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EVENTS EXCERPTS

Big Ideas Fest, 2011 – Day 3

Yea! The Action Collab design team I am leading has completed its project at the Big Ideas Fest. Today, we pitched our 21st-century skills assessment concept to the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and a professor from the University of Ottawa. The team got excellent feedback and one suggestion to make the idea even bigger. Together, the team created a second prototype (again using RAFT materials) which incorporated the expansion idea. Tomorrow, the team will present their final concept to all 200 conference participants.

Other foundations represented at the Big Ideas Fest include Gates, Hewlett, Qatar, National Endowment for the Arts, CK-12, Sherwood, and Carnegie.

Today's Rapid Fire speakers presented cutting-edge programs:
> Common Craft (a 2-person company that makes short videos explaining social media tools, like "Wikis Made Simple")
> Valencia 626 (a very popular free tutoring provider that publishes its students' works)> CK-12 Foundation (a group that replaces textbooks with on-line equivalents, saving schools up to $175K per year)
> New Orleans Charter Academy (a school in the flood-ravaged 9th Ward of New Orleans that went from last to first place in reading scores), and more!

RAFT got a big round of applause from all the participants for supplying all the prototyping materials used during the conference (most of which were paid for by the organizers). I was given three buttons from my fellow conference attendees: "You Inspired Me", "I Learned Something From You", and "Interesting Adult". The last one came from a high school student from South San Francisco. I have learned so much about trends in assessment, the needs of today's teachers, the future of education policy, and what is at the forefront of online professional development. I Can't wait for the big presentation in the morning!

- Greg Brown, RAFT Education Director (Dec 6,2011)

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