Inside PanelPicker: Leadership

SXSW EDU 2017 Future20 session, Design Thinking as a Core Fundamental in Education, featuring Doreen Lorenzo. Photo by Akash Kataria.

SXSW EDU cultivates and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders to advance teaching and learning. This community shows its passion and engagement through the range of topics that are submitted to PanelPicker. Then the staff, the public and advisory board have the pleasure of seeing which topics are of most interest to the community. In addition, it enables the team at SXSW EDU to see what issues are resonating across the education sector which helps to inform what new topical and impactful programming to include in the conference and festival.

This year, Leadership rose to one of the top trend areas with growth of proposals increasing 11% from the previous year. Leadership proposals were submitted across all of SXSW EDU’s formats -- from Campfire Discussions and Hands on Sessions to Panels and Workshops.

Leadership is often discussed in relationship to professional development. Many PanelPicker respondents wanted to see a focus on core Professional Development, with a focus on what research and programs are being developed to support teachers and the sharing of best practices.

Building on professional development, other areas of focus popular among this year’s respondents are personal and professional leadership growth, starting with students. With the shift to organizational and student centered leadership development for both for K-12 and Higher Ed, there is keen interest in looking at organizational design and how schools and systems are built to best serve leaders within the faculty and administration, as well as student.

A complex issue on leadership that surfaced is within the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the impact AI will have on curriculum and teachers in the future. With more personalized learning being developed, what role does the teacher have to facilitate a student’s learning in concert with AI? A very important topic to address in the ever-evolving learning environment.

There were also several proposals focused on the role of community with a focus on the relationship between the public and private sector. From entrepreneurialism to 21st century learning and digital citizens, how can companies and education systems work together to support students and teachers. In a new world where all sectors work together- schools, companies, parents, teachers and students - can the community develop schools and learning design for the 21st century? And are we ensuring that today’s students are unskilled for industry and STEM workforce jobs?

There was also a strong emphasis among respondents on female leadership at the administrative, classroom and student level. From Girls and STEM to entrepreneurialism and innovation, what is being done to support female leaders starting at the early stages and following women all the way through their growth trajectory.

The very topical themes of compassion, empathy and social justice were also evident with a focus on how education leaders and students can learn from each other’s diversity in ideas, cultures and learning styles to build stronger leaders for the future.

These are just a handful of the exciting topic areas that we saw in PanelPicker that were raised by you all, the SXSW EDU community. While PanelPicker is closed, there are still a number of ways to get involved, visit the participate page to learn more.

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