From a local event to a global platform that annually presents all the latest and cutting-edge trends in
e-learning technology.



In 2011, Stanford launched Coursera and this led us to think that online education has a big future.

Nurlan Kiyasov, Commercial Director at NUST MISIS teams with partners from other universities to persistently promote the idea of establishing a Russian educational platform that will host online courses in the basic disciplines studied at Russian universities. Back then, none saw the problem and the need for such a platform since universities have been teaching for ages and will continue to do so. This is how EdCrunch was founded in 2014 — to vividly demonstrate to the government officials how much we are falling behind from other countries that are already on the way to introducing new technologies into the educational sector.

EdCrunch conferences — to vividly demonstrate how much we are falling behind.


As it was our first attempt to organize a huge event, many things were new to us: how to arrange visa support for speakers, how to rent equipment during a peak season of events and how to bring all the participants together. That first time the budget was scarce and we had to make choices all the way through: make ads, print banners, get fancy furniture or bring one more speaker.

0 ₽was received
from sponsors
1 500people attended the conference
at NUST MISIS venue

Arkadiy Dvorkovich,
Chairman of the Skolkovo Foundation,
Former Deputy Prime Minister of the
Russian Federation


Eventually, we arranged a huge meeting with all the management, invited speakers, including the Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation. Daphne Koller from Coursera, founders of Iversit, OpenLearning and Australia joined the meeting online.

At the meeting, Daphne mentioned 10% of Coursera students were from Russia. That was a mind-blowing number for all those present. The ministers got jealous, startup CEOs envied, and Nurlan simply heaved a sigh of relief. Something was definite — it was time to start promoting e-learning in Russia. That was how the 1st EdCrunch convinced our management and began preparing for the launch of a Russian e-learning platform.



The idea to create OpenEdu, an e-learning platform, originated from NUST MISIS during the 1st EdCrunch conference and received support from 7 leading universities. Consequently, we requested assistance from the Ministry of Education of the Russian Federation.

The key aim of the entire project: update the content of the curriculum to make it more flexible and timely.


8universities founded
OpenEdu platform owing to EdCrunch

Executives from 8 leading universities sign a memorandum and launch the OpenEdu platform.

September 14, 2020

500courses were available
on OpenEdu in the beginning
of 2020 lockdown

All courses comply with the Federal Education Standard meaning that each course can be incorporated into the curriculum of any university in Russia. Students can take an online course and then transfer credits for it to the university. For instance, in order to transfer from a technological university to a teacher training university, a student is required to have a credit for Psychology. So, they can do a Psychology course on the OpenEdu platform and receive the missing credit.

More highlights

Daphne Koller, Founder of Coursera, visited Moscow for the first time.

Launching K-12 track: teachers, school principals and deputy principals from all over Russia took part in the conference along with university representatives and EdTech startups.

500teachers, school principals and deputy
principals visited the conference for free



Pre-school education. The conference began attracting those who were engaged in early learning: representatives of private kindergartens, hobby groups, and child development centers.

Classroom design and architecture. Projects for new innovative schools in Russia were initiated — Letovo, Horoshkola and the New School. "What should a modern school look like?" the key question we managed to answer together with our prominent experts from all over the world.

Letovo school was designed by Anna Shapiro, Chief Architect from Atrium Bureau. Anna was among the speakers at EdCrunch 2016.

Billionaires, statesmen and enthusiasts are building schools in Russia. These schools are equipped with media centers and video studios, classrooms have sofas and poufs. In classes students can study in a standing or even lying position.

Corporate education. Heads of corporate universities from MTS, Sberbank, Rostec and other corporations, who integrate ongoing training programs for their staff, were brought together in one place.

Captivating speeches, open discussions and workshops by leading international companies enabled participants to fully immerse into innovative corporate education agenda.

Keynote speakers


Jimmy Wales,
Founder of Wikipedia.

Shares his thoughts on the library and principles of the Wiki-community.


Dr. William Rankin,
Former Director of Learning on the Global Education team at Apple Inc.

Explains why children should be taught to use gadgets for educational purposes and not only for entertainment. Devices may be harmful just like any other objects.

EdCrunch Night at Gorky Park

The first day of the Conference ended with a show at Gorkiy Park. The headliner of the show was Uma2Rman. The show was hosted by Alexander Pushnoy.



At the World Trade Center we had 11 halls operating simultaneously. Each hall had a speaker covering a variety of topics to fit any taste: from school and university to business in education.


free tickets were given to schools and universities after relocating to a larger venue.

EdCrunch has become a link between the EdTech industry and the government. This is the spot where you can have coffee with the Minister of Education and discuss proctoring with the president of ITMO University.

Exhibition Build Up

At the EdCrunch Expo 2017 the attendees met with the suppliers and integrators of educational solutions, found partners and signed contracts.


Grand collapse. What went wrong

  • Two months before the conference, the key manager
    responsible for 50% of the project scope left.

    And a million more questions with answers hard to find.

    Face of the manager who took over

  • A day before the event, Nurlan Kiyasov, founder of the conference, asked to change the entire navigation system on the site since it was quite challenging even for the staff to follow directions at such a huge venue with complex floor plans. The staff spent all night re-designing navigation plates. Early in the morning, they rushed to a printing office and spent the rest of the time before the conference re-installing new plates.

  • We knew the underground passes of the World Trade Center quite poorly. As a result, we got lost in there together with Arkadiy Dvorkovich, Igor Rybakov and Andrey Fursenko. Out of his 20-minute speech, Arkadiy spent 10 minutes roaming through the catacombs.

    How you can get on stage


    How we got on stage


    Either due to the fact that the navigation system was not ideal,
    or we did not get enough sleep.

  • The speaker, who was supposed to deliver the closing speech, had a flight delay.
    Our backup plan — find a new one.

    • #
    • #
    • #
    • #
  • Eleven more emergencies made us feel like Gagarin in space.

How we rocked


Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education at OECD, came all the way from Paris to describe a successful educational system of the future.

Launched a priority project "Modern Digital Educational Environment in the Russian Federation"


The project made it possible to start a “one-stop” service and move on to individual learning paths.



To save ourselves the embarrassment of the previous event, we decided to change the conference management structure. Now, the key backstage figures were those who had joined us at the dawn of the conference. Over the past 5 years, we managed to grow specialists who knew the conference inside-out and were able to undertake more sensitive parts of the project. For instance, the producer responsible for opening was now in charge of the whole entertainment program of the event.


Launched EdTech as a separate track so that entrepreneurs could share experience, discuss market potential, technologies, and investment.

Launched Workshops at which different experts shared with the audience proven approaches, methods, services and helped adapting them to solve professional problems.

19speakers delivered
23 workshops


Who else spoke at EdCrunch 2018?


Josh Bersin, Founder of Josh Bersin Academy.

Owing to his visit, HRCrunch, a single-day program for HRDs, was launched at EdCrunch 2018.


Anthony Salcito,Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft.

Our negotiations with him lasted for four years. We even had to travel to London to make it work out. Eventually, he came in 2018.



EdCrunch 2019 gathered all the top speakers we were unsuccessfully bombarding for many years.

  • #


    Founder and CEO of Minerva Project

  • #


    Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, Inc.

  • #


    Author of the Finnish education system, author of the best-selling book “Finnish Lessons 2.0”, Professor at Harvard University and University of New South Wales in Sydney

  • #


    Founder of the Center for Curriculum Redesign at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, author of «Four-Dimensional Education»

Redesigned the agenda,
added show and reality elements

At the opening session, the speakers formed three teams: "Government" , "University of the Future", and "Business" .The invited guests to bombard the teams with tricky questions and the teams tried to shoot off.


"I want to be a businessman. Why do I need to go to school?" — asked a 10-year-old boy.

Showed a performance about education of the future. The main character was an ordinary teacher who had the same fears and concerns as his fellow colleagues emphasised how to be helpful when you can Google anything? What interests does phygital have?


Invited a famous Russian standup comic Dmitriy Romanov


I try to educate myself with books, read a lot and self-educate. The last book I read was “Think Like a Billionaire”. Later I came across another book “Think Like a Millionaire”. I thought to myself: I don’t want to go down to millionaires level as I am already thinking like a billionaire.

Edutaining Branding


At EdCrunch we strive to make everything around education. If there is a poster, then it should have our speakers’ quotes. A company banner should include a fun fact, not just a corporate pattern with logos.

Battle: Barbara Oakley vs.
Tatiana Chernigovskaya

One subject. Two scientists and two opposite visions. They met for the first time on stage and found no reason to argue!

# Tatiana Chernigovskaya Barbara Oakley

Expert advice:
“Sleep well before the exam to transfer the information from hippocamp to long-term memory. It will never happen without sleep.”

Barbara and Tatiana discussed how the brain works, and Alexander Asmolov added to the discussion. We agreed on the main thing:

Metaphor is a foundation to build
something new.

This is how EdCrunch 2019 ended.


The 7th EdCrunch: Using plan "P" meaning "Pandemic"

After Coronavirus moved the entire education system to distance learning, we decided to hold the conference online — EdCrunch on Demand was our largest project in seven years.
Hi, I'm Ignat
your personal assistant
at EdCrunch on Demand

In September, it became clear that the online format had its own specifics and installing a camera that streams live performances would not save us.

"To keep the attendees engaged we had to set up our own Netflix with supporting infrastructure, entertaining shows, and elements of gamification".

Nurlan Kiyasov, founder and program director of the conference

Eventually, we turned the halls into full-fledged studios, thought out various plans for speakers and interactive activities for a dynamic stream, hired a film crew of 100 people and developed the online platform EdCrunch on Demand with LMS and social networking functions.

Not only can the platform match sessions to user interests, it allows you to create your own routes of participation in sessions and communicate with other users in private and public chats. Special mention should be made of the opportunity to review the recordings of favorited speeches for a year after the conference.


Keynote Speakers of EdCrunch on Demand

  • Robert Morris Sapolsky

    Robert Morris Sapolsky

    World-renowned neuro-endocrinologist and professor of biology, neurology, and neurosurgery at Stanford University

  • Salman Khan

    Salman Khan

    Founder of Khan Academy, a free online educational platform that offers a wide range of educational videos

  • Betsy Corcoran

    Betsy Corcoran

    Co-founder of EdSurge and "Rock Star of Education"

  • Irina Shikhman

    Irina Shikhman

    Journalist, interviewer, author and host of the YouTube channel "A pogovorit?" ("A Talk?")

  • Asya Kazantseva

    Asya Kazantseva

    Science journalist, laureate of the Enlightener Prize, and author of three bestselling books on irrational human behavior

  • Lyudmila Petranovskaya

    Lyudmila Petranovskaya

    Family psychologist, educator, publicist and author of books for parents, founder of the Institute for Family Development (IRSU)

  • Mikhail Kazinik

    Mikhail Kazinik

    Culturologist, art historian, violinist, member of the Slavic Academy of Literature and Art, author of books on art including "The Secrets of Geniuses", TV and radio presenter, author of 56 films on world culture

  • Dima Zitser

    Dima Zitser

    Educator, founder and director of the Institute of Non-Formal Education INO and Apelsin School for unorthodox education

Gamification on the platform


Minerva Schools Innovation University student Viktor Perminov won an MBA course at Moscow School of Management Skolkovo for being the most active on EdCrunch on Demand online platform.


According to Victor, he signed up on EdCrunch on Demand because he wanted to learn about innovative educational projects, and find like-minded people to work together, and transform world education in the University of Students project, but then he got involved in the game mechanics.

"Honestly, winning at all costs was not my goal. In the very beginning, all I did was meet new people and actively participate. So, when the first achievements arrived, I thought, while I am at it, why not try going for the prizes.

But, the main award was a complete surprise to me! Frankly speaking though, it was incredibly satisfying to hear them say I was the winner".

The online platform in numbers

In 3 days:
  • 193
  • 100+
    of streaming
  • 8
  • 14 401
  • 30 628
    achievement badges earned by users for their activity
  • 49 313
    messages written
    in group chats
  • 6 664
    personal messages sent
    by users via embedded messenger

But the most valuable thing is that we all managed to be on the same page together to feel the overall vibe and support even at a distance!


8th EdCrunch journeyed to Kazakhstan!

For the first time EdCrunch went beyond Russia. In the past years we noticed that a delegation from Kazakhstan regularly visited EdCrunch, and we decided to get to know them better.

This is how we found out that these people are promoting digitalization of education in their own country. Thus, in a heartbeat we decided to hold the conference in Kazakhstan.

Along with that we discovered that Kazakhstan experts - kindergarten teachers, school and university teachers - are looking for professional development. They strived to learn about new technologies and how to integrate them into the learning process.

This is when Nurlan Kiyasov, the founder of EdCrunch, started to visit cities around Kazakhstan to find a perfect venue.

We visited many cities: Aktobe, Aktau and Pavlodare. Eventually we made up our mind to hold the conference in Almaty, one of the largest megapolis in the country.
Brand new track for
all the participants

Generally each track was aimed at a single target audience: parents, teachers, university staff, corporate training managers or entrepreneurs. This time we launched an EdCrunch Stage track that was relevant and useful for all the participants. The track was both for offline visitors at our Almaty venue as well as online viewers.

For the first time after the pandemic
we welcomed our speakers
EdCrunch Break:
interactive breaks

After rethinking the old format we decided to make it more interactive and unforgettable. The conference guests tried many new things: from working out to training vocal control.

Cultural peculiarities of Kazakhstan as part of EdCrunch

At the EdCrunch Night the musicians
performed with national instruments.

We are proud to go global and start spreading new knowledge in another country.

of the participants were from Kazakhstan


The 9th EdCrunch — we stayed in Kazakhstan!

We were happy with the success of EdCrunch 2021 and decided to stay in hospitable Kazakhstan. We decided to reboot the knowledge about education and learning with the help of neuroscience, so the main theme of EdCrunch Reload was "Merging Minds & Technology”.

World neuroscience stars

We hosted neuroscientists who talked about how to improve the educational experience with the help of brain science. This time the conference was held at three venues in Almaty, where 10 business program halls worked simultaneously and 120 business and entertainment events took place.

2022 img

Jared Cooney Horvath

Educational Neuroscientist, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne neuroscientist and Harvard lecturer Jared Cooney Horvath talks about how the brain predicts the future by a second and a half to two seconds. It continuously processes information and constantly updates its view of the world. This is the way it tells us the most probable future.


Beau Lotto

Professor of Neuroscience at University of London, Founder of the world’s first neurodesign studio Lab of Misfits

Beau Lotto is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of London and founder of the world's first neurodesign studio, Lab of Misfits. At EdCrunch, Beau spoke about the fact that we don't actually see reality. Beau believes that our senses, which we need to understand the world around us, actually prevent us from perceiving it objectively.


Michelle Zappa

Technology Futurist, Information Designer and Founder of Envisioning (a technology foresight institute)

And futurist Michelle Zappa said that the future belongs to the "centaurs". Centaurs are a symbiosis of machine and man, which, due to properly organized interaction, works more efficiently than the strongest people and the best computers.

Mentoring sessions for the first time at EdCrunch

The speakers met with the participants personally and shared their experiences and cases. For example, how to launch a learning portal, build HR processes from scratch and effectively train employees in new skills. The experts held 53 sessions in 2 days.


Harvard Graduate School of Education lecturer Randy-Michael Testa talks to an entrepreneur about what strategy to choose for an online school development.

Immersive show and performance based
on Asya Kazantseva's book

Immersive Show

The space liner is in distress. There are 6 passengers on board: an elderly philanthropist, a female teacher, a young scientist, a pregnant girl and newlyweds who are returning from their honeymoon. Due to a collision with space debris, the evacuation procedure was launched, and only one rescue capsule remained in service. The audience listened to the stories of the heroes and, by means of voting, chose who was worthy of being saved and returning to Earth, and who would remain wandering in outer space.


There were newlyweds on board the ship. The young wife told the audience that she would never fly to Earth without her husband — she preferred to die. But her husband, on the contrary, asked the audience to save him.

Through this show conference participants were able to participate in an experiment on morality, in which any decision led to a moral choice. Such an experiment helps to reveal the pattern according to which our brain makes choices and decisions.

Performance based on the book
by Asya Kazantseva

The heroes of the play tell why it is difficult for a person to give up smoking. This is because nicotine is built into our reward system in the brain. Without nicotine, this system no longer works, and so nicotine addiction develops.


EdCrunch thundered
all over Almaty

online participation 8000
views of posts
referencing EdCrunch
50 mln
at the exhibition
EdCrunch Expo
activities of business

and entertaining format
from 20 countries
individual mentorship sessions 53
speakers and media personalities from 

22 countries

Conference results and victory
in EdTech Awards

Won the "Event of the Year. Greatest Benefit for the Edtech Business” award.

From the Smart Ranking agency. This agency ranks the largest companies in the field of online education and we became the first in the international direction.


EdCrunch 2023 —
make history together with us