It’s that time of year where we all jump in planes, trains and automobiles to head down to Austin, Texas for some education inspiration at SXSW EDU. We’re excited to spend four days together discussing education innovation with our fellow optimistic, forward-thinking stakeholders who are aiming to impact the future of learning.

On top of the great learning and networking opportunities that SXSW EDU provides, our team always gets excited about the local culinary offerings of Austin: BBQ, breakfast tacos, and QUESO! If you haven’t had Coopers BBQ, we highly recommend checking them out; Jess on our team also swears by Roppolo’s Pizza, Caroline likes Torchy’s Tacos for a mean queso, and Erik is a big fan of Jo’s Coffee.

Below, you will find a summary of where you can find us throughout the week, where our friends (who we highly encourage you to check out) will be, and a few others that are new to us but exciting nonetheless. This year we’re also excited to be a media partner for SXSW EDU and as part of that we’ll be on the ground live reporting on Twitter (@Getting_Smart) and recording audio for upcoming podcast episodes.

Find Getting Smart at SXSW EDU

We look forward to meeting more thought leaders while we’re in Austin. Check out these events where you’ll be sure to find us:

Don’t Let Data Hold You Back
When: Monday, March 5, 2018, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 8ABC
Who: Caroline Vander Ark, Getting Smart; Bill Fitzgerald, InnovateEdu
What: Learn how schools and EdTech leaders are taking steps to make interoperability a reality. Through the sharing of resources, tools and lessons learned you’ll leave with a blueprint for how you can enable innovation in classroom practices with interoperability.

The Rise of AI & What It Means for Education Meet Up
When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 11am-12pm
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 18D
Who: Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart
What: The rise of artificial intelligence and related technologies changes what students need to learn to be well prepared and it will create new tools that teacher teams can use to shape powerful learning experiences.

Why Innovate Alone? Harness the Power of Networks
When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 4pm-6pm
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC
Who: Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart; Lydia Dobyns, New Tech Network; Carlos Moreno, Big Picture Learning
What: School networks are one of the most important innovations in modern era K-12 education. By providing design principles, curriculum, tech tools and ways to facilitate connected learning and improvement, networks play an important role in scaling high-quality learning. This design workshop will start with stories from network leaders and strategies for creating networks within your system, then you’ll work together to design and share a plan for how networks can empower you and your colleagues.

New Framework: High Quality Project Based Learning
When: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 5:30pm-8:00pm
Where: Palm Door on Sabine
Who: Buck Institute for Education
What: Join this multi-organizational event for food and drink as we celebrate the unveiling of the new framework built to help ensure all students have access to high quality PBL.

Can’t-Miss Sessions

One of the best parts of conferences like SXSW EDU is the ability to learn from each other. It gives us the opportunity to hear new innovative ideas and to make new connections. Here are a few more sessions we’re excited about:

Opportunity vs. Achievement: Framing the Gap
When: Monday, March 5, 2018, 2:00pm-3:00pm
Where: Hilton Downtown, Salon A
Who: Jim May, New Tech Network; Christian Quintero, Los Angeles Unified School District
What: This open conversation will argue that the opportunity gap is a more robust frame for understanding and responding to educational inequity than the achievement gap.

The Struggle in Real-Rural, High Poverty Districts
When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 11:00am-12:00pm
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 400-402
Who: Melissa Crosby, Colleton County High School; Kristin Cuilla, New Tech Network; Franklin Foster, Colleton County School District
What: Explore district innovation and perseverance in one of four research study districts working to solve rural, high poverty problems. This session will also examine the connection between educational attainment and economic development.

Employability & The High School Experience
When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 3:00pm-3:20pm
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 404
Who: Tessa Simonds, One Stone Student
What: Today’s teens are taking over. They are helping lead the way to change. One Stone student and board member, 16-year-old Tessa Simond shares how she is hacking adulthood as a teen.

Future Learning: AI’s Impact on Tomorrow’s Worker
When: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 3:00pm-6:00pm
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K
Who: Richard Boyd, Tanjo; Mike Martoccia, Booz Allen Hamilton; Ira Sockowitz, Learning Games Studios; Welela Solomon, Renton Prep; Michelle Zimmerman, Renton Prep
What: AI and machine learning are changing the skills needed for workforce and societal success. Over three one hour segments, participants will gain insight on what knowledge, skills and dispositions will be needed and the learning experiences that teach them; brainstorm with panelists in breakouts; and share those ideas and devise action steps.

Learning Space Genius Bar
When: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 11:00am-2:00pm
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K
Who: Victoria Bergsagel, Aaron Jobson, Sita Lakshminarayan, BLGY Architecture; Jason Lembke, Matt O’Donnell, Grace O’Shea, Nick Salmon, Kelley Tanner, Jane Zhang
What: Come check out the genius bar for teachers and school leaders interested in redesigning their school space.

We’re Doing Gamification Wrong: Kids Want to Learn
When: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 4:00pm-4:20pm
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 19B
Who: Elliott Hedman, mPath
What: Games aren’t just for free time anymore. Learn how games can help kids set meaningful goals and how simplified rewards can cultivate motivation.

AI in Education: Opportunities & Challenges
When: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 3:30pm-4:30pm
Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon D
Who: Marina Gorbis, Institute for the Future; Tess Posner, AI4All; Michael Tjalve, Microsoft; Leila Toplic, NetHope
What: AI is one of the most transformative technologies of our time. It has huge disruptive potential across many industry verticals such as retail, transportation, manufacturing, education and agriculture. The disappearance of jobs could drastically impact the education and workforce systems. Yet, others argue that tech is not our enemy but a tool that can be applied to solve some of the worlds biggest problems such as climate change, the refugee crisis and access to high-quality education.

Keep your eye on @Getting_Smart and @SXSWEDU for highlights and links to other fun events at SXSWEDU 2018.


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