The NMC Summer Conference tracks — or “pathways” align with the impact statements of the NMC Horizon Project, which are all about advancing positive trends in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Select one specific track that is most relevant to your work or a impact you want to make on your field — or embark on multiple tracks for a well-rounded perspective on all things edtech. Choose your own NMC Summer Conference learning adventure!

Click on any track below to get more details. (Photo by Tom Woodward)

Expanding Access and Convenience

Education institutions have made great strides in generating more methods and platforms for ubiquitous collaboration and productivity. The advent of always-connected devices has provided more flexibility in how, when, and where people learn, and many institutions have updated their IT infrastructures accordingly. While mobile and digital learning strategies have increased over time, disparities in high-speed broadband connectivity and in engagement between different demographic groups (socioeconomic status, gender, etc.) are prompting learning leaders to continuously evaluate the affordability, access, and quality of their offerings. This pathway explores ideas and initiatives for increasing the availability of high-quality learning resources and equalizing opportunities for all learners.

 

Spurring Innovation

If education is viewed as a vehicle for advancing the global economy, then it must be the North Star that guides societies to the next big thing, illuminating new ideas that solve pressing challenges and creating opportunities to shape a better future. In this sense, institutions are incubators of inventions and developments that progress positive trends, as well as the most important product of all: student graduates who not only are prepared for college and fulfill evolving job market needs, but also redefine and improve the environments they enter. This pathway explores ideas and initiatives towards advancing cultures of entrepreneurial thinking and new concepts that have the power to change the education field — and the world.  

 

Fostering Authentic Learning

As institutions prioritize active, hands-on learning over rote learning, students are being viewed in a new light. Rather than being regarded as mere participants and consumers of knowledge, the embedding of maker culture in higher education has made them active contributors to the knowledge ecosystem. They learn by experiencing, doing, and creating, demonstrating newly acquired skills in more concrete and creative ways. Students do not have to wait until graduation to change the world. However, institutions are challenged to generate these opportunities in spaces and with paradigms that still lean on traditional practices. This pathway explores ideas and initiatives that are championing learners to be creators, and experience the world beyond the walls of classrooms.

 

Tracking and Evaluating Evidence

What good is a new approach or technology deployment if the results are not carefully measured and analyzed, with the program adjusted based on the results? Institutions are becoming more adept at capturing a bevy of programmatic data. This same principle has been applied to tracking learner performance, engagement, and behavior, and leveraging that data to inform decision-making across departments and organizations. This information is also fueling more personalized experiences through adaptive tools that analyze areas for improvement and deliver tailored content to each individual. This pathway explores ideas and initiatives towards that leverage data to scale programs and solutions in ways that maintain ethical and privacy standards.

 

Improving the Teaching Profession

The emphasis on more hands-on, technology-enhanced learning has impacted every facet of campus life, with teaching as a central force. With students inventing, iterating, and collaborating regularly, instructors have been transplanted from their position as “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side.” There is a need for mentoring and coaching as students work through complex problems to explore new frontiers and gain concrete skills. Faculty must balance the student-centered approach with subtle but effective facilitation. However, teachers are not always sufficiently motivated to improve their teaching craft — or rewarded when they do so. Programs that recognize and scale positive teaching practices are a necessity. This pathway explores ideas and initiatives for better supporting and evolving the roles of teachers and faculty.

 

Spreading Digital Fluency

The contemporary workforce calls for digitally-savvy employees who can seamlessly work with different media and new technologies as they emerge. A major element of fostering this fluency is recognizing that simply understanding how to use a device or certain software is not enough; faculty, staff, and students must be able to make connections between the tools and the intended outcomes, leveraging technology in creative ways that allow them to more intuitively adapt from one context to another. Ownership of this movement must be shared as digital fluency is an important thread that runs through practically every facet of teaching and learning. This pathways explores ideas and initiatives that prioritize creativity, digital adaptability, media creation, storytelling, and other 21st century skills that will help learners attain their educational and career goals.