NExT

A Collaborative Community for the Experiential Learning Movement

When you see the power of experiential education, you realize it can change lives. When you join Northeastern University’s Network for Experiential Teaching and Learning—NExT—you join a global knowledge network of educators, administrators, and industry and community stakeholders dedicated to making experiential education accessible to learners at every level.

Based in Northeastern’s Graduate School of Education, NExT serves as a free, collaborative platform where our members develop high-impact experiential teaching and learning practices; share ideas, lesson plans and other resources; generate and distribute research based in school and classroom practices; and advance their own professional development through timely, relevant and accessible programming. We’re here to help you connect, collaborate and thrive.

WSL Screening – NExT Preview Trailer from Overflow on Vimeo.


Our Mission

To elevate experiential learning and make it accessible to every learner, NExT brings teachers, administrators, and higher education and industry partners together to generate new professional connections, to source inspiration, to engage in dialogue, and to co-create applicable and actionable solutions. Our action-oriented network of experiential learning educators and leaders collectively seeks to leverage experiential learning to transform schools, districts, communities and educational systems.


How it works

NExT supports practitioners and partners in experiential education through professional development, conferences, workshops, degree programs and access to cutting-edge research and research opportunities—as well as our online NExT Commons, where exploration evolves as the conversations continue. Our network is galvanized by in-person and virtual pop-up events nationwide, as well as a yearly convening facilitated by NExT members and faculty in the Graduate School of Education. As a participant, you’ll share your vision and practices, meet like-minded educators, and develop action plans that inform your daily work for the academic year and beyond. You’ll also interact with students from Northeastern’s Graduate School of Education; as part of their programs’ residency, doctoral candidates and graduate students connect and collaborate with NExT participants at select events, broadening and deepening the network and its mission.

Working with NExT, the Graduate School of Education offers development opportunities to meet your professional and personal goals. These include non-credit workshops, badges, and Professional Development Point (PDP)-bearing certificates, as well as full masters and doctoral degrees in education. We leverage the full suite of Northeastern’s educational resources to support your rigorous practice and scholarship in experiential learning.

We also love research. Through program assessment, research partnerships, and access to leaders in experiential education, NExT supports your discovery of how experiential learning impacts individuals, schools, diverse industries and our wider communities. As a leading global research institution, Northeastern provides tools and structures of support for NExT’s powerful model of distributed, practice-based inquiry. Among other benefits, this helps you connect with other educators as members of a global learning community. Our work helps amplify your professional knowledge and practice, showcasing your insight and innovation through a platform for sharing with the wider public—and with policy-makers—the ways experiential learning can enhance student engagement and deepen learning in their local contexts.


The Power of Partnerships

Our network has evolved from a Northeastern initiative to a truly collective network of passionate, diverse stakeholders. NExT’s partners include educators and administrators from the Barrington, Rhode Island Public Schools, the BV CAPS Network, Iowa BIG, Matignon High School, Slate Valley, Vermont School District and many more. Thanks to collaborations like these, NExT members can now develop leadership and applied learning across multiple levels and settings: in the classroom, in schools and districts, and in collaboration with higher education. By opening up traditional learning-site boundaries, NExT members, alongside Northeastern’s Graduate School of Education, enable transformative learning for more and more students. In turn, the collective work of NExT directly supports the evolution of the Graduate School of Education at Northeastern as it becomes fully experiential, changing teacher preparation, educator development and doctoral studies.


Events and Programming

NExT Commons

NExT Commons is a virtual meeting place where you can connect with other educators to compare notes, innovate, share curriculum, design interscholastic group projects and participate in a professional learning community without equal. It’s a place where you can learn from peers and bring them your own innovative learning plans. And it’s a place where you may find opportunities to partner with Northeastern to pursue research grants and other funding. As you collaborate with peers, share resources, connect with potential partners, and absorb the latest research, you’ll be developing your knowledge, skills, and tools for advocacy around experiential learning. Critically, NExT Commons also gives you access to Northeastern and its faculty, as well as professional development materials and curricula—with credits that may be applied toward an advanced degree within the university’s Graduate School of Education. To learn more about joining NExT Commons, please email [email protected].


The NExT Summer Convening

Each summer, we bring together educators from around the country and beyond to learn with and from one another in the pursuit of experiential learning for student agency, opportunity, and equity. This includes classroom teachers, private and public school and school system leaders, teachers and administrators in higher education, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and community stakeholders. Participants showcase their efforts to inspire and empower one another in pursuit of experiential learning in their local contexts. The convening includes INSPIRE, LEARN, CREATE, and CONNECT sessions, structured so educators can leave with an action plan for catalyzing inspirational practices in experiential learning in their communities.


NExT Regional Pop-Ups

Throughout the year, we host one-day “pop-up” events nationwide and in Canada. These pop-ups enable local educators to focus on local priorities, bringing the energy and experience of the NExT community to bear on their specific practices of experiential teaching and learning. These pop-ups are also designed to inspire and to enable participants to learn, create, and connect during a day of action planning. Cities that have hosted or will soon host NExT pop-ups include Charlotte, NC, Seattle, WA, and Lebanon, VT, as well as Toronto, Canada. For specific dates, visit Upcoming and Recent Events.


NExT Virtual Webinar Series

To support the experiential education movement and our growing network, we host virtual sessions throughout the year. At these webinars, we encourage you to participate, ask questions, and make connections with other attendees. We hope to see you live! For anyone who signs up but can’t join us that day, the webinars will also be recorded and posted in our NExT Commons. We’ll add the webinar schedule for January to June 2021 soon.


Helping You Connect, Collaborate, and Thrive: Meet the NExT Leadership

Lydia Young – Director of the NExT K-12 Network of Experiential Learning Educators

Dr. Lydia Young serves as the Director of NExT, Northeastern University’s Graduate School of Education network for experiential and equity-focused educators, and as an Associate Teaching Professor in Education. Dr. Young envisions NExT as an opportunity for networked educators to combine academics with experiential learning opportunities, regardless of context & systemic barriers; thereby, allowing equity gaps to be directly addressed by school & teacher leaders.

Joe Griffin – Interim Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education

As the Interim Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Education, I also hold a faculty appointment as an Associate Teaching Professor. I have previously served in a variety of roles within the University, both within the Chancellor’s Office and other college based roles. I served as the Vice Chancellor of Educational Innovation, the Associate Vice President of Business Development, and Acting Vice Chancellor of Regional Campuses within the Office of the Chancellor, and also served both as Associate Dean of Partnership & Engagement and as Faculty Director for graduate programs in Analytics, Informatics, and Project Management. Prior to joining Northeastern, I worked in a variety of roles within the construction, land development, and real estate industry.

Mary Loeffelholz – Dean, Northeastern University College of Professional Studies

The mission of Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies is to provide lifelong experiential learning that unleashes the capacities of aspiring individuals in all stages and walks of life. We meet learners where they are with programs that break down boundaries between work and learning, connect students with employers, and foster inclusive prosperity in every community we touch.

As dean, I have encouraged the creation of knowledge networks such as NExT as a transformational model in kindergarten-12th grade (K-12) education. NExT and the other knowledge networks we are building are global communities of learners and practitioners, wherever they are located—whether in industry, in government and the public sphere, in K-12 and higher education, in social entrepreneurship—that continuously circulate knowledge and know-how from the worlds of research and practice, and that use the extended network as a basis for innovation and discovery of new knowledge.

Kelly Conn – Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

I hope to bring my knowledge of STEM, research methods, and proposal development to help facilitate the design, implementation, and documentation of the many different ways in which K-12 educators from across many different contexts are inspiring and empowering their students to engage in quality experiential learning opportunities that both foster deeper learning and engagement.

Kim Nolan – Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

My work as a K-12 science educator and administrator working in alternative schools gives me the background to work with K-12 educators to create powerful learning experiences. My focus is on helping educators create a space where students are empowered to direct their own learning.

Lindsay Portnoy – Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

Drawing from a deep knowledge and passion for cognitive science, I look forward to working with educational stakeholders across the NExT network to transform the nature of today’s classrooms and enhance the learning experiences of our youngest citizens. As a former public school teacher, successful female founder and entrepreneur, author, and researcher, I bring the lens of cognitive science and authentic assessment to our shared work at NExT. Together we will create a more equitable system of education by building solutions that can scale to meet the needs of today’s most pressing issues. From designing and developing transformational educational initiatives to measuring the efficacy of those innovations to ensure maximum impact, we will work to ensure all of our children have access to high quality and purposeful learning from K to gray.

Corliss Thompson – Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Education

As a former elementary teacher and current teacher of graduate students, I believe that tapping into the lives of students and the world around them creates a powerful learning experience. And through my NExT initiative, I will focus on research and program evaluation—helping educators engage in experiential learning at the highest level.

Chris Unger – Graduate School of Education Faculty Member

My primary interest is in supporting educators to think about how they can redesign their learning environments to make their students’ learning far more meaningful, relevant, personally engaging, and of value. My areas of expertise include innovation and entrepreneurial activity in schools and school systems, innovative school designs, and student-centered, self-directed learning. In the NExT initiative I hope to contribute to educators’ exploration and pursuit of experiential learning as a means for significantly increasing student engagement and deepening their learning.