The New Learning Institute, in partnership with local education officials worldwide, conducts the Leadership Summit Series on Digital Media to explore and promote the multiplicity of ways in which digital media are changing the way young people learn, show what they know, and share their ideas — inside and outside the classroom.
Although they don’t always realize it, young people across the globe are taking more control over the ways they acquire, create, and share information and knowledge. Much of this is fostered by the everyday digital technologies of the 21st century: mobile devices with multimedia capabilities, Internet access, and text messaging; social networking sites; new modes of communication like blogging and Twittering; complex gaming environments; and a wide array of virtualized resources that are assessed dynamically via the Internet.
We call the harnessing of such interest, energy, and activity for the purposes of educational engagement “convergent learning.” Convergent learning refers not only to the ways students learn, but also to the methods by which the stakeholders in our educational system — from educators to parents and the students themselves — come together to improve outcomes in student learning, classroom teaching, and system-wide instruction.
The New Learning Institute Leadership Summit Series is an attempt to consider the benefits of this approach together with leading educators — directly in the context of the world’s best educational systems. In the process, participants:
Review and consider best practices in convergent learning — including examples from the NLI program in place in the United States and in select locations around the world;
Integrate these methodologies with local best practices, including efforts already underway in each host school system to develop 21st century skills among students and educators, and — in the process — improve local teacher quality; and
Consider the possible extension of convergent learning practices among education leaders and teachers by means of the subsequent adoption of Student Residencies, and Teacher Professional Development Residencies.
Some of the issues addressed by the summits include:
How do young people today interact and communicate with one another?
What are the core tools and services they use?
How can educators harness the attractiveness to young people of social networking, mobile phones, and informal virtual communication to meet basic educational objectives and extend learning?
How can new technologies reinvigorate learning for disaffected youth?
What are the best case studies that showcase digital media—based programs?
What are the best ways to begin the integration of digital media into the curriculum?
Each Leadership Summit on Digital Media takes place in a one-day workshop. The workshop day features interactive morning presentations by leaders in digital media programs and afternoon breakout sessions where attendees rotate through stations dedicated to specific and verified implementations of digital media programs.
Summits for 2009-2010 include events in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Washington DC.