Sharing Big Ideas to Tackle Education’s Challenges
EdForward participated recently in a wildly innovative
educational summit called Big Ideas Fest (www.bigideasfest.org) where
teachers, professors, students, administrators, researchers,
policymakers, non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs, corporate
leaders, foundation executives and technology pioneers came
together to tackle some of education’s most intractable
challenges. How can we help schools break free from
conventional modes of learning? How can we ensure that
innovations and technologies flourish? How can we make
education relevant to all of today’s students, at all levels of
learning? The beauty of the conference though…was that is
was not a conference of yesteryear with snooze-inducing
Through a fast-paced combination of rapid-fire presentations by
visionary speakers already “making change” coupled with six high
energy Action Collabs sprinkled across three days, multiple teams
of 12-15 people participated in a process that encouraged fresh
thinking and innovative designs that addressed these challenges
in education. Utilizing a series of creative and invigorating
“labs,” each group progressed from brainstorming to rapid
prototype design to testing to the creation of a tangible
solution, some of which bordered on “wild and crazy.” And while
UC Davis and the School of Education are sensitive to the
danger to fall for ”fad” solutions to monumental
challenges, the idea of the Action Collabs was to liberate
thinking so that groups could tackle and resolve familiar issues
from new perspectives. And sometimes a new perspective is just
enough to inspire transformation while maintaining core value.
The conference ended with each group giving a three-minute
pitch of their solutions and designs to the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation and Maker Faire for commentary and suggestions
for scale to the real world.
I encourage you to check out how an innovative education company
called Roadtrip Nation captured the spirit of the work being done
at the Fest and associated advice to a group of
South San Francisco AVID high schoolers.
And, so I ask you, what else can we do to continue the momentum
generated at the Big Ideas Fest, while still maintaining our
commitment to sustainable transformation in education that
is at the core of the UC Davis mission? If you would like
to participate in the discussion or learn how to design for
innovation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EdForward will begin hosting Action Collabs in early 2011.
Be a part of the ongoing Fest.