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Dispatches From the Field: Big Ideas Fest

Carie Page

Dec 7, 2012

This week, NGLC staff headed west to attend Big Ideas Fest, an annual gathering of teachers, policymakers, funders, and researchers dedicated to surfacing “big ideas” in education. After three days of networking, we left inspired, refreshed, and excited that so many of the big ideas our grantees are implementing are truly pushing the boundaries of education reform.  The big themes we overheard?

  • Personalization. Countless presenters and discussions centered on the need for greater personalization in education. From tools that allow students to personalize their search for content to the need to personalize HIV education videos to the unique culture and norms of the recipients, there was general disdain for a “one size fits all” approach to education and content.
  • Technology = friend or foe? Few participants disagreed that technology will be a force for change in education. Karen Cator kicked off the event on Sunday evening by detailing why we’re reaching a critical moment when technology will allow us to foster the personalization, transparency, and interactivity that we’ve been seeking. Countless presenters showed how technology can be harnessed to empower students, foster creativity, and rapidly share content.
  • Active Learning: Not a new theme in education, certainly. Rather, we were inspired by the richly varied approaches to active learning that we saw (or heard about) at the conference. After listening to their ideas and their successes, it was hard to resist the urge to sign up as students, ourselves. Speakers described learning about engineering through the construction of cardboard arcades and learning about sustainability and business by growing and selling produce.

    A few projects worth a click: 

    Caine’s Arcade
    Black Girls Code
    Green Bronx Machine
    Smarthistory
    MusicianCorps

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Publication Date: 
December 07, 2012