Where to Be During SXSW EDU 2019

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.

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. We also encourage you to check out the featured speaker line up and sessions for this year’s conference. There are a ton of great educators coming to share their experiences and best practices and help push all of our thinking toward what a new future of learning will look like.

For the second consecutive year, we’re excited to be a SXSW EDU media partner. We’d love to meet up while we’re there, but if you can’t make it to Austin, stay tuned to Twitter (@Getting_Smart), we’ll be on the ground live reporting and can’t wait to share what we learn.

You can also follow along on our Team’s social handles. Here’s who you’ll see in Austin:

Monday, March 4th

Life Beyond the Diploma: Adults with Autism

When: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 10C


  • Adam Kulaas, Director of Learning Design, Getting Smart
  • Gary More, Co-Founder, President & CEO, nonPareil Institute
  • Lisa Marie Coates, Special Education Teacher Leader, Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Kim Tagge, Director, nonpareil Institute

What: 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.

Revolutionizing Edtech with Interoperability

When: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 11AB


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

What: 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.

Tuesday, March 5th

Building Student Agency Through the Power of Place

When: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K


  • Emily Liebtag, Director of Advocacy, Getting Smart
  • Nate McClennen, VP of Education & Innovation, Teton Science Schools

What: 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.

Wednesday, March 6th

Collaborate vs Compete: Sustaining via Networks

When: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon H


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

What: 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.

Better Together Book Signing

When: 12:30 PM – 1:00 PM

Where: Austin Convention Center, Atrium Landing on Level 3


  • Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Getting Smart
  • Lydia Dobyns, President & CEO, New Tech Network

What: Grab your copy of Better Together: How to Leverage School Networks For Smarter Personalized and Project Based Learning and get it freshly signed by Tom and Lydia!

Thursday, March 7th

Building Talent Pipelines Through City Ecosystems

When: 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Where: Hilton Austin Downtown, Salon K


  • Tom Vander Ark, CEO, Getting Smart
  • Connie Yowell, CEO, LRNG
  • Paul LeBlanc, President, Southern New Hampshire University
  • Rob English, CCO, Friends At Work

What: We live in a time of rapid change. How the next generation learns, expresses themselves, socially and civically engage and what motivates them is shifting dramatically. Join this workshop to explore new approaches to building talent pipelines designed with the city as the core unit rather than educational institutions alone. We will be joined by civic and higher ed leaders as well as entertainment and design experts to discuss creating workforce solutions for the 21st century.

Other Sessions Worth Checking Out

Here are a few more we’ll be sending our team to! We think you’ll want to check them out too.

Keep your eye on @Getting_Smart and @SXSWEDU for highlights and links to other fun events happening in Austin next week!

Stay in-the-know with innovations in learning by signing up for 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.

Jessica Slusser

Jessica is the Senior Director of Impact at Getting Smart. She leads business development and growth of advocacy campaigns, advisory services, product development, marketing, and Getting Smart's blog. As part of her role, Jessica also oversees team events, conferences, and speaking engagements.

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