SXSWedu in Austin, Texas this week brought many innovative ideas to the forefront of discussion. Below are six trends that stood out in sessions, discussions, and more:

  • Informal learning – Pearson’s CEO, Marjorie Scardino, was retweeted countless times Wednesday after she said, “70 percent of everything you learn, you learn informally.” Informal learning was all the buzz at the conference. LearningJar, a vision for a platform based around informal learning in higher education, took the cake at the LAUNCHedu this week.
  • Data analytics – There is lots of discussion here about adaptive and personalized learning based on the analysis of  keystroke data.  The next generation platform competition is a race for the best data analytics that integrates learning paths and digital playlists packaged in an engaging, beautiful, and interactive design that will capture the high expectations of students and teachers today.
  • Problem solvers working toward solutions – Other major edtech conferences tend to take an approach where a vendor or tech provider identifies a pain point and sells to allieve it. SXSWedu appeared to flip this discussion to problem solvers getting together to find solutions to the existing problems. Most saw a common goal: Improving education through out-of-the-box methods and innovations.
  • Making technology invisible – In conversation, Jaime Casap from Google spoke about the ways that we need to move beyond teaching simply how to use the technology to an implementation strategy that makes the technology disappear into the background. He said, it isn’t about the technologies used, but rather about the learning that happens through these new tools. This frames the assumption that technology is a must in the classroom to transform learning and that teachers should already be equipped with how to use it effectively. We then, are at the place of discussing how to make learning happen.
  • Game-based learning and badges – What’s more, many LMS providers were finding ways to introduce games into their platforms to deliver a more engaging experience for learning.
  • Professional development –  BloomBoard (previously FormativeLearning), a K-12 professional development platform for personalized learning, feedback, coaching, and socializing, also was the LAUNCHedu winner.
Disclosure: Bloomboard is a portfolio company of Learn Capital where Tom is a partner

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