by Kevin J. Gray, President and Chief Content Officer
Dave Bailis, our Senior Director of Operations, and I recently attended the rescheduled ASU-GSV Summit in San Diego. We were anxious but excited about our first conference in more than 18 months. Originally a spring 2020 conference, ASU-GSV went virtual last fall, with hopes of hosting an in-person event this year. After the mega-spike in Covid-19 in the early part of the year, a Spring 2021 conference was out of the question. But, after a couple of bouts of rescheduling, we were finally on our way to San Diego in early August 2021.
Despite the concerns about the Delta variant, it was relatively easy to find ways to stay safe at the conference. The mandatory masking policy and the requirement to show a negative Covid test (with testing onsite) helped. We were also able to find meeting places on the various patios rather than in the main hall or the downstairs bar.
ASU-GSV’s programming is a big draw, and we were impressed by how the conference was able to host these events safely. We particularly liked the session on Learning Loss – Accelerating Recovery that Maurice Bakley of EdWeek Market Brief hosted. His all-star panel included Sari Factor, Vice Chair and Chief Strategy Officer at Weld North Education; Emma Dorn, Senior Knowledge Expert at McKinsey & Company; and Alexandra Clarke, SVP Product & GM ELA Curriculum at Amplify. The panel explored different ways to shift the paradigm on the Covid learning situation, as well as various approaches to remediate skills gaps.
Going into the conference, there was a concern about attendance. Would there be enough people there to make attending worthwhile? The conference generally draws up to 10,000 attendees. This year, California was capping events at 5,000 people, and with the rise of the Delta variant in the weeks leading up to the conference, there was definitely a noticeable pullback in attendance.
Luckily, though attendance was visibly down, we had two very full days of meetings. We were able to catch up with old friends and existing customers, explore ways to work with other B2B companies, and meet companies in need of product development support. The conversations explored ways to make materials relevant to all students, how to better prepare students for college and careers, and how to help students recover from the pandemic. While we missed a lot of the international companies that generally attend, the US presence was strong, making it a rewarding experience.
It’s our hope that ASU-GSV will return to their spring schedule in 2022. When it does, we look forward to seeing you there.
If you didn’t attend the ASU-GSV Summit or you missed seeing some of the sessions, videos from the Summit are now available on the ASU-GSV YouTube channel.