The 2016 NMC Summer Conference Recap
Senior Director, Memberships & Special Projects
New Media Consortium
The 2016 NMC Summer Conference in Rochester, New York
Going back to our roots and looking into the future were at the heart of the 2016 New Media Consortium (NMC) Summer Conference, our largest face-to-face convening of instructional designers, faculty, librarians, teachers, museum professionals, and more. Engaging with our widespread membership through on-campus tours and activities was a key aspect of the conference up until a few years ago when we loosened our ties with member facilities—this year we headed back to campus! Taking place in Rochester, New York, the 2016 NMC Summer Conference offered our community the opportunity to not only network and explore new ideas, but to tour the impressive MAGIC Center at Rochester Institute for Technology (RIT), one of our longtime member institutions. The conference also gave us an opportunity to begin to chart where we want to go as we approach our third decade through a Town Hall meeting focused on the future of the NMC.
The NMC Summer Conference has always been an opportunity for folks to end a long productive school year with a glimpse into what the future holds for teaching and learning in both formal and informal education settings. It seems that every year there is a buzz around some new use of a technology that has the promise to impact pedagogy in new and unexpected ways—this year was no different. The conference featured two wildly popular sessions on virtual reality. The preconference NMC Workshop, Virtual Reality and the Future of Learning, hosted by Maya Georgieva from New York University and Emory Craig from College of New Rochelle, kicked off the week’s discussions. They examined different approaches to virtual reality, from inexpensive VR (Google Cardboard), mid-range devices such as the Samsung Gear VR, and the higher end Oculus Rift.
Scott Pennington and Andrew Bell from the University of Richmond’s featured breakout session, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: Separating Technology Hype from Educational Usefulness, drew the largest crowd on day two; becoming standing room only before the session even began! They answered three big questions about VR and AR: What is it? What can it be? How can educational efficacy be assessed? Later that evening the NMC held a welcome reception at RIT’s MAGIC Center where dozens of attendees waited their turn to strap on some goggles, headphones, and haptic controllers to experience the immersive nature of VR first hand.
The future of the NMC was also a hot topic for discussion at the 2016 Summer Conference. On Wednesday, the Town Hall Meeting: Imagining the Future of the NMC led by the NMC Board of Directors, was an open forum to discuss key questions as we sit at the crossroads between one leader and the next. It was a chance for members to envision and describe the type of NMC they hope to see moving forward.
The NMC staff and members are being asked to answer the following:
How can we take what is best about our flagstone “product,” the NMC Horizon Report, already accessed by nearly four million people a year in 200 countries, and rethink the process by which we create it, disseminate its content, and use it to transform the way people teach and learn around the world?;
This work continues and we hope our newest members at Open SUNY can help shape the NMC of tomorrow. Please go to http://www.nmc.org/nmcnext/ and add your thoughts as we prepare for the next chapter of the NMC.
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