Reimagine Education 2019: Event preview

Top tech trailblazers and innovative academic faculty are currently applying in their droves to 2019’s ‘Oscars’ of Education, seeking worldwide recognition for their pedagogical approaches and US$50,000 in funding

The sixth edition of the Reimagine Education Awards – co-organised by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, compilers of the QS World University Rankings, and the Wharton School of Business – is aiming to surface highly effective, highly scalable approaches to teaching and learning. While last year’s competition was contested by 1,174 universities, schools and edtech companies, 2019’s competition has received a record 720 applications in little over four months.

The applicants are also seeking a place at the Reimagine Education Conference (London, 8–10 December): the reward offered to the 10% of shortlisted projects. Hand-picked by a panel of 200 judges, representing 34 nations and myriad industries and disciplines, the resulting showcases represent an unparalleled panoply of educational excellence.

Ben Sowter, director of research at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, perceives the competition as a method of providing students with necessarily qualitative insight into university teaching standards: 

“Rankings can’t capture everything that matters to students, and teaching quality remains the most important student consideration that can’t be adequately expressed via a single quantitative measure,” he says. “With over 4,400 applications submitted since we began the competition, we’ve managed to surface outstanding teaching initiatives from universities that aren’t typically featured in the uppermost echelons of our rankings. Keeping an eye on our awards is a good way to identify which universities are leading the way with innovative teaching methods.”

By bringing together the very best entrants at the conference, the organisers of Reimagine Education are also aiming to allow faculty and edtech companies to unite and share best practice. With delegates presenting projects deriving from a wide variety of different educational contexts, the conference aims to give all attendees new takeaways and insights to bring back to their own institutions – and classrooms.

It’s not only entrants to the competition that stand to benefit from attending the event. While the conference’s second day will be devoted to shortlisted showcases, the steering committee has transformed the event into one unique for its interactive workshops, expert-led panels, and one-to-one meetings between university CIOs, investors, and edtech companies. Speakers already confirmed include UCL’s Rose Luckin, director of UCL’s EDUCATE Project; Neil Morris, dean of digital education at the University of Leeds; and Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn. 

Nunzio Quacquarelli, co-founder of Reimagine Education, perceives the conference and competition to fulfil parts of the same essential process and mission: 

“We need to surface outstanding new approaches to education – and that’s what the awards do. We then need to give them a platform and visibility – the awards do this, but so does the day of showcases. We then need to give them an opportunity to scale to new learners – which is where our connect 1-2-1 sessions between investor and applicants come in. And then we need to debate and discuss how to take effective education to a billion future learners. Every session we put together is constructed with this goal in mind.”

The Reimagine Education Conference will take place from 8–10 December. The day of workshops will take place at Imperial College Business School on 8 December – the event’s official co-host – while the shortlisted showcases, panels, keynotes and awards ceremony will take place at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Centre on 9 and 10 December.

The Reimagine Education Awards will remain open for submissions until Sunday 1st September. To apply and/or attend, visit: 

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