In March, I was so fortunate to be invited to speak at Bett Asia in KL. The conference took place at the fashionable Mandarin Oriental Hotel and gathered influencers and teachers from all around the Asian region. Compared to Bett London, a lot more policy changers attended the conference all with the goal to embrace technology in education in their country.
The opening speech were made by the Ministers of education from Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, and they all focuses on how to create a change culture, how to improve the quality of life and also on how to include the students with special needs.
Coming from my background I was delighted to hear, especially the Ministry of education from Malaysia, as he was focusing a lot on special education and on how to give everybody the same opportunities.
At the end of day one I gave a presentation in the K-12 stream about telepresence robots and Virtual reality, and it was absolutely amazing to experience the interest and hype there was about the presentation afterwards. A lot of people from many countries approached me afterwards to pay their respect, to take pictures and to connect, so they could hear more. It was obvious for me that this technology was completely new to them, but nevertheless most of the people I talked to could see the possibilities relating to home-schooling in their own country.
In an instant minute my calendar for day two at the conference went from blank to full, having set up meetings with the ministry of education, a presentation for Microsoft New Zealand, an interview with an online paper and a meeting with a very nice Malaysian professor who wanted to hear how people with autism in Denmark are diagnosed, what possibilities they have in life and what options they have to live on their own.
Furthermore I did a roundtable discussion on day two about technology and children with special needs. The final question from the moderator was “What kind of technology would you invest in, if you had a magic wand that made your wish come true”. My answer was simple, I would’t use it on buying technology, I would use it on giving all teachers a growth mindset, because that’s what we need if we want to successfully implement technology in every aspect of the school day. We need to be open-minded, to allow us to fail and to think out-of-the-box.
Having been able to share my perspectives and to experience the interest about our project and the way we treat and educate people with special needs in Denmark, makes me proud of being Danish, but more importantly I think it also brings hope to see countries from the third world suddenly focusing on special needs.
Hopefully a lot of people will bring back my experiences an adapt it them to their own school system.