Classroom Technology Opinion


By Tom Vander Ark — March 07, 2014 2 min read
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It’s a big bustling conference stretching over four days with with lots of hangouts, receptions, and announcements. It’s not mission-focused and coherent
(e.g., better blended and online learning) like an iNACOL event; there’s a stronger startup culture than at an ISTE event; there are more teachers than at
ASU, but some of it (i.e., keynote choices) like Austin, were just weird. Oh, and it was cold, like freezing rain cold.

is the first of the spring EdTech trifecta. A half a dozen of the Getting Smart team braved the cold for the queso
and kicked out 10 blogs and hundreds of tweets.

In the opening slot, Alex Hernandez, Charter School Growth Fund, and I kicked of our annual Investing in Education Innovation workshop. “There’s never been
a better time to be an entrepreneur,” said Alex. We crowdsourced some trends and commented on two dozen pitches as Edupreneurs took a dip in the Dolphin Tank (and kinder gentler Shark

While SXSWedu was warming up we heard from Susan Patrick of iNACOL, National Teacher of the Year, Jeff Charbonneau and college and career readiness expert David Conley.

With Digital Learning Now and The Learning Accelerator, we hosted a school design workshop where teams cooked up a few Blended Learning Recipes. Check out this live report from high school junior Brianna Soliz.

Our Wednesday coverage highlighted David Coleman, College Board, who said, “that for students to write with care, is perhaps the single most preparation for
college, career and future work.” US EdTech Director Richard Culatta pitched ConnectED. Wendy Kopp pitched Teach For All. Clay Whitehead pitched individualization for students
with special needs.

In the SXSWedu Wrap John Bailey, Rosario Dawson, Anil Dash and Charlie Firestone from the
Aspen Task Force discussed digital literacy and safety. Jessica Rosenworcel recapped FCC plans to update
E-rate. Three CEE-Trust members discussed A Collaborative Approach to Transforming Your City.

Many of the sessions were very traditional and really boring--panel of four with table top microphones. The organizers should read my recent post on Designing Powerful Learning Experiences. It’s time to flip and blend

EdTech Selfie.
Caryn Voskuil, from Rocketship Education, at the LaunchEDU awards said SXSWedu was “a big EdTech selfie.” There are a lot of announcements--we recapped the
big ones in EdTech10 and outlined

10 Things You’ll Like About The Amplify Middle Grade ELA Curriculum


The best part of this conference (like most) is the lobby conversations with passionate and talented educators and entrepreneurs. Here’s a recap of 110 Interesting Edupreneurs at SXSW.

Digital Learning Now is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner. Tom is a Director at iNACOL.

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The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.