U.S Embassy’s 2014 Annual Economic Conference, Dublin

As part of the U.S. EdTech program earlier this year with 9 other participants, we have been asked to take part in the U.S. Embassy’s 2014 annual economic conference in Dublin. “Smart People for a Smart Economy: Technology, Education and Filling the Skills Gap” on 3rd April 2014.



This U.S. Embassy annual conference will bring together tech leaders, policy makers, educators, entrepreneurs and business leaders from the U.S., Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore the next wave of innovation set to hit education and learning with broad implications.  The transformation already hinted at from MOOCs, gamification and online assessment offer both challenges and opportunities as countries look to reexamine how to deliver education and to keep up with the pace of technological change.  Adaptive learning, big data and ubiquitous high speed internet will disrupt past models.   Private-public partnerships will be needed to close the skills gap, encourage new emphasis in STEM education, and ensure that creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation skills are nurtured.   Ireland and the US have complementary situations and this conference offers an opportunity to jump start greater cooperation and exchange.

The conference will be opened by the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and closed by Ciaran Cannon TD, Minister of State for Training and Skills. Breakout Sessions include

  • Innovation Rich: Industry-Academic Engagement and Finding Faster Graduated Pathways to Productive Careers
  • Building an Ecosystem for EdTech
  • Data Privacy and EdTech
  • Innovation Rich: Engaging with Students Early – an Industry Perspective
  • Future Classrooms: EdTech K-12 and Creating Pathways to Careers
  • STEM, STEAM and Entrepreneurship Skills: Learning in the 21st Century
  • Future of the University
  • Innovating in Education
  • Innovative Citizenship: the New Civics

Two session I am helping to curate are

Future of the University (with Dr Jill Haynes)

With MOOCs, online learning and MBAs that can be earned on an iPad, what is the future of the university? This discussion will look forward at the changing role in society of the university.

Mike Feerick, Alison.com
Bettie Higgs, University College Cork
Brian MacCraith, Dublin City University


STEM, STEAM and Entrepreneurship Skills: Learning In The 21st Century (with Roisin Crawford and Gareth McAleese)

How can a needed push for higher achievement in STEM areas be coupled with a nurturing of creativity, entrepreneurial thinking and 21st century skill?


Steven Duggan, Microsoft
Sean O’Sullivan, SOSVentures
John Peto, Nerve Centre
Shauntel Poulson, NewSchools Venture Fund

The event is being streamed live and you can follow activity on twitter with the hashtag #smart14.

A spin off from this event is being held the following day (Friday 4th April) in Derry ‘Creating SMART Skills for the NW SMART Economy’ held in St Mary’s College, Derry. The is a great opportunity to have some fantastic speakers visiting our city.

For more information, click here.

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