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Cambridge Prof Jason Arday to give keynote speech on educational diversity and inclusion at Bett 2024

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JasonArday, the University of Cambridge’s youngest-ever Black professor who was unable to read or write until the age of 18, will speak at the world’s biggest edtech show in London, which brings together more than 30,000 educators, innovators, and changemakers. 

Renowned sociologistJasonArday, who defied the odds by overcoming teenage illiteracy to become the University of Cambridge’s youngest-ever Black professor at 37, will deliver a key note address at the 2024 Bett show. Arday, who was unable to read or write until the age of 18, is now a professor of sociology of education at the University of Cambridge. Bett UK takes place at London’sExCel Centre from 24-26 January. Bringing together more than 30,000 educators, innovators, and changemakers, it is the world’s biggest edtech conference. 

Arday will discuss tackling educational inequalities and promoting social justice, as well as the role of technology in supporting a more inclusive educational system. He will also talk mental wellbeing and resilience.

Jason Arday is one of the youngest people ever to be appointed to a full professorship in Oxbridge’s history. He has been called on by numerous organisations including the Governments of England, Scotland and Wales, to consult and develop anti-racism strategies. Diagnosed with a form of autism spectrum disorder at the age of 3, Arday did not speak until he was 11, and therapists predicted he would require lifelong support. 

He now uses his platform to advocate for more diversity and better representation for those from disadvantaged backgrounds in higher education. He is a Trustee of the Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading Race Equality Thinktank and the British Sociological Association. Jason sits on the Centre for Labour and Social Studies National Advisory Panel and the NHS Race and Health Observatory Academic Reference Group.

EmmaVandore, Head of Content at Bett, said:

“We are thrilled to welcome JasonArday to the Bett stage. He is an inspiration to many, and a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusivity in education. Our aim each year is to provide a truly global meeting place for educators, changemakers, and the world’s leading edtech innovators to have inspiring exchanges and spark solutions to ensure students and schools everywhere get the most out of technology.

“With technology constantly transforming the education landscape, it’s imperative that diverse groups of educators, innovators, and even students come together to learn from each other and chart the best path forward. In particular this year, we look forward to introducing our enhanced Connect @ Bett platform, which will make it easier than ever for the right people to connect with each other at the show.”

JasonArday said:

“I am so excited to take part in Bett 2024, which for years has been helping drive meaningful change in education through technology. I can’t wait to connect with the global edtech community at the show, and exchange ideas on how to truly democratise education.

“Whether it’s adapting learning tools to neurodivergent students’ needs, or opening up access to higher education forunder-represented groups, there is so much technology can to do empower young people to reach their full potential.”

Bett’s 2023 edition brought together 600 edtech companies and 400 speakers from 123 countries. The 2024 event promises a host of new features, including TableTalks and Tech User Labs, which leverage Bett’s groundbreaking technology platform to enable educators to collaborate with peers and experts. The event will also provide a greater focus on inclusive education,with more on neurodiversity and special education needs and disability, as well as professional development opportunities for teachers to improve their edtech knowledge and purchasing expertise. Additionally, the programme will offer a deeper dive into AI’s impact on education. Bett 2024 will also see the return of the show’s three flagship prizes, the Bett Awards, Kids Judge Bett, and the UK Design Challenge.

In addition to Jason Arday,16-year-old Indian tech prodigy Namya Joshi, who creates learning experiences through the game Minecraft, has also been confirmed as a speaker. She has spent the last five years using the software to design and deliver free coding workshops for more than 15,000 teachers and young people, especially girls, in India and all over the world. More speakers are set to be announced in the coming weeks.

Participants can register their interest for Bett 2024 online.

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