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Taking Stock of Big Ideas in Education

A group of educators, administrators, and entrepreneurs met in Half Moon Bay, Calif., last month for the inaugural Big Ideas Fest, sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, or ISKME. And from what I hear, this was no ordinary education conference.

In order to get participants to suspend judgment, let go of their agendas, listen to others, build on what they received, look for connections, and support their partners, much of the conference activities centered around improv. During the conference's action collabs—fast-paced, hands-on problem-solving activities done in small groups—participants brainstormed about how to implement solutions to educational challenges.

During the conference, guests heard from Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive, whose goal it is to provide "universal access to all knowledge [so] that anyone, anywhere can access anything that's ever been published, including music, lectures, articles, books, software, and more." Along with technological innovation and access, another theme that popped up repeatedly in the conference was harnessing the power of personalizing learning through technology. Read more about what was discussed at the fest on the Big Ideas Fest blog.

Arne Duncan even recorded a video message for the participants of the Big Ideas Fest, which drew connections between the conference and the importance of innovation in education today.

Did any of you readers attend the fest? And if so, did you think that these hands-on activities and performances helped pave the way for big ideas in education? And for those of you who did not attend this conference, what kinds of activities have you participated in at conferences that successfully got your mind cranking? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Meanwhile, check out this video of one participant's experiences at the fest:

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