SXSW EDU Panel Picker 2019 – Cast Your Votes!

It’s that time of the year again! Time to vote for the panels you want to see down in Austin for the at the 2019 SXSW EDU conference.

Community votes count for 30% of the selection decision, so this is a great time to help the team at SXSW determine what you want to see for programming. Voting and comments can be made now through Thursday, August 30th.

If you aren’t registered to vote yet, it’s really quick and easy to do. Click here and sign up:

Smart Sessions

We’re admittedly a bit biased about these sessions, but we believe in the power of both sessions and hope you’ll give them a thumbs up. See you in Austin!

Building Student Agency Through the Power of Place

Learning doesn’t just happen within brick and mortar school buildings — powerful learning happens in our communities. In fact, some of the most personalized learning starts when students engage in their communities and unpack who they are, where they are from and how they can make a difference right now. In this session, participants will work with students to explore Austin as a community and reveal the six essential place-based education design principles.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand how community and place can be used for integrated learning experiences.
  2. Unpack and apply the six placed-based education design principles.
  3. Brainstorm a place-based experience that could be done in your own setting/context.


  • Emily Liebtag, Director of Advocacy, Getting Smart
  • Nate McClennen, Vice President for Education and Innovation at Teton Science Schools

Collaborate Vs. Compete: Sustaining Via Networks

Changing education is complicated. Working in networks reduces complexity and increases effectiveness and impact. By providing design principles, learning models, tools, and professional learning, networks play a key role in scaling and sustaining high-quality, equitable learning. Informal and formal networks can support the transformation of a single school or an entire system. Hear from network leaders and learn how you can leverage the power of networks to transform learning.

Learning Objectives

  1. Smart strategies for working together in school networks to achieve the promise of personalized learning for all students.
  2. Discover how relationships between networks and schools power high-quality learning.
  3. Learn how to apply the power of networks to support innovation implementation and sustainability.


  • Lydia Dobyns, President and CEO, New Tech Network
  • Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Getting Smart
  • Juan Cabrera, Superintendent, El Paso Independent School District
  • Royce Avery, Superintendent, Manor Independent School District

Revolutionizing Edtech with Interoperability

Project Unicorn, Digital Promise, and Cajon Valley USD will discuss how districts can dig deeper to develop a digital ecosystem with interoperability and discuss pain points identified by districts including privacy, security, policy compliance, and rostering. Technology will never replace great teaching. Rather, it can help educators to inform instruction, save time, and improve student outcomes. Learn how to optimize your data and mobilize your movement in the digital space.

Learning Objectives
  1. Understand the toolkit for building district interoperability and creating a digital ecosystem with resources including the rubric and more.
  2. Discover solutions to specific pain points, including rostering, login management, maintaining privacy and security, and policy compliance.
  3. Understand the insights a district can unlock when they have an interoperable ecosystem that fosters blended and personalized learning.


  • Caroline Vander Ark, President, Getting Smart
  • Kimberly Smith, Executive Director of the League of Innovative Schools, Digital Promise
  • David Miyashiro, Superintendent, Cajon Valley Union School District

Life Beyond the Diploma: Adults with Autism

Join an ecosystem of educators and business leaders to discuss emerging learning modules and skill-sets that are effectively preparing students with autism for post-secondary success and meaningful employment. Panelists will discuss how to make these learning approaches and skills including personalized and project-based learning, more accessible to young adults, specifically those with autism, working in partnership with software development firms.

Learning Objectives
  1. What are the best practices for educators and businesses to work together to help adults with autism achieve post-secondary success in emerging fields
  2. How to make new learning modules more accessible to students with autism to develop skills and models of self-determination.
  3. How to utilize blended learning to leverage the strengths of adults with autism to support success in the high-tech industry.
  • Kim Tagge, Director, nonPareil Institute
  • Adam Kulaas, Director, Getting Smart
  • Gary Moore, Co-Founder, President & CEO, nonPareil Institute
  • Lisa Marie Coates, Special Education Teacher Leader, Chesterfield County Public Schools

and Partner Sessions

Here are a few more sessions you’ll want to check out and give a thumbs up. Are we missing some? Add them in the comments below, and don’t forget to include a link!

Blended Badges: Digital + In Person Experiences

  • Girlie Delacruz, Senior Research Associate, LRNG
  • Devin Young, Co-Founder & President, Classcraft
  • Rebecca Wolfe, Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future
  • David Mabry, Youth Ambassador, LRNG

Designing the Next Super School 

Change Management Through Empathy

  • Kenneth Tam, Executive Director of Personalized Learning and Assessment, Curriculum Associates

Designing Games That Go Beyond Just Practice

  • Jacob Klein, Director of Learning Games, Curriculum Associates

Opportunity Wrangling for Equity

  • Neva Geisler, Opportunity Wrangler, One Stone

To Design for Youth, Design with Youth

  • Nancy Chou, Learning Designer, LRNG
  • Amber Anderson, Youth Ambassador, LRNG
  • Antonio Tijerino, CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation

Project Good: A Toolkit for World Changing

  • Ruby Berliner, Student Board Member, One Stone
  • Jackson McEwan, Chair of the Board of Directors, One Stone

Building Equitable Education Ecosystems

  • Connie Yowell, CEO, Collective Shift/LRNG
  • Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director, National Writing Project

What’s in It for Me? The Power of Projects.

  • Brandon Wiley, Chief Program Officer, Buck Institute for Education

For more on SXSWedu and other professional development information/opportunities, check out:

Stay in-the-know with all things edtech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures, please see our Partner page.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

1 Comment

Erik Day

Also check out a panel from NAF called "Creating a Highly Skilled and Diverse Workforce"--sure to be some interesting ideas there:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.