SXSW EDU: Six Must-Attend Panels

Feb 14, 2020 Lisa van der Pool

Equity, social emotional learning (SEL) and wellness and innovation will take center stage at this year’s SXSW EDU festival in Austin, Texas on March 9. The 10th anniversary of the education conference will feature miriad panels and sessions aimed at discussing the most pressing issues in education today. Topics that will be tackled this year include solving the lack of equity in schools, examining innovative ways of teaching SEL skills to our youngest learners and discussing higher education’s massive equity problem. 

InkHouse’s education practice will be attending SXSW EDU this year. Here, we look ahead to six can’t-miss panels and  sessions discussing the most pressing issues and topics in education today. 

SXSW Keynotes:  Every day at SXSW EDU kicks off with a high-octane key note featuring  important voices in education, including innovators, journalists and influencers. Here are two we’re particularly interested in seeing:

2020 Census: One of the biggest issues in education in 2020 is the anticipated census undercount, which is expected to have a negative impact on school funding across the country. SXSW panel, the “Devastating Impact of a 2020 Census Undercount,” features U.S. News & World Report education journalist Lauren Camera; Beth Lynk of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Nora Gordan of the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University; and Mohammed Choudhury of San Antonia ISD, and will explore why and what school officials and educators can do about the effects of the expected undercount of kids.

How Can We Fix Higher Ed? Does college still work? It’s a practical question many are asking across the country in the wake of the Varsity Blues scandal.  Liz Willen, editor-in-chief of the Hechinger Report has reported on the issue extensively and will explore the topic during “The Inequality Machine” along with author Paul Tough. The two will discuss whether our system of higher education is fair and how we can help more young Americans achieve success.

Helping Incarcerated Learners: How to educate the millions of prisoners in the U.S. is a growing hot-button issue in education. That’s because we know that incarcerated individuals who get education behind bars are “up to 43 percent less likely to reoffend.” “Unlocking Opportunity for Incarcerated Learners,” on March 9 features Erica Green, education reporter at the New York Times; Chris Wilson of Master Plan; Elizabeth Glazer, director NYC Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, and Arti Finn of American Prison Data Systems. 

Social Emotional Learning: SEL and how to teach kids soft skills like kindness, empathy and emotional intelligence is a major topic in schools today. InkHouse client HMH’s session, “A New ‘Whole Child” Era: Creating SEL Ecosystems” explores ways to provide concrete guidance for creating an SEL ecosystem that incorporates input from all relevant stakeholders and ensures all student needs are met. The session features: Steve Arrowood, senior director of professional learning, International Center For Leadership In Education (Icle);  Stephanie Jones, professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; Weston Kieschnic, associate partner, International Center For Leadership In Education (Icle), Venola Mason, senior fellow, International Center For Leadership In Education (Icle) and Avis Williams, superintendent of the Selma City Schools in Alabama. 

The Future: Everyone can agree young people are the future of our education system.  On March 11, SXSW will hold the sixth annual Student Startup Competition. This event provides students with an opportunity to showcase their business ideas and gain important experience. Students will be invited to present their business ideas to a panel of industry experts and the live SXSW EDU audience. The five startups that have been selected as finalists  this year include: Amity Connections, Barronsol, MODAP, Seeing for the Blind and Solis UVC Purification.

The 10th Anniversary of SXSW EDU has a rich selection of panels and sessions that will shine a light on education’s most pressing issues of the day. Check back here next week for what attending journalists are looking forward to at the event.

Topics: Education, Higher Education, Education PR, sxsw
Lisa van der Pool

As a vice president at InkHouse, Lisa shapes the strategy across a variety of accounts, while running campaigns and media trainings, and creating content.

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