Big Ideas Fest, an annual gathering of educators, students, researchers and policymakers to discuss innovations in education, will convene at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, starting this afternoon.

The four-day conference will kick off with an opening reception and dinner followed by a presentation from Shiza Shahid, one of two keynote speakers this year. Shahid is the co-founder and CEO of Malala Fund, an organization that aims to ensure that adolescent girls the world over receive a formal education.

The conference will continue with workshops and design challenges for educators. The exercises are aimed at creating a prototype for an idea that can transform education. The individual or organization with the winning prototype receives the Big Ideas Fest Innovation in Action Award, along with funding to pursue the idea.

Speakers include closing keynote Nolan Bushnell, co-founder and chairman of BrainRush, Mo Qayoumi, president of San Jose State University, and Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History Executive Director Nina Simon.

To register for Big Ideas Fest or for more information, visit A livestream of speakers will be available throughout the conference on the website starting with Shahid’s keynote speech at 7:15 tonight.

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