On Women in Science International Day, 11 February 2021, DEL4ALL hosted a World Cafe Webinar with more than 30 education technology experts and participants. During the event, speakers shared their expertise and achievements in the field of emerging technologies for education.

The World Cafe webinar kicked off with an introduction of the Women in Science International Day by Klaudia Gy. Farkas, senior researcher of 3CL, focusing on the importance of science and gender equality for technology development and pointing out the low percentage of involvement of women in STEM-related fields.

Following that, Dr Anne Bajart, Deputy Head of Unit at DG CONNECT Unit G.2 Interactive Technologies, Digital for Culture and Education, European Commission, provided a welcome speech on the importance of working in science. She encouraged the young female generation to be involved in STEM-related fields and to support each other in their career life. According to Anne, recent European statistics show that only 18 percent of employees in the ICT sector in Europe are female. However, in the education sector, 70 percent of employees are women, who report having less confidence in coding, using programmes and apps. This highlights a big controversy, which is why Europe needs more women in science and role models for the younger generation to admire and follow. 

After that, Dr Monique Calisti, CEO of Martel Innovate and DEL4ALL project coordinator, gave insights into the DEL4ALL project, highlighting the importance of advanced technologies, solutions, and approaches for digital education, especially in times of the pandemic. The past year has demonstrated that digital solutions are important, but that is not enough to solve all issues. Europe needs more individuals who are capable of inspiring others and conveying the soft skills, which can make a difference in our world. 

As part of the project introduction, Klaudia Gy. Farkas gave an overview of the DEL Research Agenda, sharing insights of the report focusing on the structural and operational issues experienced by education institutions during the pandemic. During her presentation, she gave insights into the Agenda’s strategic priority action points and identified research questions focusing on different technologies.

The event continued with a short introduction of the panelist speakers and an open discussion on important issues with respect to digital technologies. The following experts participated in the panel:  Perrine de Coëtlogon, Advocate of Blockchain & Open Education, Universite de Lille, Angeliki Dedopoulou, Senior Manager of EU Public Affairs, Huawei, Prof Carmen Holotescu, Director & Dean, Center for Open Education and Blockchain, University Ioan Slavici, Timișoara, Prof Athina Karatzogianni, Professor in Media and Communication, University of Leicester, Alessia Messuti, Learning Innovation Officer, International Training Centre of the International Training Organization, ILO, and Dr. Natalie Smolenski, Vice President of Global Digital Credentials, Hyland.

The panel discussion addressed questions such as: What does the term science mean in our world today? How can emerging technologies contribute to a better system of education? How can emerging technologies contribute to digital inclusion or focus on issues such as the digital divide and self-sovereignty? The discussion ended with reflecting on the Women in Science International Day with pieces of advice and keywords to females choosing a science and technology career path.

The DEL4ALL team would like to thank the panelists, presenters, and attendees for their valuable inputs at the World Cafe session. In case you could not attend the webinar, you can watch it here.