Derek Li, Founder of Squirrel Ai Learning, Honored with 2020 BETT Asia Leadership Award

Derek Li, Founder of Squirrel Ai Learning, Honored with 2020 BETT Asia Leadership Award

SHANGHAI, April 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Recently, Derek Li, founder of Squirrel Ai Learning, was honored with 2020 BETT Asia Leadership Award as the only one winner for his continuous and profound reform in education technology. Candidates contending for the award were Asian leading figures in education, including Pradeep Nair, vice president & Chief Academic Officer of Taylor’s University Malaysia, Professor WANG Zihua, Vice Dean of the School of Education, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, China and Anirudh Gupta, CEO of DCM in India.

The British Educational Technology in Teaching (BETT) Awards are to encourage new teaching methods, innovative teaching concepts, and innovation that combines technology with education, considered the world’s largest and most authoritative awards in educational products. Opened to the whole world, the BETT awards are evaluated by globally famous educators in reference to the feedback of schools and users. Representative of the evaluation breadth, height and recognition of the global education circles, the BETT awards are reputed as the Oscars in the global educational technology community.

The Leadership Award is granted to individuals who continually raise educational technology standards in educational institutions and use innovative thinking to explore best practice models that bring greater benefits to students and staff. Derek Li is worthy of such award.


A Pioneer in Global AI+ Education Practice

Derek Li  is a serial entrepreneur working in the education industry for almost twenty years, and is in a leading position in the world of applying AI technologies to education. Squirrel Ai Learning is an AI education brand founded by Derek Li  in 2014. as China’s first education AI SaaS company developing and owning proprietary AI adaptive learning systems for primary and secondary schools, Squirrel Ai Learning is committed to providing 1 million K12 education and training institutions and 360,000 primary and secondary schools with SaaS services ranging from teaching services of AI virtual teachers to evaluation, homework and data-based management.

Squirrel Ai Learning is an AI unicorn in primary and secondary education, and its AI self-adaptive learning engine is the world’s first L5 level automatic teaching AI virtual teacher. It can realize intelligent and personalized education centered on students, achieve or even surpass the teaching effect of real famous teachers, and teach students in accordance with their aptitude and effectively improve learning efficiency.

As introduced in the award speech by the host, LI has attracted a large number of international professionals with his personal charm. He has provided them with opportunities to give full play to their advantages to cooperate in innovative and rich technical practices, actively explore the use of adaptive learning technology to change the status quo of global education, and solving the problems of unbalanced educational development and unfair distribution of educational resources.

LI expressed his honor to receive this BETT Leadership Award. Winners of and nominees to BETT Awards in previous years include Microsoft, Adobe, BBC, LEGO education and other world-renowned enterprises/institutions. The attention of BETT Awards to the education SaaS software service of Squirrel Ai Learning this year is not only a recognition of the sponsors for personal entrepreneurship, but also an affirmation of the technical strength of the Chinese educational software brand.

Those who start a business must aspire for its end; those who succeed must focus on the beginning. “AI has exerted an enormous impact on human beings and will certainly affect every aspect of our work and life,” LI was confident in AI technologies changing the world. At the global AI+ adaptive education summit AIAED 2019, therefore, Squirrel Ai Learning and the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) announced the AAAI Squirrel Ai Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity. Meanwhile, Squirrel Ai Learning announced its decision to give USD 1 million of funds every year to encourage outstanding scientists to make AI truly useful and beneficial to mankind.

When asked about the purpose of the award, LI revealed that the rapid development of AI requires the involvement of more researchers, professors and experts, so as to inspire more and more experts and young scientists to work harder and make greater contributions to human development and change. It’s hoped that the AAAI-Squirrel Ai Award for Artificial Intelligence for the Benefit of Humanity can become the Nobel Prize in AI.

Building a World-leading Education Brand

Recently, LIU Fuxing, dean of the School of Education of Remin University of China, elaborated his personal views on the development of online education industry. He believed that online education has a unique and important value in the Chinese education system and even the world education system. Building a high-quality education system with old methods will not be possible without digital technology. In face of increasingly fierce and complex international competition, however, online education is one of the fields that cannot be slowed down in the big picture of Chinese education reform and innovation.

LIU said, “The countries whose education adapts to digital technology will dominate the global landscape; if they do not adapt, they will fall behind in education and talent,” This viewpoint coincides with LI’s global view of education as LI raised the issue of the “digital divide” in the education industry before.

He pointed out that on the one hand, there is no denying that the level of basic education in China is among the best in the world from a global perspective; in recent years, Chinese students have been among the top in a number of PISA tests and have grown into technology backbones, contributing to the current “engineer bonus”, and enabling many domestic Internet companies to stand in the global forest; on the other hand, China has not produced so many Nobel Prizes in basic science, and has not developed the world’s best technologies. Is this education a success or a failure? What is the gap between the two?

In response to this, LI believes that China’s solid basic education and the hard work of students, schools and society give us more opportunities for development than overseas countries. However, we should not ignore the fact that “children are too tired and have an extremely low level of happiness” in exam-oriented education, which may curb the children’s qualities on which innovations and inventions depend, including curiosity, exploration and creativity.

The future education should not be merely cramming of knowledge points. Developing the ability to solve problems and learning how to learn is the essence of education. The cultivation, training and promotion of these core competencies will equip Chinese children with a solid foundation to explore the leading technologies, and the application of AI technology will undoubtedly be a strong support.

Through the use of evolutionary algorithms, logistic regression and neural network, Squirrel AI Learning can push learning contents according to the massive data generated by students during learning, build user portraits based on the data feedback, and continue to automatically optimize the push logic. The learning paths of individual students can be planned and matched, so as to realize the individualized requirements of “intellectual adaptation”. Thus far, Squirrel AI Learning has more than 10 million users nationwide, which is the best proof.

“The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation should lie in not only the construction of hardware infrastructure, but also the rise of soft power and whether we have created a world-class cultural and educational brand,” LI revealed. As can be seen from the past, the Chinese education has certain competitive defects in the world, but the improved application of AI technology in the AI era will present the opportunity of corner overtaking for the development of China’s education.

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