Melissa Greenwood, SmartBrief’s senior education editor, recently wrote about five educational trends she saw at last week’s SXSWedu Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas.
Two trends, though, stuck out to me as immediately relevant to our industry: “let learning be iffy,” and “bring students in as curriculum designers.”
“Learning should be iffy in the sense that students don’t always know the outcome when starting out, [Dale Dougherty, president and CEO of Maker Media] explained, adding that makers need three things: projects, process and practice, and space to create,” Greenwood wrote.
Space to create is right in line with what MPI’s Future of Meetings research shows. Convention center managers and architects should keep in mind space in which to play, as it’s tantamount to engagement and innovation.
“Architect [Robert] Hopkins sees new concepts emerging in educational buildings based on new social and scientific knowledge,” Jackie Mulligan wrote in “From the Outside In: Meeting Distribution.” “He says that in large schools, he’s working on creating communities of approximately 120 pupils who have their own spaces to look after. Then, there are collaboration spaces for small groups, large working spaces and open plan designs.”
If they’re not already, convention center managers should be seeking to provide spaces (indoor and outdoor) for multi-sized groups in order to accommodate the varied teaching and learning styles of presenters and attendees.
And now that we’re talking about presenters, amend “bring students in as curriculum designers” to “bring attendees in as curriculum designers.” This already happens during un-conferences, at which participants lead or facilitate discussions. What I’m talking about, however, is offering space to attendees to create their own content outside of what your event may be focused on. Perhaps an attendee can see a link in content that you don’t see. Encourage that type of spontaneous or off-the-cuff creation and engagement.
Once again, adaptable space is needed for such activities.
“…impromptu meetings will need to be catered for, according to Chris Sanderson, a co-founder of The Future Laboratory,” Mulligan wrote. “Spaces will be designed to enable facilitation of rapid meetings, or at least ad-hoc meetings.”
By keeping track of educational trends, we can know better the trends in our industry. Because, when it comes down to it, the best meeting professionals are educators at heart.
What kind of trends from other industries do you see affecting meetings and events?