I would describe SXSW Edu as the educator's place to be where innovation and technology intersect, which was my first time attending SXSW Edu, and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of the conference. From power walking from session to session to drinking lots of coffee and taking copious notes from the great workshops.
Designing Your Own Learning App
The session on developing your learning app was informative and insightful. Participants had the opportunity to create a wireframe for a learning app through a six-step process that incorporated learning problem exploration and analysis; learning sciences consultation; prototyping; and user testing, based on a learner chosen from a set of cards. My learner was a college freshman student named Pedro, no I am not making it up, who was easily bored, hard worker, and needed to find a major. The app I created for Pedro was based on the search for the right major and career that fit his strengths and on the path to graduate from college in four years.
Let’s Go Open
The workshop was about the Department of Education – Educational Technology Office initiative on GoOpen, which is getting school districts to implement open education resources such as textbooks in the classroom. I was left with wondering why can’t universities have a national initiative to push for open-education textbooks on campus. I know that some campuses are doing it, but there should be a leader taking charge, so there are assistance and shared goals. It seems that higher education is taking a backseat to open education resources.
Design + Leadership
The workshop was human-centered design mixed with leadership. The room was packed, but half way into the session people left either because they didn’t like it or had to work, which was true for almost all the workshops I attended. I got to experience what a human-centered design workshop is all about. There was some confusion as to how a human-centered design works in the school setting, but by the end, participants helped each other out figure out how to HCD works.
One of my last sessions was insightful and helpful, storyboard. The workshop helped me put together a storyboard for a course I am developing, Analyze your Personal Budget. The thing about storyboarding is that it allows you to draw out your classroom both from the student and instructor perspective that way you can see what your missing, and is easy to think about it on your heads but once put on paper the class makes more sense.
Learning resources from workshops:
Making long-term memories in minutes: a spaced learning pattern from memory research in education
The Pen is mightier than the keyboard: advantages of longhand over laptop note taking
Cornell Notetaking Method
The Testing Effect: Illustrating a fundamental concept and changing study strategies
Quizzing in Middle-School Science: Successful Transfer Performance on Classroom Exams
There were plenty of great workshops I attended but I highlighted some key ones that helped me shape course ideas for the near future. If you have not attended SXSW Edu I highly encourage you to do so next year. Did I mention the conference takes place in Austin, Texas?