SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: NATALIE SMOLENSKI


SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT: NATALIE SMOLENSKI

Natalie photo.JPGWhy are you looking forward to Bett MEA 2019?

The Middle East has been leading the world in the application of blockchain technologies to real-world issues. We are excited to spread the word about our work in the region.

Who/what do you want to see at Bett MEA 2019?

Government Ministers and Education Leaders throughout the region are looking for ways to minimize fraud, empower students, and create an ecosystem of student and records mobility. I look forward to meeting with them.

What should participants expect to hear in your session / what topics will you cover?

-What is a blockchain?
-What problems does it solve for education?
-What is Blockcerts?
-How is the University of Bahrain using these technologies?
​-Why was Learning Machine selected as a vendor partner?

Why do you think global collaboration is so important in education?

As the world transitions to a lifelong learning model, with an increasingly global and mobile student population, the ability to transport, share, and verify records anywhere in the world becomes critical to opening up opportunities for people everywhere. This means educational institutions around the world must collaborate to use shared standards for records sharing and verification.

Who or what inspires you in education?

I am inspired by Mary Callahan, MIT Registrar, who was a pioneer in providing her graduates with digital credentials they own for life. Mary started doing this before it was “cool” and has been a lighthouse for other University Registrars looking to implement new technologies.

Why is Bett MEA so important for educational transformation in the region?

Every region needs regular events where stakeholders in a particular industry can get together and share experiences and ideas. BETT is the site for this much-needed engagement.

How does the world deal with the need for more teachers and new approaches to learning?

Learning is happening everywhere; we just need to know how to recognize it. This is what credentialing does: it gives people credit for what they’ve done and what they can do. With verifiable credentials, people won’t be stopped from teaching because they can’t prove their experience or certifications. New forms of learning then become available to people all over the world.

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