Keynote and Plenary Sessions

John Seely Brown
Opening Keynote


John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at University of Southern California (USC) and the Independent Co-Chairman of  Deloitte’s Center for the Edge.  Prior to that he was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)—a position he held for nearly two decades.  While head of PARC, Brown expanded the role of corporate research to include such topics as the management of radical innovation, organizational learning, complex adaptive systems, and nano technologies.  He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL).  His personal research interests include digital youth culture, digital media and institutional innovation.


John, or as he is often called—JSB— is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and of AAAS and a Trustee of the MacArthur Foundation.  He serves on numerous public boards (Amazon, Corning, and Varian Medical Systems) and private boards of directors.  He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals. With Paul Duguid he co-authored the acclaimed book The Social Life of Information (HBS Press, 2000) that has been translated into 9 languages with a second addition in April 2002.  With John Hagel he co-authored the book The Only Sustainable Edge which is about new forms of collaborative innovation and The Power of Pull: how small moves, smartly made can set big things in motion, published April 2010.   His current book, The New Culture of Learning co-authored with Professor Doug Thomas at USC, was released January 2011.


JSB received a BA from Brown University in 1962 in mathematics and physics and a PhD from University of Michigan in 1970 in computer and communication sciences.  He has received six honorary degrees including:  May 2000, Brown University, Doctor of Science Degree; July 2001, the London Business School, Honorary Doctor of Science in Economics; May 2004, Claremont Graduate University, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters; May 2005, University of Michigan, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, and May 2009, North Carolina State University, Honorary Doctor of Science Degree, May 2011, Illinois Institute of Technology, Honorary Doctor of Design.  He is an avid reader, traveler and motorcyclist.  Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, JSB’s views are unique and distinguished by a broad view of the human contexts in which technologies operate and a healthy skepticism about whether or not change always represents genuine progress.


Elizabeth Corcoran
Plenary Panelist

Elizabeth “Betsy” Corcoran is co-founder of EdSurge, the fastest growing newsletter on education-technology entrepreneurship.

Ms. Corcoran is an award-winning journalist who previously spent 10 years with Forbes, where she served as Executive Editor for technology coverage at Forbes magazine and She's written cover stories on subjects from robotics to engineers jump starting their careers. She's also been Prior to Forbes, Ms. Corcoran was a staff writer for The Washington Post covering technology. She broke stories on the Microsoft antitrust case from Washington before establishing the paper's Silicon Valley office. She has also been a Fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as a member of the Board of Editors of Scientific American.

Ms. Corcoran has been a featured commentator on programs including Forbes on Fox, CNBC, NCB's "Press Here," and other programs. She has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Georgetown University.

Mitch Kapor
Plenary Panelist

Mitch Kapor is a pioneer of the personal computing industry and has been at the forefront of information technology for more than 30 years as an entrepreneur, software designer, and investor. He is widely known as founder of Lotus Development Corporation and the designer of Lotus 1-2-3, the "killer application" which made the personal computer ubiquitous in the business world in the 1980s.

Other pioneering organizations in which Mitch has played an important role include: as founding investor, UUNET, the first commercial Internet Service Provider; as co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation, which protects freedom and privacy on the Internet; as founding investor, Real Networks, the first company to offer streaming media over the Internet; as founding chair, the Mozilla Foundation, maker of the open source web browser Firefox; and as founding investor and Chair, Linden Research, the creator of the first successful virtual world, Second Life.

Mitch is currently active as a startup investor through Kapor Capital, which has made more than 50 investments in the past three years. Among others, he was personally responsible for investments in EtherPad (acquired by Google), CubeTree (acquired by Success Factors), Dapper (acquired by Yahoo),, Get Satisfaction, Twilio, Asana, Inkling, Posterous and Uber.

He is an investor in ePals, the Internet's largest global community of connected classrooms.  He also serves on the advisory Board of Generation Investment Management, a pioneering firm in the area of mission-related investing, founded by David Blood and Al Gore.

In 1997, Mitch endowed the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, a private foundation which works to ensure fairness and equity, particularly for low-income communities of color. Current areas of focus for the foundation include building sustainable communities, affording greater access to college education for young African-American males, and protecting the integrity of the electoral process.

Since 2001, Mitch has been a director and major funder of the Level Playing Field Institute, which works to increase fairness in education and the workplace by closing the opportunity gap and removing barriers to success. LPFI operates the Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH) to prepare students from underrepresented communities to be competitive in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related studies at top universities.

Mitch is a board member of the non-profit organization Common Sense Media, the nation's leading independent non-profit advocating for children. He also serves on the advisory boards of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights on the Internet), the Sunlight Foundation (improving access to government information), and the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia and other free content projects).

Ronaldo Lemos
Plenary Panelist

Ronaldo Lemos is a visiting fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University. He is the director of the Center for Technology and Society at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) School of Law in Rio de Janeiro. He is also the director of the Creative Commons Brazil and former chairman of the Board of iCommons. He has earned his LL.B. and LL.D. from the University of Sao Paulo, and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He is the author of books including “Direito, Tecnologia e Cultura,” published by FGV Press, 2005, and “Tecnobrega”, published in 2008. He is one of the founders of Overmundo, winner of the Digital Communities Golden Nica, granted by the Prix Ars Electronica 2007. He writes and presents a weekly television show for MTV Brazil about technology and policy, called Mod MTV, and writes weekly for Folha de Sao Paulo, the largest newspaper in Brazil. 

Vicki Phillips
Plenary Panelist

Vicki Phillips serves as Director of Education, College Ready for the foundation. Phillips oversees work to ensure U.S. high school students graduate ready to succeed, and to improve access to college.

Phillips has built a strong education reform record throughout her career, at all levels – from neighborhood schools to the federal government. For nearly three decades, she has endeavored to improve education – as a teacher, state-level policymaker, leader of a nonprofit education foundation, superintendent of a large urban school district and now as the director of education for the foundation.

Prior to joining the foundation, she was superintendent of Portland Public Schools in Portland, Oregon. Earlier, Phillips served as Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s appointed secretary of education and that state’s chief state school officer. She previously served at the state level in her home state of Kentucky, helping to implement the sweeping changes demanded by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. Phillips has worked with the U.S. Office of Education in Washington, D.C., and has been a middle and high school teacher.

Born in Kentucky and raised on a small farm, Phillips was the first in her family to go to college, and earned first a bachelor's degree in elementary and special education and a master's degree in school psychology from Western Kentucky University. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and management from the University of Lincoln in England, and served as a founding member of the governing council for England’s National College for School Leadership.  

Leslie Redd
Plenary Panelist

Leslie Redd is the Director of Educational Programs at Valve Corporation, an entertainment software and technology company based in Bellevue, Washington. In addition to producing bestselling entertainment titles such as the Half-Life®, and PortalTM franchises, Valve is a developer of leading-edge technologies, including the Source® game engine and Steam®, a broadband platform that delivers and manages digital content for almost 35 million users.

Valve is collaborating with the education community to develop game-related tools and curricula around STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. The company recently launched the web site which will offer resources for all who are interested in using the games Portal and Portal 2 as an interactive educational experience. A teacher-focused site is coming soon. offers educators access to free content and game design tools, as well as a community for exchanging curricula, lessons and experiences.

Leslie is spearheading Valve’s new foray into education, coordinating partnerships and relationships with educators, universities, government agencies and foundations, and facilitating Valve’s education programming and curricular efforts. Previously, Leslie was a senior administrator at an independent school in Seattle.  Prior to that she directed efforts in domestic and international public policy and management at the University of Washington, and in institutional advancement at the Smithsonian Institution. Leslie received a BA in government from Cornell University and an MPA from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where she also was an adjunct faculty member.


Carina Wong
Plenary Panelist

Carina Wong has worked in education at the national, state, and local levels for over twenty years.  She served as the Director of Youth Policy and Education at the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, DC where she focused on improving the educational outcomes for out-of-school youth.  She also served as the Director of the Assessment and Accountability for the Pennsylvania Department of Education during the No Child Left Behind reforms.  She worked in the Philadelphia School District on a major reform effort, as well as has dedicated her career to improving school lunches and creating edible schoolyards nationally as the Executive Director of the Chez Panisse Foundation in Berkeley, CA.  She is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and has a Masters in Administration and Policy from Stanford University and a Masters in Education from George Washington University.  Carina served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa and trained Peace Corps Volunteers in Botswana from 2000-2003.  She is a mother of three young children and currently the Deputy Director of Education for College Ready Work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Constance M. Yowell
Plenary Panelist

Connie Yowell is the Director of Education for U.S. Programs, where she oversees a $85 million program on Digital Media and Learning, one of the first philanthropic efforts in the country to systematically explore the impact of digital media on young people and implications for the future of learning.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Yowell was an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, publishing scholarly work that examined the complex interplay among young people’s emerging identity, their social context and achievement. Her research integrated the fields of adolescent psychological development and organization change to address the problem of high school dropout among immigrant students in the United States. Yowell briefly served as Policy Analyst in the U.S. Department of Education during the Clinton Administration, and has worked closely with teachers and administrators to develop and implement literacy curricula for Latino youth, and as evaluator and program coordinator for youth development programs in New York City.

Yowell received the Distinguished Fellows Award from the William T. Grant Foundation, an award to support scholars seeking to bridge research and practice, under which she worked with the National Writing Project to develop approaches that integrate web 2.0 technologies into the social practices of teachers.

Yowell earned her bachelor’s degree from Yale, and her PhD from Stanford University.