Yong Zhao

Distinguished professor and international speaker on innovation within education


Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas. He is also a professorial fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Health and Education Policy, Victoria University in Australia. He previously served as the Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he was also a Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy and Leadership.

His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 30 books, including Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes(2016)Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting Top 5 Ed Tech Mistakes (2015),Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World(2014), Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization (2009)and World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students (2012). He is a recipient of the Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association. He is an elected fellow of the International Academy for Education.

Until December, 2010, Zhao was University Distinguished Professor at the College of Education, Michigan State University, where he also served as the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Technology, executive director of the Confucius Institute, as well as the US-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence.

Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his B.A. in English Language Education from Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986. After teaching English in China for six years, he came to Linfield College as a visiting scholar in 1992. He then began his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1993. He received his A.M. in Education in 1994 and Ph.D. in 1996. He joined the faculty at MSU in 1996 after working as the Language Center Coordinator at Willamette University and a language specialist at Hamilton College.

My Session

Concurrent Session (C4) – How Do We Make It Happen?

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It is an incredibly exciting time to be a learner. There is little debate that we need to make some big shifts in education, but how do we make them a reality in our schools? Yong and Chris will pick-up on the previous night’s keynote address and look at the possibilities for schools and school […]


Keynote Address – Perils or Promises: Education in the Age of Smart Machines

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In a world being transformed by the fourth industrial revolution, human beings cannot and should not try to compete with very smart machines for jobs. Instead, we need to be more human, more creative, and more entrepreneurial instead of mechanical employees. However, the traditional employee-oriented education was designed to prepare workers, whose jobs are being […]