SXSW EDU 2012 was a great adventure.
I learned so much.
My top favorite sessions were:
-- Peter Nilsson's Taxonomy of Creative work and
-- Jane McGonigal's Learning as an Epic Win.
I will go back next year for sure.
1. Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, the nation's first professional
learning community for school district leaders discussed enhancing the
4C's: critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.
2. Turning STEM to STEAM (Art education) in Modern Curriculum
Speakers from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Exploratorium.
In order to foster a strong future workforce who develop ideas that
will grow and sustain our national economy, we need to start at the
elementary level, using art and design to develop those
harder-to-measure but immeasurably vital critical thinking, critical
making and creative leadership skills that will lead to an enlightened
form of innovation. We can begin to do this within the current
curriculum if STEAM is recognized as a priority on the national level.
3. 21 Ways to Integrate Social Media Into Your Class
What is social media and how to develop instructional strategies using
social media for teaching. Social Media implementations to increase
productivity as a teacher. How to redesign assignments in ways that
increases and assesses critical thinking skills in students.
4. Pflugerville's Award Winning Game Design Program
What is the optimal pedagogy for incorporating game design into a high
school curriculum? How can game design play a role in Career Technical
Education (CTE)? Panelists discussed findings from a pilot study at
Connally High School (Pflugerville ISD, TX), examining learning and
motivation across a 1 year course in Game Design. The course
instructor, David Conover, is a 2011 Adobe Impact Teacher
award-winner. Conover gave a first hand account of designing and
implementing a 4 year game design curriculum; including potential
outcomes, necessary resources, and best practices. Findings are
limited to this case-study; however, results from qualitative and
quantitative data was discussed along with suggested approaches for
implementing a game-design curriculum and potential outcomes on
learning and motivation.
Keynote: LeVar Burton
He cited his experiences with science fiction and his stints on “Star
Trek: The Next Generation& and Roots as catalysts for his message:
Tell great stories. The words “creativity and inspiration repeatedly
came up as he reflected on his career in Hollywood and exposure to
1. Social Media Research Practice in Higher Ed
The Thinking Social panel included administrators, instructors, and
researchers. This panel was an overview of research and best practices
regarding the use of social media in student affairs, university
marketing, and the college classroom. Questions included issues of
social media management, integration in the curriculum, assessment
results, and areas for future research.
2. Creativity in Education: Promoting Innovative Work
What is the curriculum for creativity?
An excess of critical thinking in our classrooms and we create mere analysts.
An excess of creativity and we risk fostering sensation without sense.
Harnessing both, this talk tackled meaningful creativity in education
drawing on a range of research, history, and theory, across
disciplines and sectors, and captured what is concretely useful to
teachers and administrators alike. Ultimately, just as Bloom's
Taxonomy of Educational Objectives synthesized a host of other
educational sources, this talk offered a Taxonomy of Creative Design,
a synthesis that breaks new ground by clarifying and making concrete
an otherwise subjective and often imprecise topic.
This was the most useful talk of the whole conference for me.
Peter Nilsson's Taxonomy of Creative Design at SXSW EDU 2012 Austin, TX
3. Using Free Google Tools to Make Learning Magical
This session provided a slew of new ideas for how to use free
technologies to help students discover, connect and love learning.
Tips from educators and Googlers in two areas: (1) How to make
learning magic for students: ideas for the classroom and student
programs offered by Google. (2) How to use free tools like Google
Earth, Maps, Search, Translate, and A Google A Day in the classroom.
4. KIPP: Beyond Z
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is on a mission to develop in
underserved students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and
qualities of character necessary to succeed at all levels of
pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and the competitive
world beyond. Mike Feinberg, KIPP's Co-Founder, described the lessons
learned from KIPP's 18 years of helping underserved children prepare
to go to and through college and how these lessons apply to all of our
5. Keynote: Marjorie Scardino
Extraordinary things can happen if you take a radical, creative
approach, and the corollary, it probably won't happen if you don't she
said. Instead of worrying about what can go spectacularly wrong, think
about what can go spectacularly right. Calculate the rewards of what
would happen if you took a creative chance.
1. Game Design: The ABCs of Keeping Students Engaged
What do you get with you combine elementary, middle, and a high school
students, three very enthusiastic teachers, a visionary Instructional
Technology Coordinator, an Austin educational nonprofit and a global
high tech corporation? A cutting edge program that keeps students
engaged as they learn about social issues through video game
development and in the process enhance STEM skills.
Jane McGonigal kindly poses with Honoria at SXSWedu 2012 at the book signing for Reality is Broken.
2. Learning is an Epic Win
Why don't our learning platforms work more like a game? In the best
designed games, our engagement is perfectly optimized: we have
important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and
we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment. When we're playing a
good online game, we get constant useful feedback, we turbo-charge the
neurochemistry that makes challenge fun, and we feel an insatiable
curiosity about the world around us. None of this is by accident. In
fact, game developers have spent the past three decades figuring out
how to make us more optimistic and more likely to collaborate, how to
make problem-solving more fun and social, and how to satisfy our
hunger for meaning and success. All of these game-world insights can
be applied directly to transform the way we learn, solve problems
together, and develop 21st Century skills; in this talk, Dr. McGonigal
will show us how.
3. Keynote: Arne Duncan Secretary of Education
"Education is also the civil rights issue of our generation," he said,
"the only sure path out of poverty and the only way to achieve a more
equal and just society." Duncan expressed his commitment to work under
the leadership of President Obama and with all those involved in
education "to enhance education in America, to lift our children and
families out of poverty, to help our students learn to contribute to
the civility of our great American democracy, and to strengthen our
economy by producing a workforce that can make us as competitive as