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Five Ascend Panelists Contribute Thought Leadership at Global EdTech Conference

April 21, 2022

2022 ASU-GSV Conference Recap

Speaking on topics ranging from filling critical roles in healthcare and access to education to the state of AI in education and learner pathways to employment, five leaders from Ascend Learning contributed their thought leadership as panelists at the 2022 ASU-GSV Summit, April 4-6 in San Diego. Now in its 13th year, the annual event — a partnership between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley — is the world’s leading education innovation summit from PreK-Gray connecting startups, investors, educators and professionals.

Leaders from Ascend came away from the event with fresh perspectives on how to better align higher education and employers’ assessment of mastery; fostering an exchange of ideas and knowledge through cross-disciplinary collaboration; how humans and technology can work in partnership to improve learner outcomes and address workforce shortages; and how the innovation of AI has empowered learners.

Aligning Educators’ and Employers’ Assessment of Mastery

Ascend Learning CEO Greg Sebasky was one of several EdTech CEOs in a panel exploring trends underlying the realignment of higher education and the workforce. He said many companies are learning that there is a need to improve the connection between employers and educators, focused on an assessment of mastery to be effective in a job.

“Today, schools evaluate graduates based on outcomes that they define, and employers generally have a different view,” Greg said. “We need to come together to develop a framework that serves the students and employers, especially in a job market where there are not enough candidates and with key skills and abilities changing rapidly in the digital economy.”

Exchanging Ideas & Knowledge in Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration

Two team members from the Ascend healthcare segment served together on a panel together discussing ways to create new pathways for students and educators to support the evolving needs of a healthcare industry facing a shortage of both workers and educators.

Beth Phillips, strategic nursing advisor with Ascend Learning brand ATI Nursing, said the conference confirmed for her that cross-disciplinary collaboration and new applications of technology will be key tenets in addressing challenges facing the healthcare industry.

“Many of the issues across healthcare and education are similar, and we can learn a great deal from collaborating across disciplines,” Beth said. “I found the ASU-GSV Summit to be filled with energetic, motivated people, ready to move their agendas forward and appreciated the opportunity to learn about new companies and ways of using technology to improve and enhance education.”

Kathy Hunter, vice president of product strategy at Ascend Learning brand National Healthcareer Association, said she was grateful to exchange excitement and ideas with other panelists for unique ways to build lifelong learning pathways for physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals.

“The talented EdTech community at ASU-GSV provided thought-provoking ideas on the future of education,” said Kathy. “It reinforced my passion and our goals to drive accessible and equitable solutions that enable meaningful healthcare careers and career-growth pathways. I can’t wait to share what I learned with others.”

Humans & Technology Working in Partnership

Patty Knecht, chief nursing officer at ATI Nursing, served on a panel examining ways healthcare providers have reevaluated the ways they attract, develop and retain talent as well as how nursing schools can evolve to serve working adult learners. Patty said she felt a palpable sense of urgency throughout the conference that while the pandemic accelerated challenges and trends in healthcare, a tremendous opportunity exists for humans and technology to work in partnership to create solutions. 

“EdTech and humans can and should exist side by side, empowering each other to excellence, and our collective response needs to embrace the delicate balance both humans and technology play in delivering an educational program with defined and measurable outcomes,” Patty said. “Partnership involves listening, problem solving, agility and trust. Education, technology and workforce entities in true partnership are the force to reach our goals.”

Innovation and Empowerment

Ascend Learning CTO Ash Siebecker participated on a panel of technology leaders to discuss the state of AI in EdTech — technology that has allowed for a total reimagining of how education is delivered to students throughout the world. He said he was impressed to see how different applications of technology are being leveraged to enhance and improve learning delivery.

“ASU-GSV was a great opportunity to learn and observe how the pace of innovation in education has increased to help address the challenge of making learning accessible to everyone,” Ash said. “It was good to be able to hear the perspective of other CTOs and founders in our industry on how AI is improving learning — and it was empowering to be part of that discussion and recognize that we all share a very practical view on how AI can improve learning success.”

Ascend has sponsored the ASU-GSV Summit for four years, and our team members have been attending the event since 2015, gaining knowledge, expanding our network and bringing back fresh perspectives to Ascend. We are proud to sponsor events where we can make a collective impact in the EdTech world and further our mission to change lives through education. A special thanks to all our panelists and attendees who showcased our thought leadership on behalf of Ascend at this key industry event!

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Video Highlights

Video highlights from the 2022 ASU-GSV Summit are available on the GSV YouTube Channel. Direct links to the panels featuring Ascend Learning thought leaders are below.