Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Education

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • Death of the Textbook, Emergence of Games

    by Alan Gershenfeld, Sara DeWitt and James M. Bower

    Textbooks published on trees are on the way out in Texas, California and the rest of the country and world.

    The Textbook industry is hoping they will be replaced with on-line versions spruced up with animated graphics. However, it is likely that on-line textbooks will be no more successful than magazine advertising that morphed into banner ads. Linear content with multiple choice answers at the end of each chapter, won't work. And as with banner ads, on the Internet you can measure that they don't work.

    What does work? Socially networked GAMES. The question for this panel is whether games will replace traditional educational media, and what those games look like.

    What will the teachers manual look like? How will learning be assessed? What happens to the classroom, or the school itself, when on-line learning is available 24/7? What does the PTA look like if parents can play along with their kids?

    What happens to the distinction between vocational and instructional if playing games is equivalent to performing a virtual job or service? And what happens to the college admission process, if instead of taking a standardized aptitude test, students have been playing a complex game for years. In fact, what happens to colleges and universities where lecture halls still reign supreme?

    There is a revolution underway, driven by kids and the games they play. Will the educational system adapt or die? We will see (and discuss).

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Sabine, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

  • No Child Left Inside: Mobile Tech Meets Education

    by Jared Lamenzo, Juliette Lamontagne, Drew Davidson, Craig Watkins, Richard Scullin and Rebecca Bray

    This panel looks at mobile learning technologies and programs that get students outside, envisioning a classroom framed by the sky, earth, and everything in between. The No Child Left Inside Act (NCLIA) now in Congress seeks to enhance the environmental literacy of K-12 students “to foster understanding, analysis, and solutions to the major environmental challenges” facing the nation. There is a tremendous opportunity to engage young people in science that connects their local environment to global problems, and technology is crucial to effectuate its promise.

    Five hundred million eyes looked on as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon; under NCLIA, with eyes trained on the environment around them, learners could now help address a problem as complex as climate change. By implementing a citizen science-based model that leverages mobile technology, NCLIA could help form a scientifically literate citizenry while researchers explore questions previously unanswerable.

    Richard Louv’s "No Child Left in the Woods" explores how going outside improves the well-being of young people, and fosters what E. O. Wilson has termed “biophilia.” Programs that combine appropriate technologies with outdoor experience can give learners a new point of entry to scientific understanding beyond textbooks, and introduce new modes of assessment beyond standardized tests.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Rio, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

  • The Potential of Augmented Reality for Education

    by Brandon Carson, Brendan Scully, Enzo Silva, Tish Shute and Karen Hamilton

    Augmented Reality (AR) is on the verge of becoming a household name. Even though the concept and technology that make AR possible have been around for quite sometime, the tech-savvy community has been abuzz lately as mobile platforms such as iOS and Android have played a large role in bringing AR to the masses. But what is AR? In a nutshell, AR is a reality or environment that is augmented by layers of computer-generated information. Recent AR technologies have allowed for mobile devices to add layers of reality atop the world we see through our cell phone cameras.

    Several applications such as Layar, AroundMe and others allow users to find and interact with information and other users by simply panning their cell phones around them.

    What are some current examples of AR technologies, applications and potential uses around today? How does this technology affect education? What types of knowledge, community-building activities, contextual and informal learning experiences can be created with AR? How can we use AR to augment learning outcomes and creation of communities of practice? These are just some of the questions we will discuss on this panel.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Rio, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

  • Asleep in the Classroom: A Wake Up Call from Tomorrow

    by Ralph Santana, Jim Shelton, Scott Goldman, Molly Wood and Stacey Childress

    America’s students are bored. According to the Gates Foundation, boredom is the number one reason they give for dropping out of school. How can creativity, innovation and technology address this growing crisis in education? If technology is a driver for shorter attention spans, can it also be the solution to bring back the wonder of education? Can we extend the reach further and engage our students more both inside and outside of the classroom, to reawaken a love of learning?

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Interactive Comics: Techniques to Enhance Math Education

    by John Baird

    Comics have a long history of use in education and promoting understanding in a wide range of topics from English to history to public health. This presentation covers multiple levels of the employment of comics in math education, beginning with simple classroom activities, moving into mathematics pedagogical research methodology, and delving into advanced cognitive research to explore the mechanisms of how comics reinforce instruction. As a teaching tool, comics are inherently well suited for patterns, geometric shapes, and visual representations of data. They can be a form of stealth teaching - engaging students to think creatively about mathematics, helping instill intrinsic motivation and improving long-term retention. Accurate assessment of math attitudes and learning environments is a key challenge in addressing discrepancies in knowledge and performance. Comicvoice, a research method using comics to collect individual perspectives and has demonstrated utility in exploring similar public health topics, has strong applicability to this problem. Navigating the symbolic language of math is a known barrier for many students. Current research into how the brain translates concepts and similarities suggests that comics provide a pathway for alleviating this barrier through the very nature of being “sequential art.” By traversing through each of these stages, a holistic picture of comics’ place in the development of advanced math pedagogical techniques becomes clear.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Rio, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

  • TeenFuture2.0: Technology & Your Child's Future

    by Jennifer Openshaw

    Education is failing our youth - maybe it's your child or teen... or even you. A recent study by the Gates Foundation and Public Agenda found that 67% of youth say their guidance counselor failed them in preparing them for their futures. Today, those graduating face a 29% jobless rate, partly as jobs move overseas. Global issues and global business underscore the need to better prepare our youth.

    What can you do? In this exciting and engaging panel, led by Dow Jones columnist, author, national commentator (Oprah, CNN), and founder of SuperFutures, you'll learn:

    • Where education is headed - new initiatives underway that could transform traditional learning
    • The latest innovations in education using technology
    • Ways to implement social media into your classroom or home to talk connect with your student
    • How technology is being used to move education outside the classroom - to provide practical, real-world learning for your child
    • Where social media and technology is hurting education and your child's future -- and what you can do
    • Why “learning by doing” is becoming critical to your child’s success

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Sabine, Hilton Garden Inn Austin Downtown

Saturday 12th March 2011

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • The End of Reading in the USA

    by Laurence Musgrove

    When education serves the state’s desire for obedience and capitalist consumption, individual freedoms and democratic participation are in danger. This is most evident in the failure of schools to promote the creative and critical literacies students should practice when choosing what and how to read.

    Democratic values are at risk when many students exit the public education system hating reading and unaware of the aesthetic pleasures in literature. My research indicates that reading, at its best, is the cognitive embodiment of individual liberty.

    I ask students to draw a picture of what happens when they read, and these drawings indicate a taxonomy of five metaphors we use when we think and talk about reading, such as “consumption” and “transportation.” At the core of these metaphors is the central metaphor of all reading, “movement.” Thus, if all reading is ultimately about movement, it is also about the freedom to move–that is, the freedom to choose what and how to read.

    However, reading in school is rarely about choice, and with the advent of state-mandated testing, reading is now converted into a chop-shop of isolated bits of knowledge to be consumed and regurgitated on demand.

    My presentation is to be heard as a rallying call to action, a call to take back schools from the testing bureaucrats and return it to teachers who know that reading is the life-blood of democratic life.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 10AB, Austin Convention Center

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Mozilla School of Webcraft @P2PU

    by John Britton

    P2PU School of Webcraft: Web developer training that’s free, open and globally accessible.

    Mozilla and Peer 2 Peer University are creating the P2PU School of Webcraft, a new way to teach and learn web developer skills. Our classes are globally accessible, 100% free, and powered by learners, mentors and contributors like you.

    Our goal is to provide a free pathway to skills and certification to help people build careers on open web technology. Existing developer training is expensive, out of touch, and out of reach. We leverage peer learning powered by mentors and learners like you and self-organized study groups. We use existing open and free learning materials

    In this sixty minute session we'll briefly cover the inception of the Peer 2 Peer University along with details and success stories from the first three cycles of courses. We'll then dive into more detail about our collaboration with Mozilla Drumbeat including Mozilla's mission to engage the next million Mozillians. We'll present the P2PU School of Webcraft, and a case study of courses offered so far, including the first course, 'Mashing Up the Open Web.' Additionally, we'll introduce our plans to separate learning from assessment and our community driven credentialing system.

    At the end of the session we will invite the audience, and all of SXSW, to join a course on open web skills to be offered during the week of the event.

    Read more: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Drumbea...

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Salon K, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage slide deck

  • This is Our Generation: WeOwnTV Sierra Leone

    by Banker White

    In the wake of a destructive 10-year civil war, Sierra Leone is faced with a generation who has lost their families, history and identity–their stories. In this session, Banker White will share how WeOwnTV, a multimedia educational project, is focusing specifically on the artistic and professional development of the youth in Sierra Leone.

    “WeOwnTV” roughly translates into Sierra Leone’s native language, Krio, as “Our Own TV.” Independent media and a thriving artistic culture are important cornerstones for any society to build a peaceful future. Encouraging young people in Sierra Leone to take the lead in their own development and creative exploration is paramount to building a culture of creativity and professionalism from inside the country itself.

    Banker will share highlights of the WeOwnTV curriculum which uniquely focuses on community engagement, while balancing intensive film production and computer skills training with classes on storytelling and self-expression. Ongoing mentorship along with technical assistance, multi-channel distribution and the promotion of finished work enables young adults to share their stories and ideas with the world. The lessons taught and revealed by the young Sierra Leoneans will be appreciated by filmmakers of all levels.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Hill Country CD, Hyatt Regency Austin

  • Beyond the Giant Double Rainbow

    by Chris Walsh

    Technology is often seen as a silver bullet in school reform – and we can talk all day long about how it can open up worlds of learning and blow apart the four walls of the classroom. But the potential for using online tools to transform learning falls apart if you don’t bring the teachers along in the process and adopt a school or district-wide collaborative, transparent culture. In our vision of education, Web 2.0 is more than a set of technology tools with the potential to democratize information. Education systems have to be designed to move beyond the early adopters and the wow-factor (“Giant Double Rainbow”) of new tech tools to rich, integrated and distributed learning. The most successful innovations in technology and education will not be ones designed to replace teachers, but ones designed to amplify great teaching.

    This panel will demonstrate what happens when technology and instruction are deeply integrated by sharing powerful stories from high school students, teachers, and leaders who on a daily basis are leading the way.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Can Design and Technology Fix America's Education Problem?

    by Dennis Littky, Jon Kolko and Steven Tomilson

    In the US, 75% of students graduate high school. Our national college graduation rate is even lower at approximately 54%. And those students who aspire to go to college are faced with a rising tuition cost, which has increased more than any other major good or service for the last twenty years. Looking ahead to the next 20 years, students will pay $221,722 to drop out of a state school, and close to $450,000 to try their luck at a private school in hopes of getting a higher education. These unfortunate statistics don't even begin to describe the current university system's neglect to harness experiential and digital approaches to open-source educational models.

    We are facing an education crisis in the United States. This panel will explore the future of education, examining the roles of design, technology, and human beings in reshaping the way we teach and learn. While the panel is diverse, the speakers all share unconventional views of learning, a passion for design and creativity, and an entrepreneurial commitment to driving change through both action and technology.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom B, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

  • Learning 2025

    by Jillian Darwish and Erika Gregory

    The emerging future confirms that the current educational system, with all its industrial-age assumptions, is not one that can be, in good conscience, simply passed on to our children. Instead, the emerging future demands that today’s multiple dimensions of complexity be addressed by innovating new processes, skills, and capabilities to radically augment and/or replace our current approaches. This type of radical innovation will not result from treading, yet again, the well-worn path of traditional educational reform. Changes in action will not be enough; mental models, the way people think, must be changed. Together, we will explore a process that identifies the needs of future learners using theories from the fields of user-center design, systems and scenario thinking. In addition to identifying the needs of future learners, this process allows for the identification of the system that must be in place to provide for the needs of all learners regardless how the future unfolds.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center

  • Online Learning and the Classroom of the Future

    by Alexa Scordato

    Facebook's highered roots have certainly extended well beyond the Ivy League, but to what extent have social technologies become a staple in the classroom? Today, over 10 million students are registered in an online course while more than 1600 institutions offer online degrees. This panel will address the opportunities and challenges for bringing schools online and take a closer look at the profile of today's web--savvy student.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center

  • Death of the Demo; Rise of Branded Tutorial

    by Joshua Rosenbaum

    Since the beginning of man, different permutations of the “Instruction Manual” have ridden as passenger in the sidecar of technology’s motorcycle. And like technology, the format of the instruction manual has evolved, but is the “science” behind them keeping up? Video demos may be the status quo across today’s interverse, BUT… The day of the 40-minute-long, boring video demo is over. Short, entertaining video tutorials are winning the attention and appreciation of a socially networked audience eager to pass along a link to something they find entertaining and useful. Smart brands are realizing the opportunity to create and use video tutorials as purveyors of brand culture. Injecting humor, style, and creative storytelling into an instructional tutorial not only can help grab and keep an audience’s attention, but may encourage the audience to actively promote the content to others purely based on its creativity or experiential value. Demos are dead. Fun, creative tutorials not only teach, but also promote. The branded tutorial is rapidly becoming the new, and necessary standard.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Building School 2.0: Creating the Schools We Need

    by Christian Leman

    SXSW explores the ways social media has profoundly changed nearly every facet of society from government to commerce to dating and friendship. Despite incredible societal change, K-12 education has remained largely unchanged. Every day, students leave their smartphones and laptops at the schoolhouse door. As a result, students, parents and teachers feel a powerful disconnect between the time students spend in school and the lives they live outside of it. If school is to remain a vital piece of young people's lives - and our society - it must evolve to help students thrive in our changing world.

    This is the notion behind School 2.0. But what will these new schools look like? What are the philosophical ideas that form it? How can we marry the best of what we know about teaching and learning with the use of 21st Century tools to create schools that are engaging, caring, and relevant places of learning for everyone involved? The story of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive, inquiry-driven, project-based 1:1 laptop public high school will frame this presentation. Conceived as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute, SLA is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement and has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School in 2009 and 2010 and has been written about in many publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Edutopia Magazine and EdWeek.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage slide deck

  • The Democratization of Music Education

    by Justin Noormand and Tony Howlett

    From the walkman to the iPod, music has long thrived in the mobile medium and now the merging of music and wireless phones is a reality. Thus far mobile music has been controlled by only a few companies and the creation of music applications has been limited to those with technical resources. But new mobile applications and social networking technology is extending more control and power to musicians and music teachers. These apps are making it easy and profitable for musicians to share their experience and knowledge with consumers, students and the up and coming talent in the music world. This discussion will cover the democratization of learning music via the phone, what this means for the music industry, the issues to overcome and examples of these emerging applications that give more power to the people.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center