Iowa Ideas is a nonpartisan, statewide learning experience designed to explore the key questions and big ideas that will shape the future of Iowa.

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Trace Pickering, pioneer in learner-centered education, to keynote K-12 education track

    Left: Trace Pickering, executive director of Iowa BIG and associate director of practitioner engagement and learning at Education Reimagined. Right: Iowa BIG students work on a community mural in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. (The Gazette)
    K-12 Education
    Jun 9, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Trace Pickering, executive director of Iowa BIG and associate director of practitioner engagement and learning at Education Reimagined, will keynote the K-12 education track at Iowa Ideas 2017. Pickering will speak Thursday, September 21 in Cedar Rapids.

    In his dual roles, Pickering has been a leader in implementing project-based learning in Iowa and growing the community of practitioners across the country.

    Iowa BIG is a project-based and learner-centered high school in Cedar Rapids, which accepts students from three public school districts. Students at BIG choose their own projects and work collaboratively to complete them, with teachers acting as mentors and connectors. All projects are interdisciplinary and involve community partners. Iowa BIG was awarded a $1 million grant from the XQ America Super School Project and has been featured in Fast Company and Inc. Magazine.

    “I’ve gone from hating school to loving it, from being escorted out of school by police officers to networking with adults and students from all over the nation, and traveling the country and speaking in front of over 100 community members on the importance of learner-centered environments,” wrote Jemar Lee, an Iowa BIG student, in an Education Reimagined article describing his journey.

    In his role with Education Reimagined, Pickering works with educators and practitioners around the country to advance learner-centered education. The paradigm shift from school-centered to learner-centered education impacts almost every part of the education system. Prior to these roles, Pickering had a diverse set of experiences as an educator, entrepreneur and in private business.  

    The Iowa Ideas Conference, Sept. 20-22, will include 80 sessions and more than 250 speakers across eight tracks. The statewide gathering will mix panel discussions, interviews with state leaders and thought-provoking experiences to help move complex issues forward. Iowa Ideas is for anyone who wants to be part of the conversation about the future of our state.

    Other topics planned in the K-12 education track include discussions around ACES and poverty in schools, preparing students for the careers of the future, early childhood education and literacy, funding, diversity in education and more.

    Iowa Ideas 2017 will kick off Wednesday, September 20, with an opening celebration and keynote address from best-selling author and innovation expert Alec Ross.

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