SXSWedu 2017: A Preview (hint – VR is up!)

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):

Infographic SXSW thumbnail

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
  • MakerSpaces
  • Coding
  • 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:

Also the SXSWedu Playground, a bazaar-like arena of intellectual aromas, tastes and visual sensations, will offer a significant foothold for VR themes:

And, after the above prerequisite baton-twirling, we finally see a reality check on VR in education:

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