In Tech Global Awards, held at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Center.
Late last year, Avanti delivered the closing keynote at Codemotion Milan on October 25th, 2023, the day after World UN Day, where the UN’s headquarters were illuminated with the goals on the topic of “How the SDGs can learn from the journey of Technology”.

Reinventing STEM Education

In this talk, Avanti delves into the current education system with a focus on STEM, unwrapping learning challenges students face when transitioning from theory on paper to application in the real-world. Whilst comparing multiple education systems, Avanti identifies the differences between subjects causing disinterest and a loss of motivation for students to pursue STEM subjects in the future. From exploring her own experience as a candidate in a science show, to other students’ perspectives on their future, Avanti proposes solutions to obstacles in developing interest in the technology field.

In this keynote, Avanti will discuss

• Connecting theory to application
• Making knowledge relevant
• Grasping engagement through real-world solutions



Professor Mairéad Pratschke speaking at EDUtech Europe

Professor Mairéad Pratschke
Chair in Digital Education, SALC, Faculty of Humanities
The University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Mairéad is Chair in Digital Education in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at the University of Manchester. She holds a Ph.D. in History from McMaster University in Canada and an M.A. in European Studies from K.U. Leuven in Belgium.
She began as an online course designer at her alma mater in Canada, and since then her career has straddled the worlds of higher education, education technology, professional and continuing education, and edtech start-ups. Irish-born, she has worked in Canada, the USA, Belgium and Spain, in multiple languages and sectors, as a researcher, designer, lecturer, director and consultant for digital programmes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, sports and business. She is interested in how we can leverage digital pedagogies to support educational innovation using emerging technologies.

Generative intelligence: redefining education for the age of AI

Generative AI is changing the role of the educator, from being the sole source of authority to one of multiple intelligences in our physical and virtual learning environments. AI is now another presence in the learning community, along with students and educators. This has tremendous implications for how, where and what we teach.

In this keynote, Mairéad will discuss the new hybrid model of human + AI – a social, generative, constructivist and human-centred model of education that empowers educators. 

In this keynote, Mairéad will discuss

• Use the generative AI ecosystem to design learning experiences
• Design generative learning activities that meet pedagogically sound principles
• Create a hybrid community of inquiry composed of students and AI


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