Sonoma County Office of Education

21st Century Learning


ieSonoma 2016 was held over two days at two incredible venues: the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School and Weill Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center. Hundreds of attendees were inspired two dynamic keynote speakers: Science Evangelist Dr. Ainissa Ramirez and Grammy-nominated composer and conductor Benjamin Zander. They were joined by a panel of Sonoma County educators, students, and community members who were leading local innovation in education. Learn more at

ieSonoma 2015

ieSonoma 2015 was held over two days at two outstanding venues: the Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School and Weill Hall at Sonoma State University's Green Music Center. Attendees heard from three dynamic keynote speakers whose personal stories of building successful organizations out of their passions to see change in the world served as an inspirational call to action for all of us to be audacious in our goals and our work.

Dan PallottaDan Pallotta is an entrepreneur, author, and humanitarian activist who is changing the way the public thinks about charity and change. He is best known for creating the multi-day charitable event industry, and a new generation of philanthropists, with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Day events. His 2013 TED Talk, viewed by 3.4 million people, argued that “the way we think about charity is dead wrong.”

Emily PillotonEmily Pilloton is an educator, architect, and humanitarian activist who believes that design and building can excite learning and citizenship. She developed and is now teaching a design-build curriculum called Studio H that engages the minds and bodies of high school students while bringing smart design and new opportunities to the poorest county in North Carolina.

Adam BraunAdam Braun is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that builds schools and increases access to education for children in the developing world. His book, The Promise of a Pencil, describes how an ordinary person can create extraordinary change.

ieSonoma Video

ieSonoma 2014

The 2014 ieSonoma event focused on the changing demands of the 21st century and how our community, and its schools, must respond to meet those demands. Two keynote speakers were featured, Dr. Sugata Mitra and Nirvan Mullick. A discussion on “Design Thinking in Education” opened the event with panelists Greg Bamford, Annette Diefenthaler, Kristen Swanson, and Kami Thordarson. See a video of the panel discussion.

Sugata MitraDr. Sugata Mitra is Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, England. His 30 years of research spans a wide range of disciplines, but he has earned the greatest recognition for his creative experiment known as the Hole in the Wall, which showed that children can teach themselves and each other when they’re motivated by curiosity and peer interest. This work inspired the book and award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. Dr. Mitra received the 2013 TED Prize and was named one of the Top 10 Thinkers of 2013 by CNN.

Nirvan MullickNirvan Mullick is a filmmaker, creative consultant, speaker, and entrepreneur. His animated short films have screened in festivals worldwide. In 2001, he began an ongoing collaborative experiment called The 1 Second Film, which was one of the first crowd-funded films. In 2012, he directed Caine's Arcade, an 11-minute film that became a viral phenomenon, receiving over 8 million views and sparking a global movement of ”cardboard creativity.” Mullick subsequently founded the non-profit Imagination Foundation to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children. He has received the Dan Eldon Creative Activist Award and Innovation in Action award.

ieSonoma 2013

Over 700 teachers, administrators, university faculty, business people, and community leaders came together for an event that SCOE’s Educational Services department initiated and helped organize. ieSonoma, as this initiative is now known, was designed to start a community-wide dialogue about creativity and innovation in our schools. It was a huge success.

Sir Ken RobinsonThe event began with a panel discussion by leading Bay Area entrepreneurs, but the highlight was Sir Ken Robinson, a respected speaker known for his talks on education and creativity. You can see clips from his Sonoma County keynote at the ieSonoma website.

Among the attendees at the ieSonoma event were 19 school teams assembled with a goal of exploring the many facets of 21st century teaching and learning. The teams spent an entire week at SCOE focusing on how to begin integrating 21st century skills and increased innovation into their schools, classrooms, and curriculum. The dramatic changes that technology has made in our lives and the shift to Common Core State Standards have helped fuel a growing interest in these new ideas about education.

The success of ieSonoma is the result of strong community collaboration. Over 20 organizations helped sponsor the Sir Ken Robinson event, which was spearheaded by SCOE, Sonoma Country Day School, and Sonoma State University. The sponsoring organizations hope that their work will spark conversations and actions to enhance teaching and learning in Sonoma County schools, so that all students are prepared for success in our rapidly changing world.


  • Dan Blake, Director, Innovation & Partnerships
    (707) 524-2780,