New Directions Symposium

May 4-5, 2023
Orlando, FL

New Directions
A4LE in partnership with EDI


This symposium taps the expertise of world-renowned experts to address some of the most pressing challenges posed by a rapidly changing world. It focuses on several new directions that require rethinking of the traditional education system, policies, and curriculum. According to the world economic forum, here are the skills that education needs to prepare students for:
  1. Global citizenship skills: Include content that focuses on building awareness about the wider world, sustainability and playing an active role in the global community.
  2. Innovation and creativity skills: Include content that fosters skills required for innovation, including complex problem-solving, analytical thinking, creativity, and systems analysis.
  3. Technology skills: Include content that is based on developing digital skills, including programming, digital responsibility, and the use of technology.
  4. Interpersonal skills: Include content that focuses on interpersonal emotional intelligence, including empathy, cooperation, negotiation, leadership, and social awareness.
  5. Personalized and self-paced learning: Move from a system where learning is standardized, to one based on the diverse individual needs of each learner, and flexible enough to enable each learner to progress at their own pace.
  6. Accessible and inclusive learning: Move from a system where learning is confined to those with access to school buildings to one in which everyone has access to learning and is therefore inclusive.
  7. Problem-based and collaborative learning: Move from process-based to project- and problem-based content delivery, requiring peer collaboration and more closely mirroring the future of work.
  8. Lifelong and student-driven learning: Move from a system where learning and skilling decrease over one’s lifespan to one where everyone continuously improves on existing skills and acquires new ones based on their individual needs.

It is essential to align the goals of the education system with the above skills and competencies that students will need to succeed in a world that looks very different than the one they inherit from us. However, this is far from the case today which calls for the whole educational establishment including school architects and facility planners to work together to create a new model that will benefit all children. This symposium represents an important first step toward the creation of that model.


Subject to change | *times shown in Eastern time

DAY 1 – THURSDAY | MAY 4, 2023
8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration, Breakfast & Networking
9:00 – 9:10 AM Opening Remarks
John Ramsey, CEO, A4LE
9:10 – 10:00 AM New Directions in Education and Facilities Planning
This solutions-focused interactive talk will highlight new directions in education that have the potential to improve the current system of schooling by providing more personalized and relevant instruction, increasing student engagement, and better preparing students for the workforce. For school administrators, architects and facilities planners, these new directions pose difficult challenges especially as they grapple with ways to revitalize aging capital infrastructure built well before these new directions had started to take hold. This session will provide some specific strategies to address those challenges.

Prakash Nair, AIA
President & CEO
Education Design International
10:10 – 11:10 AM Bold Moves for Schools
This presentation answers the question, “What will it take to create truly contemporary learning environments that meet today’s increasingly complex needs?” It provides a compelling vision for schools with specific action steps to make it real. Every aspect of K-12 education will be examined including curriculum, instruction, assessment, learning spaces and schedules. With thought-provoking yet practical strategies, Bold Moves sets educators on the path to redefining their profession in order to create exciting new learning environments for children.

Dr. Marie Hubley Alcock
President, Learning Systems Associates
Founder, Tomorrow’s Education Network
11:10 – 11:30 AM Coffee and Networking Break
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Neuroarchitecture & Biophilic Design – Essential Keys to Healthy School Design
Neuroarchitecture is an emerging field that combines the principles of neuroscience and architecture to create spaces that support cognitive function and well-being. In the design of schools, neuroarchitecture can be used to create learning environments that are optimized for students' cognitive development and emotional well-being.

Biophilic design is based on the idea that people have an innate connection to nature and that incorporating elements of nature into the built environment can have positive effects on human well-being and cognitive function. Studies have shown that exposure to natural elements in the built environment can improve students' concentration, memory, and overall academic performance. Additionally, access to nature can have positive effects on mental health and emotional well-being, which can be especially important for children and adolescents.

Dr. Parul Minhas
Sr. Planning & Technology Consultant
Education Design International
12:30 – 1:30 PM Lunch and Networking Break
1:30 – 2:30 PM Nature-Based Curriculum and Outdoor Learning
“If You Build it, They Will Come…” is a myth. Educational planners and designers work diligently with stakeholders and create amazing outdoor learning environments, only to have them be unused or at best underutilized. This session will present data from a pilot project “The 60 Minutes in Nature Challenge” completed in 2022 at Live Oak Elementary School in Santa Cruz, CA. Using improvement science, the pilot was successful in supporting teachers to remove barriers and create the habits of mind and behavior to activate nature based outdoor learning (NBOL) for their students. Research collected by Cornell places 60 minutes of nature-based outdoor learning per child, per week at the heart of academic success, socio-emotional wellbeing, and environmental stewardship behaviors. During this session you will complete a root cause analysis and create a fishbone diagram that illuminates the barriers to NBOL at your school or district. Get ready to dig deep and get (a little) dirty!

Anna Klare Harrison
Director of Educational Innovation
Education Design International
2:30 – 3:30 PM Creating an Integrated Educational Ecosystem
An integrated education ecosystem refers to a system in which all aspects of education, including curriculum, instruction, assessment, and support services, are coordinated, and aligned to support student learning and success. Change of any kind and especially significant change dictated by the new directions in education needs a systemic and proven approach. This interactive session will provide a framework that attendees will use to create a sample Integrated Ecosystem. This will help them see the key connections between components that are essential to preserve for the system to continue operating successfully in the midst of major changes.

Louis Sirota, AIA
Director of Design
Education Design International
3:30 – 3:40 PM Coffee and Networking Break
3:40 – 4:30 PM Environmental Influences on Behavior and Learning
This interactive and informative workshop will explore several factors that influence student behavior and learning. The session will review some very interesting research regarding how color, desk placement, space, and other environmental conditions can impact student behavior and achievement. It will also unpack some of the most relevant research on pedagogy as it relates to learning outcomes.

Dr. Jeff Melendez
Founder & CEO, Zeal Education Group
Past Superintendent, Fairfield County Schools, CT
5:30 – 8:30 PM Florida Chapter Networking & Happy Hour
Join us for an evening of fun, networking, and membership drive at Top Golf Orlando hosted by the Florida Chapter of A4LE. This happy hour event is open to all interested members and New Directions Symposium attendees who are looking to connect with education professionals in Florida. You'll have an opportunity to meet fellow A4LE members from across the state, share insights and ideas, and learn more about the benefits of joining our community. Plus, you can test your golf skills while enjoying dinner & drinks. Don't forget to bring your business cards and a friend. We look forward to seeing you there!

Click here to register for this event.
8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast & Networking
9:00 – 10:30 AM Technology Tools for Facilities & Educational Effectiveness
Expect to use your mobile device. Laptop optional but not essential.

This is a hands-on session that will introduce attendees to three new APPS developed exclusively to support modern educational practices in well-designed school facilities. These APPS will enable individual schools and school districts to objectively assess the educational efficacy of their new and/or renovated facilities and provide specific solutions to maximize the teaching and learning benefits of capital investments. During the session, attendees will learn how to access and use EDI’s SPACE, PATH and eduSPACE APPS. All attendees will also get a free one-year license to use the APPS in their own practice.

Prakash Nair, AIA
Dr. Parul Minhas
Louis Sirota, AIA
10:30 – 10:45 AM Coffee Break & Networking
10:45 – 12:30 PM Constructing Modern Knowledge
Bring your laptop.

This hands-on workshop built on progressive education traditions, including the Reggio Emilia Approach and constructionism, models benefits of learning-by-doing in a learner-centric context and with computationally rich materials. Participants will create and collaborate in a whimsical and playful fashion while exploring the intersection of craft, STEM, and the arts.

Dr. Gary Stager
International Educator, Speaker and Consultant
Author, Invent to Learn
12:30 – 1:30 PM Closing Lunch & Networking (Optional)


Commercial Member: $450
Commercial Non-Member: $550
School District Member: $175
School District Non-Member: $275
Student: $75


Limited capacity for this symposium

Payment/Cancellation Policy
All registration payments will be required by the start of the event. Cancellation requests must be made in writing to [email protected]. There is a $65 processing fee for all cancellations, no refunds will be issued for registrations cancelled after April 25, 2023.


Artcobell Shaw Contract


Tarkett V/S America

Hotel Accommodations

Castle Hotel

Castle Hotel

8602 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Room Rate: $215.00 plus taxes
Cut-off Date: April 1, 2023

Book Your Room!

Check in: 4:00 PM
Check out: 11:00 AM

Become a Sponsor

New Directions Sponsor – $5,500

2 Available
  • Logo on all pre and post symposia email campaigns
  • Three (3) complimentary full-symposia registrations
  • Verbal thank you from podium
  • Branding attendee give-away opportunities
  • Take-one table literature opportunity
  • Full post-conference attendee list

Innovation Sponsor – $3,000

3 Available
  • Logo on all pre and post symposium email campaigns
  • Two (2) complimentary full-conference registrations
  • Take-one table literature opportunity
  • Full post-conference attendee list

Collaboration Sponsor – $2,000

5 Available
  • Logo on all pre and post symposium email campaigns
  • One (1) complimentary full-conference registrations
  • Full post-conference attendee list

Change Sponsor – $1,000

5 Available
  • Logo on all pre and post symposium email campaigns
  • Take-one table literature opportunity
  • Full post-conference attendee list
Become a Member


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