Harnessing Today’s Challenges & Opportunities to Influence the Future of American Education

Over the past year of learning and teaching from home, it has become exceedingly apparent how little has changed since the inception of the modern education system in the late 19th century. How can we harness the challenges and opportunities of today’s historic inflection point to positively disrupt American education in the long-term? How do we scale solutions and make them accessible for all? How can we influence education to prepare students for the ever-evolving workforce? This session aims to discover solutions to these big questions through a two-pronged community engagement approach. As the first part of this approach, our team will facilitate a think tank prior to the conference. Through a process of discovery including surveys, curated roundtable discussions, and Q&A with experts, we will solicit input from a wide variety of stakeholders including students, parents, educators, administrators, education experts, and designers across public, private, charter, vocational, and progressive education. The think tank will explore the history of the modern education system to understand what the barriers to change have been, then study the predictions for what life will be like in 2070 to inform where we are going. Topics of discussion will include the rise of A.I., removing complex external factors that limit change, shifts in the academic calendar, increased anxiety in young people, and future implications of blended learning as children become increasingly sophisticated digital learners. Our panelists, an educational strategist and researcher, progressive educator, and architect specializing in K-12 design, will analyze the feedback gathered throughout the think tank and synthesize key takeaways and proposed solutions for presentation at the conference. After this presentation, the panel will engage the audience around these topics to further the conversation. Through this crowdsourced approach, we hope to craft discourse, and ultimately scalable solutions for the future of American education.

Learning Objectives:
1. Gain insight into the wide range of challenges and opportunities experienced by a comprehensive group of stakeholders representing varying perspectives.
2. Understand the history of the modern education system as a foundation for our present reality and lesson for the future.
3. Explore future trends that will affect education including the rise of A.I., robotics, and automation.
4. Translate insight into forward-thinking solutions for the next century of education.

Matthew McChesney, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, Partner, KSS Architects
Matt is a powerful force and trusted advisor within the K-12 community, helping to build community and achieve pedagogical goals, thereby empowering students to succeed and neighborhoods to flourish. Clients know Matt for his ability to listen to their needs, understand their values, and create spaces that maximize their potential. His work for leading education clients has contributed to the design and renovation of dozens of charter schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York

Jena Croxford, Partner, VIM Collaborative
Jena is a seasoned advisor, strategist, and facilitator who brings a distinctive mix of experience in education, communications and marketing, strategic planning, and project management. Jena is known for her ability to bring clarity to complex situations and turn ideas into executable plans. She has worked with dozens of public and private schools and nonprofit organizations to help them adapt, advance, and grow.

Jane Shore, Ed.D., Head of Research & Innovation, Revolution School
Jane is a meaning-oriented researcher, strategic storyteller, and connector working to transform how people engage in professional learning and collaboration. As an applied academic researcher, Jane has 20 years’ experience creating and cultivating strategic partnerships that bring research to practice. Jane aims to offer a thoughtful perspective, receptive sensibility, and people- and research-savvy. As Head of Research and Innovation, she has co-founded a professional learning community called School of Thought. 

Association for Learning Environments (A4LE)

LearningSCAPES 2021

October 14-17
Hyatt Regency | Denver, CO