Vote for Digital Promise’s SXSW and SXSW EDU 2018 Session Ideas - Digital Promise

Vote for Digital Promise’s SXSW and SXSW EDU 2018 Session Ideas

August 11, 2017 | By

Every day at Digital Promise, we work with leading educators, researchers, and developers across the country to help close the Digital Learning Gap and improve learning for all. Through this work, we see powerful examples of innovation across education — from students creating their own virtual reality (VR) films, to researchers working with technology developers to improve edtech efficacy, to educators rethinking their own professional development with the use of micro-credentials.

We hope to share some of these examples at the SXSW and SXSW EDU conferences in March 2018 – but first, we need your help.

This year, Digital Promise has proposed a record 15 (!) panels at SXSW and SXSW EDU that are up for voting. Anyone can vote for a proposed panel through SXSW’s PanelPicker process, whether you plan to attend the conference or not, once you create a free PanelPicker account.

Take a look below at our proposed sessions, and click each link to vote now through August 25, 2017. We’re excited for the opportunity to spread the word of what’s happening – and what’s possible – in education.


VR for Good – Can “Cause-Based” VR Save Us?
Advances in technology and hardware have reinvigorated interest and experimentation in immersive video. And, in turn, have brought expensive, unremarkable and generally forgettable projects. In this panel, innovators of cause-based VR from education, medical, journalism and marketing fields will debate whether using VR to help others is the way forward.

Let’s stop making VR just for the sake of making VR, and find purpose for the immersive experiences we are creating. Let’s use VR for good.


$100,000 Pyramid: Maker Research Edition
Interested in the latest research in maker education, but don’t want to sit through a boring panel? Come and have fun with the $100,000 Pyramid Game: Maker Research Edition. We will team up to guess research trends and key findings in maker education. Pyramid categories will include approaches to making, issues of equity and sustainability in maker education, and tools and materials of makers. You won’t win $100,000, but you will walk away with research-supported recommendations for maker ed!

Applying Research to Truly Personalize Learning
One critical aspect of personalized learning is too often missing: the use of learning sciences research to best understand and reach each learner. Technology can make this growing body of research accessible and practical so developers and educators can use it to truly support the full diversity of learners. In this session, participants will explore a new way to use the latest research in K-3 math and reading to understand strategies for reaching all learners in the classroom and with edtech.

Bridging the Digital Divide with Anytime/Anywhere
Looking to bridge the Digital Divide, education has embraced personal devices through one-to-one initiatives, yet this does not address the lack of access for low-income students at home. This panel brings together the leaders of the Verizon Innovative Learning School (VILS) program to discuss how they have successfully leveraged the 1:1 model in conjunction with student data plans for low-income middle schools.

Can Students Create VR? Short Answer: Yes!
Human trafficking, social anxiety, immigration, gentrification, global citizenship: these are just a few of the immersive experiences produced by high school students in 360 Filmmakers Challenge, designed to inspire the next generation of virtual reality creators. Join us to see how young people can be more than consumers of virtual reality, and to learn methods to empower students as producers of immersive experiences that make an impact.

Competency-based Learning In Your District
Though they have similar goals, school districts across the country take a broad range of approaches to competency-based education (CBE). Some start with pilots to show proof points, and others begin with community engagement to generate support. Is there a right way to approach CBE? Digital Promise and Education Elements collaborated to catalog key CBE choices with over 20 school districts this school year in an online playbook. Come hear their stories and learn which approach is right for you.

Edtech Efficacy Research #ShowTheEvidence
School leaders continue to report difficulty finding reliable evidence about ed tech efficacy. In May 2017, the Ed Tech Efficacy Research Academic Symposium convened nearly 300 stakeholders that rarely collaborate in support of education technology: academic researchers; entrepreneurs; district and university leaders; investors and philanthropists; and teachers and professors. Come hear about the progress and contribute to the cross-sector solutions in progress at this interactive panel.

Empowering 50,000 Students by Deploying 1-1 iPads
The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Initiative directed by Digital Promise has provided 50,000 4G LTE iPads to middle school students and teachers since 2014. In this session, team members will share the best practices implemented in schools across America and the lessons learned from this work. Schools who are exploring 1-1 mobile devices will learn about the essential elements of starting and sustaining a 1-1 initiative.

Experiment & Iterate: Adult Learners & EdTech
Our work with educators working with adult learners has led to defining one key factor for successful technology implementations: experimenting and iterating. This panel will be an open discussion with adult educators and product developers who will share the process of experimenting and iterating as well as stories about their successes, their challenges, and their learnings.

Leadership Competencies for Engaged Learners
Gone is the default image of a teacher — lecturing to students seated in rows and assigning the same work to everyone. But PD opportunities rarely foster the mindsets and skills that teachers and education leaders need to actualize a learner-centered vision for education. In this session, we’ll discuss and apply professional competencies required of next gen educators and explore new tools to design the high-quality professional learning that teachers need to build a learner-centered environment.

Maker Learning and School Leadership
The future sustainability of maker learning programs in K-12 depends on administrators getting involved and making systemic changes to schools. This panel discussion features school and district leaders who are integrating maker learning and using it as a means to build community, change instructional practice, and redesign school. Administrators share their struggles and successes, and the ways that a sense of “maker empowerment” has affected the way they approach their work.

Making Media, Making Identity
Pick your stereotype: dangerous inner cities, immigrant criminals, coastal elites, radical terrorists. How can educators best help students build confidence and resilience in the face of media misrepresentation? This session makes the case that through creating media, young people can build their identities around what they make and who they are — not what they see. Panelists will share varied perspectives on the power of reflective engagement with self to resist misrepresentation.

Putting Learning Science Research to Work
How can the science of learning, which is often inaccessible and difficult to apply in real-world settings, help inform the design of innovative educational programs and practices? In this interactive session, panelists will discuss ongoing efforts to change the relationship between learning research and teaching practice, and share their first-hand experience collaboratively implementing science of learning principles to support teaching and learning.

Student Tech Teams Supporting 1-1 iPad Deployments
Verizon Innovative Learning Schools initiative directed by Digital Promise provides students and teachers with iPads and LTE data, empowering them to be content creators, adept problem-solvers, and responsible consumers of digital media. Student tech teams are key to the initiative, giving them ownership and a chance to lead others. Student techs support this project in many ways, from prepping new iPads to running a helpdesk. In this session, tech team students will share their experiences.

What’s Innovative in K-12 Public Schools?
What are the most innovative things happening in America’s public schools? How are district leaders adopting technology in schools to better support student learning? Join members of the League of Innovative Schools, a network of forward-thinking superintendents in the country, in discussing how they create cultures in their districts that leverage technology, research, and partnerships to provide valuable learning experiences for all students. Participants will walk away with new ideas!

Sign Up For Updates! Sign Up For Updates

Sign up for updates!