The annual Austin education conference focusing on innovation and rethinking education in the U.S. will put a bigger spotlight on early education this year than it has in the past.
From the two sessions I counted last year to the 12 early learning events on this year’s SXSWedu schedule, the shift is notable. There’s even to be a five-hour “Summit” featuring local and national policy leaders, as well as people from the “play products” industry (yep, that would be “toys”), museums, and a few research outfits.
In addition to the summit, there’s a whole session just on research, another on what we know about kids learning from TV, one on how to teach them to be “big thinkers,” and (because this is SXSWedu) one on creating a “fab lab” for preschoolers. I had to look up what a fab lab was. It’s a “maker space that use digital design and fabrication (e.g. laser cutters and 3D printers) to build STEM skills and creativity.” I’m also moderating a panel on what K-12 leaders and teachers might learn from the way early educators conduct.
I’ll be in Austin next week and will get to as many early-ed. sessions as I can, so look for a recap of what I learn soon. You can also follow me on @lrmongeau and @HechingerReport for live coverage of the events I make it to.
Any questions I should be asking the experts, thinkers, reformers, teachers and researchers I’m bound to meet? Comment below and I’ll take your question with me!
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.