Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Education in Austin Convention Center

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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

  • 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

  • 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