2017 Schools of the Future Conference

Hawai'i Convention Center 

October 26 & 27, 2017 


Join 1800+ teachers and administrators from Hawai‘i’s public, private, charter and parochial schools as they focus on how to best transform our existing schools and create new learning environments for the 21st Century.

This event will explore a wide range of topics and ideas: Project/Design/Inquiry-Based Learning, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Social & Emotional Learning, Early Childhood Learning, Original Education Research, Place-Based & Culture-Based Learning, STEM/STEAM, Teaching & Instructional Best Practices: 21st Century Learning, Student Engagement, School Culture, Standards-based Grading & Assessment, Curriculum Alignment, & Individualized Learning. 

Early Bird Registration Deadline: May 31, 2017

Early Bird Ticket Prices

Ticket Type  Rate 
October 26 & 27 (Both days of the conference)  $300
October 26 (Day 1 of the conference only)  $150
October 27 (Day 2 of the conference only)  $150


Group Discounts

A team discount is available for groups of 10 or more participants from the same organization. Your institution should designate a “group contact person” and have her or him contact Megan Polak – mpolak@hais.us - to obtain a discount code. The group discount is applied to the conference rate in effect at the time of registration. 


Refund Policy - By submitting the online registration form, you agree to pay the registration fee, regardless of attendance. We understand that situations may change after you register for this conference. Although we are unable to offer you a refund, we encourage you to send someone from your organization in your place. Kindly notify Megan Polak - mpolak@hais.us - with any such changes.


Media Release Agreement - By registering for this event, you grant to the 2017 Schools of the Future Conference convening organizations the right, in all media, to create, adapt and use, for educational, promotional, or other lawful purposes both now and in the future, any recordings or pictures of your image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such, made or taken in connection with the 2017 Schools of the Future Conference without receiving compensation or royalties.

Conference Overview

The Ninth Annual Schools of the Future Conference will be held on October 26 & 27 from 7:30am - 5:00pm, at the Hawaii Convention Center. Teachers and administrators from Hawai'i's public, private, charter and parochial schools joined together to focus on how to best transform our existing schools and create new learning environments for the 21st Century. 

Keynote Speakers 

Marc Prensky
Thursday 10-26 
Opening Keynote 
Zoe Weil 
Thursday 10-26 
Lunch Keynote 
George Couros 
Friday 10-26
Opening Keynote


Marc Prensky is an internationally acclaimed speaker, writer, consultant, and innovator in the field of education. He is considered one of the world's leading experts on the connection between learning and technology. Marc offers deep experience and insight into educating today's youth and into using technology - including social media, virtual worlds, programming, games and apps - in powerful ways for learning.

Zoe Weil is the president of theInstitute for Humane Education (IHE) , which offers online graduate degrees in comprehensive Humane Education linking human rights, environmental preservation and animal protection. IHE also offers solutionary-focused programs and workshops for teachers, students, parents, and change agents, as well as an award-winning free resource center . Zoe has given six TEDx talks including her acclaimed TEDx "The World Becomes What You Teach." She is the author of seven books including her most recent book, The World Becomes What We Teach: Educating a Generation of Solutionaries ; Nautilus silver medal winner Most Good, Least Harm , and Moonbeam gold medal winner Claude and Medea . Zoe is the recipient of the Unity College Women in Environmental Leadership award and was a subject of the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait series. She holds master's degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Valparaiso University.

George Couros is a leading educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning. He has worked with all levels of school, from K-12 as a teacher, technology facilitator, and school and district administrator, and is the author of the book, The Innovator's Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity . He is a sought after speaker on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement and has worked with schools and organizations around the globe. George is also the creator of Connected Principals.com, an initiative that brings educators and leaders together from around the world to create powerful learning opportunities for students.

Featured Speakers

Mark Collin, PhD, Founder TOOLBOX™ 

Charles Fisher, PhD, Executive Director TOOLBOX™ & Dovetail Learning Inc.

Laura McBain, Director of External Relations & the Director of Education Leadership Academy at High Tech High

Scarlett Lewis – Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement 

Dru Tomlin - Director of Middle Level Services at Association for Middle Level Education 

Brandon Jacobs - Director of Inclusion and Diversity at The Hill School 

Gary Stager - Founder of Constructing Modern Knowledge Institute 

Lisa Tabb - Executive Producer, "Screenagers"  

Ian Kitajuma & Keith Matsumoto - Design Thinking Hawai'i 

Mary Hattori - Outreach Director at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, Univ. of Hawai'i 

Mike Johnston - Founder EduCare, Focuses on Sustainable Education 





2016 Schools of the Future Conference Recap

In the 8 years since its inception, the Schools of the Future (SOTF) Conference has grown exponentially, drawing nearly 1800 participants this year! This year's conference featured 3 keynote speakers, 11 featured speakers, 88 breakout sessions, 6 interactive playgrounds, 2 student performances and 52 exhibitors. The collaborative nature of the conference is a fundamental reason for its success, and it is because of the ongoing partnership between the Hawai'i Department of Education, The Hawai'i Society for Technology in Education, Pillars of Peace and the Hawai'i Community Foundation, and The Hawai'i Association of Independent Schools that this conference not only continues to grow in size, but also in substance. While the partnerships are imperative, the dedication and commitment of an extraordinary planning committee must also be noted. A huge mahalo for another successful year to Hilary Apana-McKee (DOE), Brett Tanaka (DOE), Mark Hines (Mid-Pacific Institute), Robbie Ann Kane (HCF), Elizabeth Garrison (P-20 Partnerships for Education), Jeannine Souki (Charter Network), Phil Bossert (HAIS), Megan Polak (HAIS) and Deanna D'Olier (HAIS). Looking forward to seeing you all again on October 26 & 27, 2017!

Highlights from the 2016 Schools of the Future Conference:

Conference Overview

The Eighth Annual Schools of the Future Conference was held on October 20 & 21 from 7:30am - 5:00pm, at the Hawaii Convention Center. Teachers and administrators from Hawai'i's public, private, charter and parochial schools joined together to focus on how to best transform our existing schools and create new learning environments for the 21st Century. 

Record Number of Proposals 

The Schools of the Future Conference received a record number of proposals from independent, public and charter schools across the state, for the 2016 Conference. Of the 138 proposals received and reviewed by the SOTF Proposal Review Committee, 87 notifications of acceptance for presentations were emailed on Friday, April 8. Once again, the committee was thrilled by the caliber and breadth of work being done by Hawai'i educators.

Ka Helena A'o: The Learning Walk 

Ka Helena Aʻo: The Learning Walk, a 30-minute documentary co-produced by Josh Reppun and Kelsey Matsu, directed by Kelsey Matsu, shot on Oahu and Hawaii Island, explores through storytelling the efforts of six Hawaii schools and programs that are doing project-based, problem-based, culture and place-based learning, and doing it well. The schools and programs are: Mid-Pacific Institute, SEEQS, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Waipahu High School and Kanehunamoku Voyaging Academy. Reppun and Matsu, in May of 2016, took Most Likely to Succeedʻs Executive Producer and funder, Ted Dintersmith, through a “learning walk” through these schools and programs. Ka Helena Aʻo sees these schools and programs through Dintersmithʻs eyes. After his trip to Hawaii, Dintersmith Tweeted that Hawaii will become a model to the nation, and the world with its innovations in education. Ka Helena Aʻo can be seen at kelseymatsu.com.

Pre and Post Conference Successes 

Identity & Diversity Pre-Conference - The Identity & Diversity Pre-Conference took place on Tuesday, October 18, from 12 noon to 5:00 pm and was open to K-12 educators and students in grades 9-12, in public, charter, and independent schools. 

4th Annual Hawaii Education Leadership Summit - The 4th Annual Hawaii Education Leadership Summit (HELS) took place on Wednesday, October 19. The pre-conference provided an opportunity for school leaders to talk about the future. Click here for more information.

4th Annual EdCamp Honolulu - On Saturday, October 22 , Kamehameha Schools hostedd the 4th Annual EdCamp Honolulu. EdCamps are "UNconferences," that are free, partcipant-driven professional development events where the attendees set the schedule and lead the sessions, which are conversations, not presentations. EdCamp Honolulu was an event full of rich discussions, cool demonstrations and plenty of hands-on learning.  

Peace with the Heart of Aloha Conference - October 19th 

The Asia Pacific Children's Museum Conference – Peace with the Heart of Aloha - will took place on October 19, 20 and 21, and was held alongside the Schools of the Future Conference. 

About Peace with the Heart of Aloha - The Conference provided educators and children’s museum professionals with an opportunity to exchange ideas and best practices, network with colleagues, and learn from each other by attending valuable presentations related to the topic of “peace education for children.” The theme, “PEACE with the Heart of Aloha,” is something that deeply affects each of us in the world today. Presentations will address the following:

  • How are educators, children’s museums, and other individuals and organizations promoting “warm-heartedness” in children today?
  • What are we as educators and children’s museums professionals doing to make an impact on others to shape their view of the world as a global community?
  • What big issues regarding human rights and developing social consciousness in children are children’s museums currently focused on?

October 19th Conference Highlights

  • Keynote: “Aloha Connects” presented by Pono Shim, Economic Development Board, Hawaii, USA
  • Keynote: “Ceeds of Peace” presented by Dr. Maya Soetoro Ng, Spark M. Matsunaga Institute for Peace & Conflict Resolution, Hawaii, USA
  • “Peace, Love and Ukulele” presented by Jake Shimabukuro, JS Entertainment
  • “Global Education in the School” presented by Dr. James K. Scott, Punahou School, Hawaii, USA
  •  “Sharing the Love and Joy of Reading” presented by Lynne Waihee, Read To Me International, Hawaii, USA
  • “The Role of Play as A Mechanism for Children’s Learning and Development” presented by Laura Huerta Migus, Association of Children’s Museums, Washington D.C., USA
  • Panel presentation: “International Partnerships” presented by Leslie Swartz, Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts, USA
  • “Celebrating Culture Through Exhibits” presented by Lizzy Martin, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, New York, USA
  • “Creating Empathetic, Curious and Culturally-literate Children” presented by Heather Hickland -World Awareness Children’s Museum, New York, USA





Dr. Alec Curous: University of Regina; Professor  of Ed. Technology  & Media 



Dr. Sherry Turkle: MIT; Director of Initiative on Technology and Self 



Dr. Marc Brackett: Yale Director; Center for Emotional Intelligence 




Featured Speakers



Stephanie Smith Lee - National Down Syndrome Congress, Think College



Ven. Tenzin Priyadarshi - Dalai Lama Center for Ethics & Transformative Values, MIT



Mary Hattori - Outreach Director, Center for Pacific Islands Studies



Olin College: Scott Hersey, Nicholas Francisci & Mackenzie Frackleton - An undergraduate engineering institution exploring innovative approaches to engineering education


Fred Dillon - HopeLab, Director of Product Development


Laurie Coots - MindUP™, CEO

Laura McBain - Director of External Relations and the Director of Education Leadership Academy at High Tech High



Vicki Abeles - "Beyond Measure" Author and Filmmaker 


Gail Lovely - "Suddenly It Clicks" Author


Tamra Kaldor - Early Childhood Playground Presenter 


Pam Witmer - Senior Policy Manager, Illinois Network of Charter Schools