1335 Avenue of the Americas
New York City, New York 10019

Schools of the Future: Embracing the Educational ReNAISsance

For the 2008 NAIS Annual Conference in New York City, we at NAIS have turned to the past for inspiration about our future. This year’s conference theme, “Schools of the Future: Embracing the Educational ReNAISsance,” suggests that a new age in teaching and learning is dawning.

A convergence of factors has produced this educational renaissance: technology and its increasing role in our lives, connectivity worldwide among diverse cultures, rapidly accelerating knowledge about brain function, research about skills needed for success in the Global Age, and our own sense that schools must consider new pedagogies in order to inspire students of the 21st century toward greatness. The 2008 NAIS Annual Conference challenges participants to look back and to move forward — reminding us to retain important traditions while adapting school teaching and learning models to include new realities to best prepare students for the future.

How appropriate that the ultimate Renaissance figure Leonardo da Vinci speaks to independent school leaders from his 16th century grave with wisdom still applicable in 2008: “ I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

We heed da Vinci’s advice by offering a conference that will jump-start conversation and move attendees to action with four days of inspiring presentations, hands-on learning, and valuable networking. From the stage at Radio City Music Hall, Daniel Pink, author of the provocative book A Whole New Mind, will argue that leaders of the 21st century need “right-brained” thinking to understand big picture issues and to craft creative solutions. World-renowned scholar Sir Ken Robinson will remind you (in his inimitably dead-pan way) of the need for interdisciplinary thinking and for creativity. Poet/author Pearl Cleage will show us what creativity is about, as she speaks about ways to ensure the growth, education, and safety of today’s youth. Our closing speaker, journalist Mariane Pearl, knows better than most how important cross-cultural understanding is for citizens of the 21st century; she will urge all of us to embrace — and introduce to students — the “challenge of peace.”

In addition to learning from many engaging keynote speakers, you can choose from more than 140 one-hour workshops — all supporting areas of school sustainability. Visit our new demonstration area, Classrooms of the Future, to be engaged in new and exciting ways.

As you plan your attendance at the conference, please pay special attention to the opportunities for school teams. If “teaming” is a theme for 21st century schools, model it by bringing your team to NAIS, since team learning trumps individual learning every time, and change requires a chorus, not a soloist, to gain attention from the audience back home.

Note that we have redesigned Saturday morning to include a new kind of learning opportunity. This new program — free to all who are interested — is experiential and interdisciplinary. Rambunctious and irreverent technology guru Ian Jukes will speak to participants about Understanding Digital Kids and then send attendees into conversation groups to explore what schools of the future might become. Sign up early as seating is limited!

Please join NAIS and well over 5,000 of your independent school colleagues at a conference filled with excitement, intellectual stimulation, and new thinking, hosted by the city that never sleeps — New York, the international epicenter for creativity, global dialogue, and “rebirth.” See you in the Big Apple!

Patrick F. Bassett President
Heather Hoerle Vice President of Member Relations
Amy Ahart Director of the NAIS Annual Conference
Satira Bushell Associate Director of the NAIS Annual Conference

Official Website: http://www.nais.org/ac/ac.cfm?ItemNumber=149398&sn.ItemNumber=149439

Added by arvindgrover on December 14, 2007