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Professor Colin Bailey delivers keynote on digital education at Shanghai conference, sharing Queen Mary’s expertise in leadership and innovation

Queen Mary University of London President and Principal, Professor Colin Bailey CBE, delivered a keynote speech on digital education and spoke at a panel on Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the second World Digital Education Conference in Shanghai on Tuesday 30 and Wednesday 31 January 2024.  

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Colin Bailey delivering keynote speech in Shanghai
Colin Bailey delivering keynote speech in Shanghai

The World Digital Education Conference connects stakeholders to advance innovation and realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Queen Mary's participation highlights its position as a leader in ethical, cutting-edge digital education. 

As a keynote speaker, Professor Bailey discussed Queen Mary's latest developments in immersive digital learning and the role of technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and AI in education.  

Professor Bailey stated: "Digital education, in all its emerging forms, is key to ensuring universities deliver learning that is fit for our 21st century students. Queen Mary is combining its strengths in research and educational practice to help shape this future inclusively and ethically." 

Immersive learning was crucial for students during the pandemic 

With mixed mode education and mixed reality technology already in use, Queen Mary is leading in creating immersive learning experiences. In 2021, the University won Pearson's Higher Education Innovate Award for implementing mixed reality in chemistry classes. By introducing online platforms and mixed reality smart glasses, Queen Mary enabled remote students to immerse themselves in lab experiments using holograms and interactivity. 

Advanced technologies improve accessibility and inclusivity 

Professor Bailey highlighted Queen Mary's advances in flexible, immersive medical education, aiming to open the profession to a more diverse student cohort. The University partnered with Health Education England to launch a blended learning medical degree combining face-to-face, online, and digital learning experiences.   

Technologies like VR and AI are crucial for remote learning, healthcare simulations, and haptics training. Queen Mary's dental school uses sophisticated AI simulators to mimic real-world dentistry. 

For its role in shaping future medical education, Queen Mary won the Excellence in Digital Health Education Award at the 2022 MedTech Awards in Malta. 

Colin Bailey speaking to Jinpeng Huai, Minister of Education, People's Republic of China

The ethics of AI 

Professor Bailey also spoke on a panel discussion around AI and digital ethics on Wednesday 31 January. The panel explored opportunities and challenges facing education relating to AI technology. He was joined by speakers from the China Association of Higher Education, Tongji University and the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence Organization. 

Colin Bailey speaking to press at conference in Shanghai

In an exclusive interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN), the most prominent national broadcaster, Professor Bailey discussed the long-standing partnerships between Queen Mary and Chinese universities and addressed the challenges advanced technologies pose to universities: 

“The major challenge is to ensure we go at speed in using these new technologies openly, appropriately and ethically, to enhance our education, and to equip our students with the skills that they require for an ever-changing job market. The key to doing all this is co-creating them across institutions but also directly with students.   

“When it comes to AI tech and its ethical use, the Russell Group 24 Top Universities in the UK have developed a set of principles – but again it is important that we work with the students so that they understand the appropriate use of AI and that we use it to enhance and complement our education.” 

Principal Colin Bailey delivered the key-note speech at the World Digital Education Conference (WDEC) in Shanghai, which received widespread media coverage including Global TimesChina Global Television Network(CGTN), China Daily, China Education Television(CETV), and SMG International

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