From 21 to 23 March, 2024, the IB Global Conference took place in Daegu, Republic of Korea, gathering over 1,300 educators from 38 countries. The event was a hub for sharing innovative educational practices, discussing the future of learning, and exploring the theme of ‘Inspiring Learners, Realising Potential’. This year’s conference highlighted how we, as an educational community, can enhance our pedagogical leadership and curriculum to shape a generation capable of creating a better world.

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Keynote Insights

The keynote sessions provided deep insights into the future of education. Speakers Meg Durham, Dr. Paul Kim, Mr. Ameeta Mulla Wattal, and IB Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen shared their visions on maximising pedagogical leadership and curriculum development to foster youth potential.

Meg Durham, the voice behind ‘The School of Wellbeing’ podcast, highlighted the link between teacher wellbeing and student success. She argued that for students to thrive, educators must prioritise their own wellbeing, emphasising the importance of building relationships and making connections within the educational community.

Dr. Ameeta Mulla Wattal engaged the audience with her keynote advocating for a shift from isolation to alliance, self-centeredness to co-existence, and confrontation to interaction. Drawing from Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, she touched on the importance of co-initiating, co-sensing, presencing, co-creating, and co-evolving in leading the emerging future. Dr. Ameeta encouraged educators to adopt reflective practices and collaborative innovation to tackle complex challenges.

Dr. Paul Kim’s presentation on the evolving landscape of technology and its impact on education was eye-opening. He highlighted the emergence of a ‘new normal’ characterised by AI-accelerated automation, productivity leaps, and the potential pitfalls of depending on AI excessively. These developments, he pointed out, could lead to a decline of social skills and a risk of mediocrity. In a world inundated with information, what sets us apart is our ability to ask meaningful questions, stating ‘As we enter the AI era, true student success lies not just in the answers they find but in the depth and daring of the questions they pose’. This perspective shifts our focus towards the learning journey itself, rather than just its outcomes. By doing so, educators are positioned to guide students toward thriving in a future shaped by AI — a future demanding not only traditional 21st Century like Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Thinking, known as the Four Cs, but also fostering Compassion and Commitment.

Curriculum Enhancement

The Middle Years Programme (MYP) is undergoing enhancements aimed at refining the curriculum and supporting both learners and educators. The programme aims to create a better learning environment for students, simplify processes for teachers, and offer flexibility to schools. Fundamental design principles now include fostering international-mindedness and placing the learner at the centre of the MYP. A new approach to the designed curriculum offers greater flexibility with multiple sample templates, allowing schools to create units that best fit their context.

The Primary Years Programme (PYP) has introduced updates to its curriculum framework, focusing on balanced, and future-facing theme descriptors and subject-specific learning continuums for a more integrated learning approach. New tools and resources support inquiry learning and language proficiency, alongside specialised materials for early years education. Additionally, a curriculum design toolkit helps customise the PYP framework to meet the unique needs of different school environments.

What’s New on ManageBac

Standards-Based Grading and Classroom Enhancements
During ManageBac’s expo session, Angelica Nierras, Senior Vice President, shared the advancements in standards-based grading, empowering teachers to provide more nuanced feedback to students. Looking ahead, ManageBac is set to improve user experience with AI-assisted workflows, and a range of integrations including Clever and OneRoster.

DP & MYP Assessment
ManageBac and AssessPrep have launched a suite of new exam papers. For the Diploma Programme, our Exam Question Bank now features 350+ papers, 8,000+ questions with solutions across 9 subjects. For the MYP, we offer 350+ papers, 9,000+ questions with solutions across 14 subjects. All papers and questions are written to reflect the official suite of questions offered by the IB, giving teachers and students an ideal environment to practise. Additionally, educators can create interactive assessments using 15 different question types, supported by an AI assistant that generates an endless supply of new questions.

PYP Programme of Inquiry (POI)
In collaboration with leading PYP Coordinators, ManageBac is offering a pre-built, comprehensive POI that aligns with both the PYP Scope & Sequence and the US Common Core Standards. This initiative ensures a seamless and holistic PYP learning experience.

Pamoja Online Courses & SSST
Pamoja revealed its latest academic achievements, showcasing the excellence of our online courses (the only IB-approved online courses) and our commitment to providing top-tier education. In the May 2023 session, the predicted grades were within 0.06 of the awarded final grade, once again demonstrating the skill and experience of our teaching community. Over a third of our students achieved an IB6 or IB7 grade. Nearly 85% of our students received a passing grade, which is higher than the IB global average pass rate.

Pamoja also introduced an all-new service called Pamoja Self-Taught Languages. In partnership with the International Language and Literature Teachers’ Cooperative (ILLTC) and Mary Langford, Pamoja now offers 15 IB DP School-Supported Self-Taught (SSST) Literature A courses (and more on demand). This service empowers IB schools to meet the needs of families seeking an educational experience where access to a mother-tongue language is deemed essential. It provides vital support for schools who may rely on unproven outsourced services, assuring a high quality experience at every step.

Learn more about Pamoja Self-Taught Languages.

Pioneering Ethical AI in Education
CEO Oleg Figlin pointed out a unique challenge: people tend to mistrust AI in areas where it could offer immense value, yet place undue trust in its capabilities where it may fall short. He stressed the need for a balanced and informed approach to integrating AI within educational ecosystems.

Faria Education Group, to which ManageBac and Pamoja belong, has taken a principled stance on AI utilisation, ensuring that schools remain in complete control of how AI tools are employed. The organisation champions a model where teachers’ autonomy is paramount, and any suggestions generated by AI must receive explicit approval before use. This approach safeguards the educational process, ensuring that AI assists rather than dictates. Faria’s commitment extends to providing transparent visibility into any AI-generated content, ensuring that the educational content remains authentic, reliable, and valuable.

Building a Global Educational Community

During the expo stage, Ryan Bulosan, the Head of Community, shared how ManageBac is strengthening its community with the introduction of several initiatives, including the ManageBac User Group Conference, ManageBac Hub, and ManageBac Ambassador Programme. With over 150 ambassadors and counting, these platforms offer educators opportunities to showcase their expertise, support their schools, and engage with a global community.

For the Ambassador Spotlight, we put a spotlight on Mike Cuepo, a ManageBac Ambassador and the Middle and High School Assistant Principal at Beijing International Bilingual Academy. He offered insights into how ManageBac has been a catalyst for positive transformation within their school, emphasising the platform’s role in understanding students better. ‘To inspire learners, educators must acknowledge, consider, and work with the context of the students. ManageBac provides visibility to this context,’ Mike underlined the importance of contextual learning. Alongside, he shared tips for successful implementation and advice on how to leverage ManageBac to its fullest potential.