Our Picks for ‘Must See’ Sessions at SXSWedu
Too much good stuff. It’s hard to choose and lord knows, we’ll be scrambling to just keep up with our own crammed schedule, but here is our list of must-see sessions this week. Ecosystems, and big data seem to be a major theme for this year’s conference… a topic which hits close to home. This is our first SXSWedu ever, so if you see us, please stop us and introduce yourself. We’re SXSWedu noobs and need friends :)
Edtech enthusiasts love new ideas and are happy to suffer through the fits and starting characteristics of many emerging startups, but the same cannot be said for the mainstream educator. With increasing class sizes and less time to discover, learn, and use these new solutions, edtech startups are facing an attention drought that threatens to kill the nascent edtech ecosystem. As the market becomes flooded with new tools, how can startups convince educators to spend their limited time and resources to give their products a chance?
Schools and districts have typically been fortresses against innovation, even when they exist within communities where innovation thrives. Funding in schools is often scarce, yet hundreds of companies and hundreds of millions of dollars are hard at work trying to solve (what they think are) schools’ problems. Entrepreneurs and their investors are often frustrated by a culture they disdain without understanding and educators while educators and elected leaders are wary of spending scarce dollars and political capital on for-profit solutions that don’t address what they see as core problems.
This panel will explore the history and reasons for the apparent disconnect between schools and innovation and show how a few districts are working break it down by creating Innovation Ecosystems in which educators, entrepreneurs, donors, and VCs work nimbly together to enhance the triple-bottom-line.
We believe greater teacher engagement in educational product design will yield more valuable tools (we’ve witnessed as much), but implementation and scale–without which K12 innovation can’t occur–rely on a broader array of stakeholders. We will discuss the stakeholder roles resident in each of these communities, integration with schools as development partners, and the feasibility and implications of a “big tent” approach to ed entrepreneurship.
Finally, we’ll examine why the founders of these models made the decisions they did as architects of their planned communities, what has proven most challenging in their models, and what’s been most successful to date.
We all remember the Dunkin’ Donuts commercial where a sleepy employee rolls out of bed and murmurs, “It’s time to make the donuts.” Every day. Without fail.
Our public education system suffers the same rinse-repeat drudgery. Educators teach to the mean in industrial-age classrooms. Top students are bored; others get left behind. Everyone suffers through standardized tests that are over-valued as measures of success & progress.
Personalized, data-driven education can break the cycle. The data is already there: educators collect troves of it every day. But then it gets stored and siloed. To finally address our national education crisis, we need to put that data to work in classrooms.
Our panel will address 3 topics:
- The current education data landscape
- How well-deigned tools & standardized data can help teachers & kids
- The ways in which standardization opens up the frontier for innovation
Pundits paint a bleak picture of education: low college grad rates, high student debt, and weak market-ready skills. But, imagine if students could plan their education-to-career path with higher chances of success?
Big Data plays a central role in driving this impact. Edtech companies, the government, and NGOs invest significant money to develop comprehensive datasets relevant to learning outcomes like student test scores and teacher quality. Concrete initiatives are emerging that could be early indicators of data’s disruptive impact.
This panel explores how Big Data could change education to improve student achievement. Beginning with a broad vision for Big Data, panelists will dive into concrete models being tested. These include the use of data to recommend a lifetime of “best fit” educational opportunities, dynamic technology tools that can forecast a learner’s education and professional trajectory, and non-profit-driven efforts to unlock public-private synergy.
Data collection is not new. Technology has long allowed us to collect massive amounts of information to spot patterns in learning and help validate effective teaching approaches. Today, however, we are able to collect and analyze data that gives us an incredibly deep view of exactly what students are thinking to the tune of nearly 50,000 data points per hour per student. It allows us to see and better understand students’ natural, independent, and original thinking in real-time. In turn, learning can be personalized to each individual student based on how they think, capturing and refining concepts that build the foundation for long-term academic success. This new class of intelligent adaptive learning technology is the true game changer in education. It learns the learner as the learner learns. Think about it for a few moments. That’s big.
Ed-Tech thought leader Audrey Watters joins us to ‘Hack Education’ across the pond with the former Minister of Education for England, Lord Knight of Weymouth, and the USDOE’s Office of Ed-Tech Deputy Director, Richard Culatta. This powerhouse panel will forecast the international emerging technology developments and how edupreneurs can contribute their ideas to the global marketplace.
This panel will focus on the launch of a cross-sector project to engage leaders in academia, industry, government and philanthropy - devoted to “Building the Field of Learning Analytics for Personalized Learning”. The project is intended to accelerate emergence of an organized community of data scientists devoted to education data and learning analytics. This is a national effort which in its first phase will address 4 foundational questions: (1) define critical questions and provide a conceptual framework for building the field of learning analytics and a new generation of Education Data scientists, (2) articulate and prioritize new tools, approaches, policies, markets, and programs of study associated with the field of learning analytics, (3) determine resources needed to address priorities, and (4) map how to implement the field building strategy and how to evaluate progress.
Successfully navigating the pathway to possibility that is education is becoming a must for individuals, communities, and our country. The data are clear: completing credentials that count—especially at the postsecondary level—opens up opportunities in education, economics, social mobility, and personal efficacy. Given the great need and the flood of education data streaming from next-gen technologies, the question now is can we put analytics to work as we have in the health care, consumer, and social networking worlds to help more striving students succeed? This interactive dialogue with key education analytics thought leaders will explore this question and make the case that more of these efforts need to be focused on getting the power that fuels Mayo Clinic Analytics, Amazon, and eHarmony to students, faculty, and advisors.
Personalizing learning is about maximizing every student’s potential, but how can teachers leverage student data to personalize learning for every student, including those with special challenges in need of an intervention? Come see technology providers demonstrate how inBloom-connected services can support the work teachers do to get the right resources to students and to understand the impact of those resources. See how data helps inform a picture of the whole student and a teacher’s ability to craft a student’s personal learning journey.