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Shaping the Future of Education: Insights from the AAC&U Annual Meeting

Shaping the Future of Education- Insights from the AAC&U Annual Meeting - Vanessa Knox and Gail Ring
Category: Company
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Vanessa Knox-2
by: Vanessa Knox

Recently, PebblePad had the privilege of attending the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Meeting in Washington DC, where educators, administrators, and thought leaders converged to explore innovative solutions under the theme of “Shaping and Sharing Solutions.”

Engagement across disciplines

Amidst a diverse array of participants, the passion for transformative education was palpable. As a first-time attendee, I was inspired by the passion of educators to empower students for success. The discussions were thought-provoking, and the level of engagement underscored the importance of collaboration in addressing the challenges of modern education.

Key themes resonate globally

The conference themes of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Curricular Innovation; Engaged Learning; and Mental Health and Wellbeing struck a chord. These themes transcend geographical boundaries and resonate well with PebblePad’s philosophy and the recent conversations I’ve had with customers.

Plenary speakers’ vision

As can always be expected at an AAC&U conference, the plenary speakers delivered a call to action for all in attendance. Danielle Allen – James Bryant Conant University Professor and Director – reminded us that colleges and universities anchor the thinking culture of a democracy, and we must guard that responsibility. It starts with reflection to connect across differences/disciplines.

Eboo Patel, President, Interfaith America, in his closing plenary reminded us that bridges across differences don’t build themselves. We need graduates from our colleges to build them and we need to bring people together not pull them apart.

Shaping the Future of Education- Insights from the AAC&U Annual Meeting - Vanessa Knox and Gail Ring

Strategies for action

Throughout the three-day program, presenters shared a variety of strategies that we can employ to achieve this call to action and advance educational excellence.

  • Engage in co-curricular practices that engage all students via High Impact Practices and experiential learning.
  • Provide all students opportunities to make meaningful connections with faculty, staff and peers throughout their learning journey.
  • Engage in discussion on how institutions can look at experiential learning to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body.

Engaging with colleagues

The poster sessions provided a platform for lively discussions on a wide range of issues facing higher education all while enjoying a beverage and a snack!  Strategies for scaffolding reflection and integrated learning through portfolios; supporting access and success for all students in higher education; enhancing well-being and success through High Impact Practices to name just a few of the interesting conversations we shared.

Commitment to educational excellence

Our encounter with Dr. Candyce Reynolds and her innovative “Know-Do-Become Framework” at Boise State University exemplified the spirit of educational innovation embraced at the conference. This innovative approach to providing coherence across a diverse General Education curriculum to enhance learning of all students is truly exciting. If you haven’t heard of it, I highly recommend you take a look. Here’s a link to learn more: Know-Do-Become Framework Google Document

The many thought-provoking discussions we engaged in with colleagues through-out the event challenged, energized and motivated us to continue our commitment to supporting educators and educational institutions in their efforts to help all student succeed at all stages of their learning journey.

Partnering for progress

PebblePad’s partnership with AAC&U extends beyond the conference to the 2024-25 Institute on ePortfolios. This collaboration aims to explore the transformative potential of ePortfolios in higher education and advance student learning, assessment practices, and career readiness.

As we reflect on the insights and inspirations gained from the AAC&U Annual Meeting, we are reminded of the collective power of educators worldwide to shape the future of education. Together, we can navigate the educational frontiers and unlock new opportunities for learning and growth in a rapidly evolving world.

If you are interested in learning how PebblePad can align to your strategic goals and initiatives to support the entire learning journey for your students, please book a meeting.   

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Vanessa Knox
Vanessa Knox

Vanessa is a trusted business advisor with 25 years of global experience working in EdTech. Passionate about making a difference in people’s lives, she focuses on the customer need, with the best SaaS / EdTech solutions.

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