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SXSWedu Session: Three global networks, one K-12 ambition

Nord Anglia's Director of Curriculum and Student Performance Mark Orrow-Whiting discusses how collaborations with MIT and The Juilliard School inspire and elevate the learning experience for teachers and students.

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Earlier this year, I had the honour of speaking at the South by Southwest (SXSWedu) conference in Austin, Texas, to present with The Juilliard School and MIT on our global collaborations. SXSWedu develops innovation in learning by hosting a passionate and diverse community of education stakeholders so this was a perfect opportunity to talk about our collaborations with higher education institutions and the impact they have on students, teachers and schools.

Managing Directors at Juilliard, Mark Murtagh and Betsie Becker, and I held an informal question and answer discussion on rolling out programmes that inspire holistic, life-long learning in our students and schools worldwide.

Several of our audience members wanted to learn more about the expansion of these programmes into the larger community. This led to a point that I wanted to emphasize which is that we not only encourage our students to become proactive in the subjects of the performing arts or STEAM, but also proactive in bringing these ideas into their local and global communities.

If you’re interested in hearing the discussion, you can listen to the full audio recording here (warning it is an hour long!). However, I would like to pull out three questions that I found particularly interesting (and challenging) to share with you:

Q: Why did Nord Anglia think [collaborations with MIT and Juilliard] were a good idea?

Everyone talks about developing skills for being successful in the 21st century by developing interdisciplinary learning and engaging students and teachers to develop their expertise. But, we wanted to just more than talk about it. We wanted to be involved in the debate and, if possible, start to lead the way in creating what this could look like for schools.

Q: How, specifically, do these partnerships sync up with Nord Anglia’s goals and mission?

This links fully with our mission to be ambitious--being ambitious for our students, our teachers and our schools. And what better way to do this than working with the world’s leading university in the performing arts and the world’s leading university in STEAM subjects to provide outstanding professional development for teachers and fantastic, engaging opportunities for students.

Q: What is Nord Anglia trying to achieve through these collaborations?

Aside from a love of learning, passion for the performing arts, development of skills for the future, the simple answer to this question was creativity and curiosity. Both collaborations are trying to develop both, in our students and our teachers, but there is definitely more of a focus on creativity with Juilliard and curiosity with MIT.

The message from the audience was clear. The work we are doing here is pretty unique. So, take a risk, think forward, and learn more about these collaborations and how they can make a real difference to learners and teachers alike.