Steinhardt hosts first NYC National Education Week

National Education Week 2015 is coming to the Big Apple, as NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development will be hosting the conference’s first year in New York City.

A press release from the university says the week’s goal is to “foster new partnerships” and “exchange best practices in education.” The school is co-hosting this year’s National Education Week with EDGE Edtech, which runs from December 15-17. In years past it has been held in Washington D.C.

Steinhardt agreed to the proposal just days ago, with Steinhardt’s Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Ted Magder signing onto the project.  He is already helping EDGE to program the event and is and preparing for the biggest day of National Education Week — December 16th — when a series of TED-style talks will be held.

“I know pretty well the faculty who are significant researchers in their areas and hope to attract some of them to the event,” Magder said. “I’m also working with EDGE to contact people across the country. We want global and international participants and hope to bring in people from other countries.”

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This year’s lineup ranges from McGraw Hill’s CEO to the U.S. Department of Education’s Head of Office of Education, and they recently confirmed educational pioneer Chris Riddell’s attendance. Jonathan D. Harber, EDGE’s cofounder and managing partner said they plan to schedule at least 20 more speakers before the actual event.

“Many of them are mentors for companies,” Harber said. “We’re focusing on New York innovation and education, then moving to national education innovation and then to global.  So we’re basically looking at thought leaders for New York, the U.S., and around the globe.”

In addition to this presentation series, Edtech startups will be pitching their ideas in the Skirball Center with a Shark Tank style presentation.  Each startup will have completed an incubator project during the fall and may unveil the fruits of their labor during a four-minute pitch slot.

Both the pitches and talks will take place on Dec. 16, but a more detailed schedule of events is available online.  Although it is still in the planning stages, the discussion topics will include K-12 education, education technology and education innovators.

While this is mainly targeted towards company executives and experienced professionals, Magder said there should be reserved spaces for interested NYU students.  However, since it comes with a price tag, interested students such as Steinhardt freshman Katie Fei might not be able to attend.

“I don’t think they should be making people pay to attend the conference, especially if it’s National Education Week,” Fei said. “If anything, it’s the time to promote educational values and free exchange of ideas and so forth, so the event should really be more open to everyone.”

Harber believes the week largely tailored towards professionals throughout the education field.  He said that although K-12 will be largely discussed, actual K-12 students will not be partaking in this conference, since they are not the ones implementing their education.  However, this conference is projected to become an annual affair, so Harber hopes to see increased excitement and attendance.

“This year, we’re giving it a New York edge and we’re growing it,” Harber said. “You think of what fashion week is in New York, so the goal is that eventually, the National Education Week will be like fashion week.”

Email Diamand Naga Siu at [email protected]

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