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Monday, November 26, 2012

Ambitious Experiment in Educational Innovation to Take Place in Sacramento

Sacramento, CA, November 26, 2012—  They had a simple idea: Find a brilliant mix of innovative people from different professions. Get them together in one space for a day. Invite teachers, EdTech visionaries, hackers and entrepreneurs and encourage them to work on ideas, partnerships, networks, even businesses with the goal of jump starting the economy and revolutionizing education. Call it the “Education Supercollider (Un) Conference” and  give yourself 40 days to make it happen.

“The experiment,” according to The Education Supercollider co-founders Lee Chazen and Charles Van Norman, “is to see if this mix collides in such a way as to produce positive results. For example, the Bay Area is rife with EdTech startups; can the same phenomenon also start and thrive in cities like Sacramento?”

In order to encourage innovation and interaction (often missing from traditional conferences) the event will be based on an “un-conference” format allowing for break-out sessions, spontaneous question and answer periods and “action pitches.” The event will also feature an impressive lineup of innovators and educators, including robotics expert and CEO of Barobo, Graham Ryland, former member of the Google Goggles Team, Dr. Alex Terrazas and innovation expert and former stand-up comic Allen Fahden.  

Adding to the diversity of speakers, the Un-Conference will offer talks by Allan Katzen, owner and operator of Sacramento's Game Truck, "the world’s first mobile video game theater franchise," social entrepreneur and civic innovator Ash Roughani and Andrew Lee, Chief Innovator and Co-founder at iHomeEducator®.

But, in between speakers, it’s anybody’s game! Participants will host their own sessions, and multiple conversations and presentations will go on throughout the day for anyone to wander into and out of. It will be slightly chaotic, and, according to Chazen and Van Norman, “that’s actually the point -- too much structure can stifle creativity and innovation because there is no room to grow. Attendees are encouraged to contribute to the process, instead of just being spoon-fed other people’s ideas and experiences.”

In fact, it is this very problem; the lack of interactivity and engagement with information, that Education Supercollider is targeting.  If the classroom, or any organization for that matter, is too top heavy and rigid, people get bored and feel ineffective. But, open this process up, allow humans to be their natural inventive and curious selves, and everything changes. Classrooms where students are co-creators of the learning experience are much more fun and effective.

The event will take place on Friday, November 30 from 9 to 5 p.m. at Hacker Lab, Sacramento’s newest co-working, bootstrapping and startup space. The Education Supercollider (Un) Conference is sponsored in by The Education Now 2012 Symposium and iHomeEducator, Inc..

For tickets and more information, please see: Eventbrite (Un) Conference Tickets

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why Every School Needs an 'Innovation Day'

I think this post makes an excellent argument in favor of less structure - instead of more in the classroom. Less structure, i.e. free innovation time, inspires creativity, problem solving and "curiosity-based" learning.  Sure, there's a time and a place for structured - prepare-for-the-test learning, but why not free up 20 percent of the time for pure innovation?

Why Every School Needs an 'Innovation Day'

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Cereal Hack is Coming to Sacramento



Graham Ryland, Maker of Modular Robotics, to Speak at (Un) Conference in Sacramento

Graham Ryland, founder and head engineer of Barobo, is just one of several innovative people to join the list of speakers at our event on Nov. 30th. His company, located in West Sacramento, CA is developing robots for use in the classroom - specifically to help with STEM education.

Graham Ryland is passionate about creating robots that inspire young people to pursue a career in engineering and science. He focused on modular robotics for his graduate work at the University of California, Davis, and later co-founded Barobo, Inc., an educational robotics startup along with his faculty advisor Harry Cheng. Graham is currently the president of Barobo Inc., creating robots for transformative K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Additionally, Graham is the Principle Investigator for a National Science Foundation SBIR Phase II grant supporting Barobo in its goal of making research grade robotics accessible to middle school and high school classrooms.

To attend, sponsor, exhibit or speak at our event, please sign up at: The Education Super Collider (Un) Conference.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Most ed-tech startups suck! Here’s where they’re going wrong.

Most ed-tech startups suck! Here’s where they’re going wrong.

This is one of many reasons why we're hosting this event -- so we can get developers talking to teachers. It could lead to better product development.

Mediocrity versus Mastery: The Case for Game-Based Learning - Forbes

Mediocrity versus Mastery: The Case for Game-Based Learning - Forbes

The Education Super Collider (Un) Conference

Imagine a super collision between all the forces driving innovation in the field of education. Imagine further if this were done in a way to encourage collaboration, creativity and the free exchange of new ideas. This is not a "sit in your seat and take notes" kind of conference. This is an (un) conference with both structured and non-structured segments. There will be presentations, action pitches, break-out sessions and panel discussions. In fact, by attending you'll be determining the outcome of this event. We wanted to design it in a way that matches the possibilities for the future of education - an event which is emergent, adaptive, experiential and curiosity-based. 

Brought to you by:  The Education Super Collider and Hacker Lab.

Sponsored in part by:  The Education Now 2012 Tele Symposium

Who is invited: Innovators, entrepreneurs, service providers, technology experts, educators and business developers, i.e. people who want to share new, disruptive technologies and ideas.


  • to introduce new concepts, innovations, applications to teachers at all levels
  • to give teachers a chance to share ideas that are working in their classrooms
  • to improve teaching / instruction and overall classroom performance
  • to help facilitate the growth of businesses in the educational space
  • to build collaborative networks

Format: It’s an “unconference” designed to allow a free and open exchange of ideas. Speakers can sign up before the event or upon registration and will be given anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes to make a presentation. There will be two break-out sessions or workshops during the day to allow for networking, collaboration, instruction, feedback from participants and the facilitation of ideas and plans.

Note: All major presentations (in the 8 to 15 minute range) must be pre-approved and will be considered on a first come-first served basis.

Speakers (who sign up before the event) get

  • a chance to debut your disruptive idea or product
  • two free tickets (one for you and a friend/ colleague)
  • name / company information on all marketing material
  • great networking and collaboration opportunities

Sponsors get

  • company information and links on all conference materials, including un-conference website
  • 4 free tickets to the event
  • an opportunity to present
  • booth space

Exhibitors get

  • booth space at the event
  • 3 free tickets
  • company information and links on all conference materials, including the un-conference website

Join us and get to your "next level" -- sign up today! Don't forget to tell a friend or colleague.