David C. Webb is the Executive Director for the Freudenthal Institute USA and an assistant professor of mathematics education at the University of Colorado at Boulder. (He's also my advisor.) His involvement with the Freudenthal Institute goes back to his graduate school days at the University of Wisconsin, where we was advised by Tom Romberg and worked on the Mathematics in Context project, an NSF-funded curriculum that combined the goals of the NCTM

*Standards*with the philosophies and design theory of RME. Following Romberg's retirement and David's move to the CU, FIUS came to Boulder in 2005. For RME11, David will lead Friday's plenary titled, "Informed Classroom Practice: Progress and Challenges" and will co-lead Sunday's closing plenary titled, "Design, Research, and Practice: Building a Community of Designers and Practitioners."

Koeno Gravemeijer gets the honor of the opening keynote at this year's conference, titled, "Helping Students Construct More Formal Mathematics." I've read a number of his articles and book chapters (see here for a sample), and seen many more referenced, so I'm quite excited to see and hear him in person. I'm not sure what areas of math ed research Gravemeijer hasn't tackled, from design research to statistics education, and the list of articles returned in Google Scholar makes me want to just stop what I'm doing and read for about a month.

Doug Clements will deliver Saturday morning's keynote, "Learning Trajectories -- The Core of Standards, Teaching, and Learning." My introduction to Doug Clements came last spring when my advisor asked me to read Clements's chapter in the Second Handbook of Research on Mathematics Teaching and Learning. The chapter, "Early Childhood Mathematics Learning," written with Julie Sarama, is perhaps the most thorough, dense, yet well-organized and enlightening (in a near-overwhelming kind of way) reading I've done yet as a graduate student. Some suggest we know (or we're close to knowing) all there is to know about early childhood mathematics, so summarizing that knowledge is no easy task. If you ever cross this chapter, take the advice my advisor gave me: "Take your time."

There are so many more excellent people presenting at this conference. Mieke Abels. Debra Johanning. Meg Meyer. The point of this post wasn't so much to drop names, or to think you'll be star-struck by this lineup (in a nerdy math ed researcher way), but to let you put a few names and faces together of people who share a common interest -- they can't stop thinking about how we can better teach and learn mathematics. And if you can think of them that way, then the walls of the ivory tower seem to crumble.

I plan on blogging, tweeting (with hashtag #RME11), and posting to Google+ throughout the weekend, although I still have to find enough spare moments to keep up with my other classwork due next week. (And finish putting together my own presentation!) So far I don't know of any other bloggers or members of the math ed Twitter community who will be attending, but be sure to make your presence felt if you're lucky enough to attend the conference.