SXSWEDU is one of my favorite conferences to go to. It is the intersection of current events and trends, culture, and education and has the pulse of K-12 educators, higher ed, politics, and software/hardware industries.
SXSWEDU is different from many of the conferences that I attend in that it is more about big ideas and large scale practices rather than quick tools that you can use in your classroom tomorrow. That being said, there was lots to be learned and shared, and the 7 things I list below are worth checking out and investigating further. 😏
- No Tech4U – Students’ Stories of Tech Abstinence: Joan Hughes Ph.D., UT Austin associate professor, and Hsiao-Ping Hsu, UT Austin Ph.D. candidate, shared their research from their 24 hour tech abstinence challenge. They talked about 8 storylines of awareness that emerged (e.g. FOMO, Relationship Breaker, Relationship Connector, Real-Life Blocker, Personal Assistant, Distraction, Addiction, and Educational Benefit). I can’t do this session justice in a bullet point so I highly advise you to visit their session resources, slide deck, and research paper. (Link to slide deck / Link to everything) The full podcast of the session is also available! (Link to podcast)
- The Aerodynamics of Exceptional Schools: I have been a fan of Jennifer Gonzalez and her “Cult of Pedagogy” for some time now. In fact, I even highlight her work in my first book Cultivating Communication in the Classroom. Her keynote did not disappoint. It really addressed how to make progress and overcome negativity and self-doubt. She used a 9 step plan (e.g. take a breath, find allies, set precise goals, expect bumps, invite, validate, be transparent, praise, and dig deep). You know I love metaphors and visual literacy and this keynote brought it all. The full keynote is available here. (Link to SXSWEDU keynote)
- Dial Down the Stress Without Dumbing Down School: This session included Denise Pope Ph.D., author of Overloaded and Underprepared, and Ian Kelleher Ph.D., The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. If you are looking to use research-based and informed strategies with your students, this blog is for you! (Link to blog). This session was also recorded and the podcast is lined. (Link to podcast)
- Building Empathy Through Storytelling: 826 National and the Cartoon Network partnered to focus on SEL writing prompts that focus on a wide variety of topics. The site offers sparks, lessons, projects, and exemplars and you can sort by grade level and type of writing). You do have to create an account to access the resources and while they are FREE, there is the ability to offer an optional donation in exchange for using the resources if you choose to do so. (Link to resources)
- U Good? Empowering Students to Manage Chronic Stress: This session was put on by the American Public Health Association’s Center for School Health and Education. They had a lot of practical ideas for navigating this topic. The full podcast of the session is also available. (Link to podcast). My favorite part was the student created music video that tackled the topic of gun violence. The trailer for this video is posted here. I am told the full length video should be up soon.
- Reconstruction: America After the Civil War: This was by far one of my favorite SXSWEDU experiences. Henry Louis Gates Jr., documentarian extraordinaire, and Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS, talked about the upcoming 4 hour documentary “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” which will air April 9th and 16th. Henry stated that the documentary would be a nuanced and balanced story using testimonies from 44 historians. His goal was not to preach propaganda but to get people to think. The 60 minute SXSWEDU keynote by the same name gives you an idea of what is to come. (Link to SXSWEDU Keynote) I should also mention that the podcast version of this talk is also available. (Link to podcast)
- Communities in Schools Mosaic Challenge: As you know, I love art and mixed media and writing. And when you bring all of these things together to promote awareness, you have a recipe to understand “the challenges and triumphs students across America experience every day.” What We Are Made Of is a mosaic portrait series. Each art piece tells a story of success and struggle through the objects included. This is another one that I won’t do justice for with my words alone SO PLEASE HEAD ON OVER TO THE SITE NOW! (Link to site).
But Wait… There’s More
Trying to keep this post short and sweet BUT if conference recaps totally float your boat, I do have a few more housed here.