The IB Global Conference and Heads World Conferences 2023 in Dublin was an extraordinary gathering that brought together over 1,700 educators from 99 countries. It was an ideal platform to exchange ideas, share insights, and gain inspiration to shape the future of education.

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Curriculum Advancements: Embracing AI in Education

AI was a dominant theme with multiple sessions addressing how best to utilise this new and important tool for education.

The IB’s Director of Assessment, Matt Glanville, led an inspiring session on how schools should embrace AI as an opportunity, stressing that it is every teacher’s responsibility to:

  1. Use the technology themselves – responsibly.
  2. Engage with students and teach them how to use it.
  3. Ensure that sound academic practice is always followed.

Current IB policy emphasises transparency and encourages students to acknowledge their use of AI. AI-driven assessment may reduce bias and foster deeper thinking, but educators must ensure that AI complements the students’ academic skills development, and not become a substitute for it. This reassurance was proof that the IB is resolute in adapting to the disruptive transformation of AI, and intends to lead from the front.

ManageBac & Pamoja Updates

In her expo session, Angelica Nierras, ManageBac’s Senior Vice President, reported on exciting developments, including Multi-Curricula Report Cards, our redesigned UI/UX, and all-new content for the DP Sciences as part of ManageBac Passport, before diving deeper into the ways that ManageBac embraces AI. We will release comprehensive information about ManageBac AI Assist soon.

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With ManageBac AI Assist, we will seamlessly integrate AI into ManageBac’s core functions.

  1. Curriculum building – save hours in Unit and Task development. ManageBac AI Assist helps generate ideas and produce initial draft plans based on contextual data (e.g. Subject, Grade, Inquiry Questions, ATL Skills, etc.)
  2. Teaching & Learning – become a better writer. The writing assistant generates new ideas and expands on existing ones, reviews draft work (e.g. check for clarity, rephrase, summarise, and more), translates text, and is at hand to answer questions.
  3. Assessment & Reporting – improve efficiency and consistency. ManageBac AI Assist generates teacher comments for all students, assessment feedback with final grade inputs, and ensures the voice and tone of reporting is aligned across your whole school.

Further, our AI tools promote responsible use because:

  1. No personally identifiable information is shared with the large language models (LLM) that power ManageBac AI Assist.
  2. Admins will be able to set granular permissions, i.e., define which users have complete or limited access to ManageBac AI and its range of features.
  3. AI usage can be tracked across users.

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Pamoja was pleased to announce a new partnership with International Language and Literature Teachers’ Cooperative (ILLTC) and Mary Langford to deliver an additional service to schools, enabling them to offer self-taught language study in Language A courses. With all-new Pamoja Self-Taught Languages, we can now support schools in 15 world languages, helping more students attain proficiency in their mother tongue.

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Education for Inclusion

Education for an inclusive future was the umbrella theme of the conference. Fully online or hybrid courses allow more students access and give schools the means to increase the number of subjects on offer. Focusing on online education delivered via distance courses is a shared goal between the IB and Pamoja, where IB-approved online courses give students greater flexibility and access to a DP education.

The Pamoja team was invited to participate in the session ‘Adapting to a Changing Educational Landscape: Online and Hybrid Delivery of the DP’. Darren Hughes, Director of Pamoja, spoke about our 13+ years of experience delivering IB DP courses online, how online teaching boosts creative learning, the role of technology platforms in facilitating online learning, and how the IB school-Pamoja nexus promotes student well-being as one of its benefits.

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Innovation in IB Courses

IB DP courses are under continuous review and development. Schools have recently begun teaching the 2023 Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Philosophy courses. ManageBac Passport will soon support the new Sciences – see our content release plan. To accompany the IB’s 2024 revision cycle, ManageBac will update its DP course content, including in these select subjects: Sports and Exercise Health Science (SEHS), Global Politics, and Environmental Systems and Societies (ES&S).

As the IB looks to the future of education, its 16+ review – a multi-year and collaborative exploration of DP/CP course offerings for students aged 16 to 19 – continues with a view to introducing innovations by 2030. The most recent update can be found here. Meanwhile, ManageBac is at the forefront of supporting schools with the CAS Digital portfolio pilot.

The CP Core will be updated for first teaching in 2025 to serve the growing number of schools (363 at present) imparting this curriculum. Details of the update, whose explicit goal is to better prepare and support CP students to meet their career goals, are available in MyIB’s password-protected area.

Sustainability and Well-being

Another key theme addressed throughout the conference was school sustainability, with UWC Atlantic presenting their pilot for a new pathway for transformative education in times of polycrisis. Similarly, mental health and well-being were the subject of several keynotes, among which Dr Sue Roffey’s exposition of the ASPIRE programme stood out. ManageBac is also passionate about these themes, and developed a guide dedicated to well-being.

Overall it was great to meet so many of our customers face to face, to enjoy the famous local stout, and to be inspired by the talent of the many educators who innovate to prepare their students for the future.