It’s South By Southwest (SXSW) and SXSWedu time! That means throngs of people are descending upon Austin, Texas in hopes of connecting, learning about incredible new technology, and hearing some great music. SXSW has blossomed into quite the force over the past few years. In fact, some are saying it’s no longer ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ simply because it’s so popular. I’ve read more than a few articles about how it’s downright impossible to become a noteworthy app or startup at SXSW due to the sheer number of people competing for the attention of the attendees and press.
But the real story for anyone reading this is SXSWedu, the education-oriented version of the conference that’s turning into a force of nature. Here are a few things you should know about the event (whether you’re attending or not):
1) SXSWedu Is Big.
In any case, SXSW is at a stage right now where it’s massively popular and still plays a big role in technology and education. There’s an offshoot of SXSW called SXSWedu where edtech startups and other brilliant education folk gather. It’s a series of 4 days where everyone meets, discusses, and plans for the future of education. There are panels, keynotes, and demonstrations just about all day, every day. It starts tomorrow (March 4th) and runs until March 7th. There’s a dedicated social network for the event called eduSocial and even a special mobile SXSW app worth getting if you’re heading to Austin.
2) LAUNCHedu Is Fast.
A bit from the official site: LAUNCHedu is the premiere destination for promising entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative startup education business products and services. With a diverse audience of education stakeholders ranging from classroom teachers and administrators, to powerful investors and policymakers, LAUNCHedu at SXSWedu offers a unique opportunity to connect with education thought leaders and develop what’s next and new in learning. This exciting, fast-paced competition highlights the solution-seeking visionaries who are revolutionizing the world of education. Entrepreneurs take turns pitching their startup endeavors before a jury of industry experts, key media influencers and a live audience of SXSWedu registrants. Look for the next big edtech tool or resource to come out of LAUNCHedu.
3) There’s A Makerspace.
One of the hottest trends in education, technology, and in general is the idea that you can ‘make’ something and learn from the process. I love this idea and so does SXSW. There’s a cool Makerspace at the SXSWedu event. Click here for details. In addition to hosting a number of DIY and Maker sessions, the Makerspace will showcase exhibits from makers, creators and DIYers throughout the SXSWedu Conference & Festival.
4) Education Film Screenings.
SXSWedu will feature a number of education-related film screenings, during the Conference & Festival, March 4-7, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This exciting new component champions the entertainment media tackling some of today’s key education topics. The screenings will take place at the historic Alamo Drafthouse in the heart of Austin’s 6th Street, just a short walk from the Austin Convention Center. The theater boasts a full menu including appetizers, pizzas, sandwiches, and a full service bar to ensure that your experience will be a great one.
5) SXSW & SXSWedu Is Enormous.
This infographic spells out how SXSW has grown from a music festival into a massive ‘tech party’ that launches entire companies. Truly fascinating stuff.