The Advanced Leadership Initiative (ALI) wants to know what you think about education, technology, and innovation. As part of its upcoming Education Think Tank, people from outside of Harvard University are invited to join in the conversation about how to make education more relevant.
"If we are serious about reinventing education, it is going to take many people," says Professor Fernando Reimers, ALI cochair.
ALI is an interfaculty collaboration at Harvard that aims to prepare experienced leaders to take on new challenges in the social sector where they potentially can make an even greater societal impact.
This year, the mission of ALI's Education Think Tank, dubbed "Leveraging Technology to Enhance the Relevancy and Quality of Education," is to dig deep into issues surrounding education innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. "It seems to me the needs in a social context involving jobs, the economy, and politics are changing much faster than schools are," Reimers says. "We need to think hard about what we are going to do to adapt to those changes."
The program, which runs March 31-April 2, focuses on using technology to support change and increase the quality and relevance of education systems. Participation and discussion will center on the role of social entrepreneurs in partnering with educational institutions to use technology to significantly enhance the quality of education.
Though the annual conference attracts about 200 educators and entrepreneurs each year, Reimers took to heart the mission about getting as many people involved as possible. In order to do so, ALI turned to social media to open the dialogue beyond the walls at Harvard. A series of 13 blog entries, called Think Pieces, written by various faculty and participants precede the Think Tank as a means to generate ideas and discussion.
To date, Reimers noted that the blogs and discussions have attracted 50,000 readers and been retweeted nearly 300 times. Once the conference is in full swing, the discussion will continue and can be followed through live streaming videos, daily recaps, and photographs posted to Facebook and the ALI website.
Reimers encourages alums, educators, and the public to get involved in the conversation. "We are really opening up the doors of the Ed School to everyone," he says.