Conference Observations and Highlights
by Kevin J. Gray, Director, Westchester K-12 Publishing Services
I’ve recently returned from the EdNET 2017 Conference, held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The weather outside was hot, but the atmosphere on the conference floor was welcoming. We connected with others in the educational publishing sector, engaging in mutually productive conversations that often uncovered unique and interesting opportunities to provide content development and production services to new partners.
For those who haven’t been before, EdNET is a great space for professional development not only because it fosters an environment for networking, but also provides a forum for influential speakers from throughout the education sector. I had the opportunity to sit in on a few of these sessions, and here are some key observations I’d like to share with you:
- ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act which replaced No Child Left Behind in December of 2015, is continuing to radically change the education landscape by giving back to states power to make educational decisions. As the states roll out their plans, expect to see a renewed emphasis on developing materials for science, social studies, and others outside the reading and math core.
- Student success depends on clean and clear student user experiences, both in print and technology. When defining new products, start with the end user and ask yourself, who are they and how do they need to interact with this product in order to be successful?
- Adaptive learning continues to push boundaries and provide students with customized learning experiences, but with it comes the challenges of data collection (how much is too much?) and content development (developing multiple channels of content disrupts traditional linear editorial processes).
Just prior to EdNET 2017, we announced our collaboration with FableVision Studios (read about it here). It was gratifying to have our peers at the conference visualize the exciting possibilities that will result from two long-established companies, set in different parts of the publishing universe, working together to deliver the complete spectrum of content needs to the K-12 market.
We have already cultivated a number of new relationships with publishers across the market continuum as a result of being at the conference. While it was Westchester K-12 Publishing Services’ first time at EdNET as both sponsor and participant, I’m confident we will return again next year.
What did you find to be the most interesting takeaways from the EdNET Conference? Drop me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or share your observations in the comments section below.