Last week, I traveled to Austin, TX for SXSWedu – an amazing conference that brings together the latest in education technology and the teachers who employ these tools in their schools and classrooms.
I had the opportunity to attend informative sessions, talk with ed-tech innovators, and check out some of the local attractions. Also, I met some great bloggers and writers, including Frank Catalano (@frankcatalano), Kevin Hogan (editorial director at Tech & Learning magazine), Betsy Corcoran (co-founder of EdSurge), and Audrey Watters (writer/owner of Hack Education).
- Steve Hargadon (of Classroom 2.0) led a panel discussion on teachers’ use of technology. Stephanie Sandifer emphasized that, now, teachers have the ability to connect and collaborate on content, tools, assessment, and more beyond the school walls and state lines.
- Storm Gloor, who was kind enough to post his crowd-sourcing results and presentation here, highlighted both the pros and cons of certain mobile apps. He also touched on these apps’ longevity in an ever-changing and ever-more-competitive mobile world.
- Collaboration was a key topic, especially among the presentations given by Texas educators. Project Share, a collection of Web 2.0 tools and applications, is being used by middle schools throughout the state to help teachers learn about and share new tools for the classroom.
- John Boyer explained how he uses web-based tools to conduct classes of more than 3000 students; his tools included video pod casts, graphic novels, film, Facebook, Twitter, Poll Everywhere, and Ustream.
- Neeru Khosla of the CK-12 Foundation discussed the low-cost content, rich in multimedia and aligned to standards, that her organization provides to educators. Teachers can edit and customize the content to create their own “flexbooks” that meet their class’s needs or even one student’s needs.
And even after all of that, I had some time to check out Austin. It would not have been a trip to Texas without some local food: I went to Ironworks for some BBQ, Frank for a “Chicago Dog” (I was good and skipped the waffle fries), and some fajitas at a local tex-mex restaurant. I even found some time to (almost) perfect my shuffleboard technique at Buffalo Billiards!
As I reflect on my time in Austin, I am reminded that we must continue to engage teachers in conversations around education technology. Here at StudyBlue, I will continue to reach out and collaborate with teachers from around the world to ensure students have every opportunity to learn efficiently, anywhere, anytime. As always, do not hesitate to email me if you have any thoughts or questions: zach (at) studyblue (dot) com.