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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thoughts on Two Days at SXSWedu

Used With Permission
     Just finished the inaugural edition of SXSWedu and I've really enjoyed myself.  There were some great, and not so great, speakers and panels but that's what you expect when you come to one of these events.  What was unique about this conference was that it was in it's first year and there were several hundred people in attendance.

     I mean, who even heard about this conference?  Who pushed it out there for people to sign up?  Certainly it was very low key in Central Texas and no one I knew was walking around saying, "are you going to SXSWedu?"  But that's the topic of a previous post. 

     In talking with people on the Advisory Board I learned that this is not the flavor that they envision in future SXSWedu's.   This conference needed to feature the Texas Education Association's (TEA) Project Share which meant that there were more tech panels than what we might see next year.  It is the hopes of the organizers that we see various strands, including tech, in future conferences so that there is a more well rounded list of panels.

    One of the things I brought up in my last post was changing the date of this event.  But, again after discussions with people, it became clear that this conference is NOT intended to compete with TCEA.  It will remain in this time frame so that those educators interested in attending SXSWi can stay in town and do both conferences.  That will give techies a chance to either do TCEA or SXSWi (or both if they're rich or live near central Texas).

    So, what did I get out of this conference?  The main thing I learned about was what the organizers at TEA had hoped for; lots of information about Project Share.  I am now a believer and I went so far as to set up a date for our Region XIII representative to come by and train our teachers on the basics of Project Share.  It really is that good and really does have incredible potential for our teachers and students.