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Uncovering the Inspirational Story of Jean Arnaud: Entrepreneur, Educator, Digital Artist – Making an Unprecedented Difference in the Field of Education.

The days when tech was only for engineers are over. Currently, ambitious and creative professionals from various industries are a key element in cutting-edge innovation and its deployment. In education, for instance, teachers apply innovation not only in the way they use technology in the classrooms, but also within their pedagogy. Thus, they create a full circle of effective innovation practices with real impact.

Today, we are interviewing Jean Arnaud, a successful serial entrepreneur, mission-driven educator, author, speaker, and digital artist who is bringing the latest Web 3 technology to education. He often says his vision is to enable a new era of education.

Jean has taught at the most prestigious educational institutions around the world, including in developing countries. As a result, he has a very balanced and real understanding of global education and where it stands at the moment. Currently, Jean is based in the education hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts. We met him at Cambridge Innovation Center, right at the corner of MIT, to ask him some burning questions about education and technology.

Hi, Jean — thank you for accepting this interview! Let’s jump right in.

In the past, “education” and “technology” were rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but now we see more innovation in this sector. Where are we currently with technology and education?

Jean: I believe the global health crisis has accelerated changes that even the most conservative minds were trying to hold back. Teachers have come to understand that technology should not only be used to support learning, but that it’s an integral part of learning. Because it’s necessary to train children for the epoch in which they’ll evolve, it’s important to leverage these tools. It’s not uncommon to see educational applications like Kahoot in classrooms to meet specific pedagogical objectives like reviewing and measuring learning. The recent controversies about allowing GPT or Jasper Chat (AIs that respond to user commands to generate content, write essays or creative narratives, build presentations, synthesize text or code, and create art or design) in schools have shown that educators are not afraid to use these technologies and are willing to learn, regulate, and adopt them. It’s striking to see that often, institutions fear what they don’t understand, but not the teachers who are in touch with reality. 

A whole new generation of professors will have to be multi-skilled (and many already are), as will engineers, so as not to produce meaningless technologies. The two types of experts will have to work together to create technologies that are in line with what the education world needs. Actually, engineers who don’t consult with educational specialists too often produce games they think are educational but that cannot be applied in a classroom or that a majority of students find boring and ineffective in terms of teaching relevant knowledge or skills. 

The most recent example is the creation of “twin” digital schools, which resemble reality but utilize graphics at a much lower level than even video games do, and in which students simply discover spaces without interaction. These applications may have excited adults, but they don’t impress children, who are used to having an expanded reality in their games.

You regularly share your insights on this topic with your online audience. Do you think people understand how important innovation is in education?


We must be aware that the time when entrepreneurs were only interested in making money is over. People are now more aware of their responsibilities in the world. Climate change has made us realize that each of our actions, even our silences, impacts the planet and that we must use all our resources to build a more enlightened world. Well, that all starts with education. If we educate our children to value their peers, teach them the power of the mind through science and the arts, teach them that entrepreneurship is also about creating a greater good, convince them that through technology we can have a positive impact on society, and help them see that beyond their own individuality lies an entire humanity, then we’ll have a better world. 

Look at how some teachers have showcased their talents through YouTube videos. How many children who don’t have access to inspiring teachers can learn and enjoy learning thanks to this technology? 

People in my network feel that they can participate as I do in this great march of humanity. They recognize the potential of certain technologies—the metaverse, for example. On the most successful platforms, the metaverse makes it possible to revive ancient cities like Rome or Athens, discuss in space with Einstein, or manipulate atoms. This kind of innovation is what Nova is doing. Recently, I’ve seen that even the most skeptical have begun to question themselves because they’ve been forced to see what we’re doing without them. We are the future. We shape the future because we’re conscious that if nobody does it, we’ll have a future we don’t want. 

I believe that through education, anyone can gain access to knowledge and realize the true power of their minds. Education is unquestionably the key to freedom, and it is even more so when it is enabled by technology. Like many others, I believe that technology could be used more effectively and consistently to make a greater impact.

What brought you to the Web 3 space, particularly the Metaverse?

Jean: I came into the Web 3 space through the arts. I’d been creating digital art for many years, and when I heard about NFTs several years ago, I understood the art world’s intense interest in this new technology. It was the most obvious field of application, as it offered a guarantee of inviolable property in a market infested by counterfeiters. 

But I also saw its application in education as an extension of the “learn to earn” concept practiced in elementary schools. This practice is heavily debated because one could wish that a student would wish to learn only for pleasure and not to obtain a reward. Still, many countries apply this concept. 

However, my discovery of VR in connected worlds was most decisive. I came out of this experience transformed. In the arts, the metaverse can change spectators’ passive activity and lead them to immersively explore the work, interact with it, and create. In the field of education, it was also a revolution: children could connect from any place in the world (as on Zoom), but they could be the primary actors in their own learning, collaborate around specific tasks, and create in these digital worlds. Coming from a family of historians and Roman antiquity specialists, I immediately imagined Rome and the conversations I could have with Augustus Caesar in Latin. I said to myself, “We could resurrect the ancient genius in all its glory!” I saw no more limits, except those of imagination itself. I recognized a new world of possibilities for all artists and educators, and that’s when I became fascinated with all these technologies. 

While my time at Stanford University prepared me to think about this new technological world, and I had a theoretical knowledge of philosophy thanks to my French curriculum, the American curriculum forced me to think about the future and to invent it. 

How do you see education evolving in the future?

Jean: I think Nova has defined this vision better than anyone. We’re moving toward more personalized educational paths. 

Artificial intelligence will not only make it possible to measure students’ achievements and to define individualized programs and strategies, but it will also enable creativity. Students, for example, will be exposed to new ideas generated by AI, which will change their perspectives and help them write the final version of their essays or artwork. AI is not a replacement for the human mind but rather an ally who promotes our thinking, an external participant in the process of research, analysis, or creation.

Schools will also have more diverse lesson offerings in the form of modules, with a focus on the knowledge and skills required for our era. The most advanced schools already offer courses on the metaverse and artificial intelligence.

Beyond the knowledge and skills that will form the common learning base, students will be able to specialize. Our children will thus be multi-skilled experts, children of the New Renaissance, and creators trained to deal with the problems of their time. I believe that AI and Metaverse’s intertwined edtech solutions are among the most important learning tools. Many educators in my circles agree on this point.

Our children cannot be content with being just engineers; they must also be philosophers who are capable of thinking about the world and artists capable of designing it. 

School rhythms will also be different. With new technological developments, schools will be able to offer disconnected modules, including reading time, philosophical discussion, and meditation (Japanese schools already offer such options). We’ll finally get away from the current school heresy of sitting 30 students in a classroom for eight hours and making them listen impassively to the teacher. Thinking requires discipline, but not sterile docility. I’m an outspoken supporter of philosophy classes and philosophical discussions in schools beginning at a young age as a way to challenge the mind to think in new and different ways.

Why should people put more emphasis on education?

Education alone has the power to transform lives, minds, and the world. It serves as the foundation for our values and gives meaning to everything we do and believe. It is the absolute foundation of society. I feel this way because I believe in the Renaissance spirit, which aspired to develop curiosity in all fields of knowledge, cultivated a spirit of analysis and critical judgment as much as creativity, and gave science, art, philosophy, and spirituality a fundamental place. The Renaissance taught us that what made humankind great was the extreme refinement of our minds, which allowed us to question, know, create, and go beyond the limits imposed by nature. I believe that something greater than individuality deserves all of our efforts: humanity. I’m campaigning for us to regain a vision of what it means to be human, and for technology to serve that vision.

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