The annual SXSWedu phenomenon has rapidly outpaced the Ted talk as the most innovative, fresh, and prognostic venue for envisioning the future of the education and technology marketplace. This year, the SXSWedu Conference & Festival will be held in Austin, Texas from March 6-9.
SXSWedu is a part of the SouthbySouthwest family of conferences, fostering “innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds in education.” Based on pre-conference survey, the following infographic represents the characteristics and interests of attending SXSWedu participants (click to expand):
Now, let’s return to the business at hand. Conference session analysis is a useful business intelligence strategy, one that can give us particular insight. The following ed-market trends appear noteworthy, appearing in great frequency and with strident emphasis at this trailblazing conference:
- STEAM education
- Virtual Reality
- Learning Space Redesign
- Re-designing Schooling
- Social Justice
Yet, the remarkably stout presence of the virtual reality meme, totally expected, will now appear as one of the biggest ed-tech footprints at 2017 SXSWedu conference. This meme has literally doubled or tripled since last year. Here are the VR/AR sessions now planned for SXSWedu, with links to their descriptions:
- Michelle Zimmerman will bring to the fore the creative elements of VR in her presentation, Pixar in a Box Meets Sagrada Familia & Tilt Brush
- Jamel Mims and Mikey Cordero will introduce a functioning mashup of hip hop music and VR in their presentation, The HollaDeck 3.0 – Your Classroom in 4D
- Participants will explore student-created content in two different presentations: Design Your Own VR Experience for EDU and From Information to Experience: AR/MR/VR
- Presenters will conduct some apparent cheerleading, showcasing brilliant teacher examples of the use of VR in schools in Ready Player One? How VR Will Transform the Class. (I am not sure these presenters understand their own title, referencing a piece of young adult literature that ultimately rejects the dehumanization, the isolation, and the artificiality of life and learning in virtual reality. But, oh well.)
- Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva return to cheerlead and spotlight emerging VR trends in education in VR & Mixed Reality Trends: Insights for Educators
- The British Museum is in the house, presenting on Bringing History to Life with Augmented Reality
Also the SXSWedu Playground, a bazaar-like arena of intellectual aromas, tastes and visual sensations, will offer a significant foothold for VR themes:
- The Immersive Experience Lab
- Virtual Reality in Education — Best Practices? (from the School of the New York Times)
- One World, Many Stories: A GNG VR Curriculum (with Grace Lau, and the Global Nomad group, teaching empathy through VR)
And, after the above prerequisite baton-twirling, we finally see a reality check on VR in education:
- Evan Schiff will present The Reality of Virtual – VR Adoption in Schools
- Presenters will launch a frontal assault on VR’s hype cycle with Separating Hype from Reality: AR/VR & Learning
- Participants will investigate the instructional effectiveness of VR in Will VR Really Impact Student Outcomes?
- Herb Coleman, PhD., will present in VR Will NOT Save Education; VR Might Destroy It. Gee Whiz! At last, a luddite, an eloquent naysayer!
- Okay, I’ll be presenting, too. Joined by Dr. Michael Duenas, the Chief Public Health Officer from the American Optometric Association, we will be pushing past the hype and executing a “deep dive” with our joint 3-hour workshop, Fishbowl: Virtual Reality in Education. This unique “deep learning” session addresses the challenges, logistics, scaling, classroom management, research, pedagogical strategies, and vision health (medical) issues surrounding the roll out of VR in U.S. classrooms. No breathless cheerleading here. Just the heavy lifting.
There are also other sessions at SXSWedu that would be of general interest to Display Daily readers:
- Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, and Charles McIntyre are feartured in the presentation, Insights into Next Generation EdTech Unicorns. This session offers “the latest and greatest EdTech innovations from Europe and Asia transforming the global education industry.”
- Neuroscientists and researchers from the University of Texas-Austin will be presenting The Art & Science of Spatial Perception
At the upcoming SXSWedu conference, virtual reality has nearly tripled its presence since last year, a sign that it is rapidly climbing the marketplace ladder. Reading between the lines, even more interesting are the creative mashups, the vision health messaging, and the invaluable circumspection about the role of VR in learning. See you there, at SXSWedu.—Len Scrogan