Classroom Technology

From ChatGPT to Digital Equity: What to Expect at SXSW EDU Conference

By Lauraine Langreo — March 01, 2023 2 min read
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From the use of artificial intelligence to efforts to improve digital equity, technology use in K-12 schools has taken some big twists and turns over the past few years. To address those changes, some of the sessions at this year’s SXSW EDU conference in Austin will explore how emerging technologies—such as the metaverse and artificial intelligence—will affect instruction.

There are also sessions at the March 6-9 conference that will focus on how schools can ensure digital equity and inclusion, how to design game-based learning, and how to protect student data.

Here are five Education Week stories that should help prepare you for the ed-tech challenges ahead, all of which will be explored during the conference:

1. New York City Blocks ChatGPT at Schools. Should Other Districts Follow?

ChatGPT, the artificial intelligence-powered tool that can mimic human writing, is one of the hottest topics in education right now. Ever since it was released late last year, educators have worried about a new kind of high-tech plagiarism. Other educators have scrutinized flaws in the platform, such as that it can’t create content based on current events and is prone to regurgitating factual inaccuracies. Some school districts—such as New York City, the country’s largest system—have banned it on district-issued devices. But is that the right thing to do?

2. All That Ed Tech Schools Bought During the Pandemic Won’t Improve Equity. Here’s Why

The pandemic prompted new and greater use of technology in classrooms. The assumption among many ed-tech proponents is that the influx will improve equity issues. But to really gauge the impact of new school technology on equity, experts said, we must also look at elements such as product design, teacher training, and organizational capacity, as well as the potential downsides that come with more technology.

3. Schools Are Spending Big Bucks on Online Tutoring. Here’s What They’ve Learned

For many districts that were unable to provide their own in-person tutoring services because of staffing shortages, online tutoring has been a logical investment to deal with students’ unfinished learning due to the pandemic. Many districts used their ESSER funds to pay for online tutoring services, but are they actually working? Some district leaders have found themselves altering their virtual tutoring strategy to make it more effective for students.

4. Video Games Could Actually Be Good for Kids’ Brains, Study Finds

A recent scientific study suggests that video gaming may be associated with better cognitive performance in children. Published in the JAMA Network Open journal, the study of nearly 2,000 children, ages 9 and 10, found that those who reported playing video games for three hours per day or more performed better on cognitive skills tests involving impulse control and working memory compared with those who had never played video games.

5. What Educators Need to Know About Ed-Tech Companies’ Data Privacy Policies

Parents’ and educators’ concerns about data privacy have increased as K-12 districts rely more on digital tools. And now that cyberattacks are a daily threat for schools, it’s even more important that they ensure all their data is secure and that any new or existing digital tools they use have good privacy policies. A student data privacy expert outlines what district leaders should look for in an ed-tech company’s privacy policy.


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