Experts discuss the implications of China’s ban on teaching online from outside the country, including both the fallout and opportunities created for online English teachers, EdTech, students, and families.


Yong Zhao is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas and a professor in Educational Leadership at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in Australia. He has been recognized as one of the most influential education scholars; his works (over 100 articles and 30 books) focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. Zhao was born in China’s Sichuan Province. He received his bachelor’s degree in English Language Education from Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages in Chongqing, China in 1986, and his master’s in Education and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Andrew H. Chen is Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of WholeRen Education. As an international student from Beijing, Andrew Chen came to the U.S. for graduate school in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1995. In 2010, Mr. Chen founded WholeRen Education, an “on-shore” education service provider for Chinese students and their families. Alongside WholeRen colleagues, Mr. Chen has advised thousands of clients: in areas including long term educational attainment, school placement, university transfer, tutoring, mentoring, employability training, as well as international student school suspension recovery by second chance support. Mr. Chen hosts the “Andrew Chen on American Education” channel, which reaches up to 30% of international Chinese student families. Andrew Chen serves as the Vice-Chair of NAFSA China Member Interest Group (MIG). He has lived with his wife and 2 children in Pittsburgh, PA since 1998.

Charles Abelmann is an educational leader with experience in both research, policy and practice. Most recently he was the Director of the Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago, a school founded by John Dewey. Earlier in his career, he worked at the World Bank and managed programs in China and other East Asian Countries. He has done numerous projects related to China and currently is working on producing and directing a documentary film project about the cultural connections between teachers and students through the online English industry. He holds a doctoral degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

This panel is hosted by Ian.

Ian Wright is the inaugural director of BridgeUniverse, Bridge Education Group’s media, research, and news division. Wright spearheads efforts to fill the gap in the understanding of trends and opportunities in the rapidly growing English Language Teaching (ELT) industry. He brings over 20 years of education industry knowledge, university leadership, and consulting experience in international education and student enrollment management, including as Director of International Admissions at Long Island University – Post, Director of Partnerships at World Education Services (WES), and as University Relations Manager for Prodigy Finance.