EDspaces 2023 Breaks All-Time Attendance Records

EDspaces 2023 is in the books, the record books that is! Total attendance for the event was 1,801 verified qualified attendees. This exceeded 2022’s attendance by nearly 650 attendees, a 56% increase. And comparing the data to 2019 (pre-pandemic), qualified attendance was up 30%. Another sign of an excellent event: 90% of exhibit space is already reserved for 2024 in Houston.

The educational products marketplace gathered in Charlotte to see the transformative power of well-designed educational spaces. EDspaces provides the optimal platform for collaboration with innovative designers, manufacturers, dealers, architects, and educational leaders and purchasing officials with a common goal of improving the learning environment and increasing student success. These goals are at the very foundation of EDmarket’s mission to represent, connect, and serve professionals who are creating inspiring products, services, and spaces that improve teaching and learning.

As the founding organization and primary content provider at EDspaces 2023, EDmarket in cooperation with EDspaces staff and the amazing volunteers and partner organizations provided best-in-class educational opportunities, knowledge experts, school and college tour sites, and products to make learning come to life.

“In the midst of constructing a new high school for our district, this conference provided an invaluable opportunity to explore cutting-edge design and the opportunity to delve into spaces that have demonstrated the potential to enhance student engagement and, subsequently, academic performance,” Tammy Andreyko, Superintendent of Quaker Valley School District, and member of the EDmarket Innovation Council.

Monday kicked off with the EDchannels Symposium sponsored by the EDmarket Distribution Council. Industry channel partners gathered for exclusive training, inspiration, and networking beginning with keynote speaker Ross Bernstein, and ending with a panel of education leaders discussing how to meet their challenges.

“The EDchannels Symposium (EDS) is an exceptional professional development opportunity for dealers, while also providing networking with dealers across the country,” says Gregory Cooney, President of Educational Environments. “Our team consistently walks away with strategic ideas or inspiration to bring back home, whether it’s from the guest speaker, industry panel or conversations held with the dealers at your table. The dealer community engagement at EDS is top-notch!”

The main education program consisted of 60 certified education sessions in designed classrooms. EDspaces provided optimal opportunities to earn professional credits and stay current on certifications with sessions that qualified for 40 AIA LUs, 18 AIA LU/HSWs, 37 IDCEC LUs, 9 IDCEC LU/HSWs, and 8 GBCI credits. EDspaces attendees also had free access to the Campus Safety Conference sessions with the opportunity to learn more about emergency prevention, response, and recovery.

Education sessions were presented in seven unique peer-reviewed classrooms to enhance your learning experience. Be sure to check out the cutting-edge classrooms designed by Harriman, Cunningham, FGM Architects, The Hon Company, HKS, and a team from JCJ Architecture, Naylor Wentworth Lund & Ratio Design in the EDmarketplace Classroom.

“One of the best things about the designed classrooms is seeing the products from various manufacturers used together,” says Terance White, Naylor Wentworth Lund Architects. “This gives us, as designers, an opportunity to see real world applications instead of relying on pictures in a sales brochure or catalog. Being able to interact with the products directly is so helpful in making determinations about quality and durability that will help me make better recommendations to my clients.”

On Tuesday morning, Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, presented the opening plenary highlighting developments in learning and design which point towards a different model of learning environment, one that is more adaptive, collaborative, and conducive to the creativity necessary for all students to thrive. EDmarket CEO Jim McGarry presented EDmarket’s highest awards for distinguished service to Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber and Kathy Hurley for their lifetime achievement. Show Director Joe Tucker and Learning by Designer Publisher Mark Goodman presented the EDspaces Innovation Awards to: 

  • Best in Show: Chaddy, Kimball International
  • 2nd Place: FBT Series Fold and Roll Booths, BioFit Engineered Products
  • 3rd Place: The Giddy Chair, Pedagogy Furniture

A key component of EDspaces is the tour program coordinated by EDmarket with valuable input from local advisors. Attendees visited cutting-edge K-12 and Higher Ed campuses in and around Charlotte that provided experiential learning as the innovative design concepts learned in education sessions were brought to life. Schools demonstrated flexible learning spaces, collaboration zones, and examples of urban, suburban, and rural learning spaces to provide inspiration.

A plethora of innovation was on display on the exhibit floor, where 155 exhibitors presented their latest and greatest products and services to help bring your visions of student, teacher, and facility success to life. The exhibit hall is a true marketplace for the latest advancements in educational furniture, technology, fixtures, and finishes. On the exhibit floor, the education continued with 24 mini-sessions in three specialty spaces including the Esports Studio sponsored by MiEN Environments (Booth 778), a CTE Robotics Learning Lab sponsored by TMP Architecture, Inc. (Booth 2177), and CTE Classroom sponsored by AIA CAE (Booth 2265).

“I came back feeling recharged after EDspaces — a powerful exploration of how design nurtures an environment for academic and social-emotional growth,” says Alissa Harrington, Instructional Designer and Technologist at Towson University. “Engaging sessions, inspiring tours, and reconnecting with friends and former colleagues truly enriched the experience.”

EDmarket’s Bold Women, Bold Conversations event was a record-breaker too with 90 women gathering to share ideas, network, and meet new friends. “The Bold Women Collective session was perhaps the most inspiring part of EDspaces for me this year,” says Chelsea Adicks, Meteor Education. “Being able to connect with so many brilliant, kind, and passionate female leaders was invaluable. I left with ideas, encouragement, and connections I would not have had otherwise.”

Another highlight was a fun-filled evening at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for EDfest, where more than 1,000 attendees could relax and unwind after two full days of learning and networking as they participated in NASCAR activities, including pit crew challenges and simulated races.

” The immediate applicability of the insights gained from these interactions to our ongoing high school construction project cannot be overstated,” says Andreyko. “This conference showcases a myriad of examples of the most creative projects out there. Exploring the exhibition hall, attending workshops, and participating in interactive sessions exposed me to cutting-edge designs that have proven to increase student engagement and foster a conducive learning environment.”

EDspaces 2024 will be held Nov. 12-14 in Houston, Texas! We hope to see you there!

Adrienne Dayton, EDmarket

Adrienne is Vice President of Content & Learning at the Education Market Association (EDmarket). She is responsible for strategic planning for content creation and management for all EDmarket publications and education programs and is the Conference Director for EDspaces. Want to share your expertise with the community of thought leaders in the education space? Let's start a conversation.