PanelPicker Tips: Selecting the Perfect Format for Your Proposal

SXSW EDU 2017 Panel - Lightning Talks: When Learning Goes Digital

When it comes to your PanelPicker submission, selecting the right format for your session is essential. The format you choose will dictate the flow of your session, the number of speakers allowed, the level of audience interaction and even the way the room is set up. Here’s a quick break down of the various options, along with some insight about each to aid you in your decision making process.

Step 2 of the PanelPicker application, the Title & Characteristics section, is where you will select the format for your session proposal. In the format dropdown menu, there are 12 different options to choose from.

SXSW EDU 2018 Session Formats:

  • Campfire (1 hour, 1-2 speakers)
  • Case Study (1 hour, 1-3 speakers)
  • Future20 (20 mins, 1 speaker)
  • Hands On (30 mins, 1-2 speakers)
  • Meet Up (1 hour, 1-2 speakers)
  • Panel (1 hour, 2-4 speakers)
  • Summit (3-6 hours, 1-4 speakers)
  • Talk (Higher Ed) (30 mins, 1-3 speakers)
  • Talk (Industry) (30 mins, 1-3 speakers)
  • Talk (Learning Expo) (30 mins, 1-3 speakers)
  • Talk (Playground) (30 mins, 1-3 speakers)
  • Workshop (2 hours, 1-3 speakers)

And don’t forget, all PanelPicker proposals are due on Sunday, July 23 at 11:59 PT.

Start Your PanelPicker Application

Campfire

(1 hour, 1-2 speakers)
A speaker-led, open conversation with attendees around a particular topic.

SXSW EDU 2017 session.

Inside scoop on campfire sessions:

  • Previously known as “core conversations,” campfire sessions are imagined to be intimate and audience fueled conversations.
  • In this session style, the speaker takes on a facilitation role and helps to keep the discussion moving forward by probing the audience and offering insight and expertise throughout the course of the session.

Looking back, here are a few popular campfire (previously known as core conversation) sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

A Creative Approach to Emotional Intelligence
Professional Development: Beyond the Buzzwords
Teaching is Fun Again with Deeper Learning

Case Study

(1 hour, 1-3 speakers)
A focused presentation highlighting research findings from relevant initiatives and projects followed by an audience Q&A.

Debate - Good, Bad & Ugly: Blended Learning Effectiveness

Inside scoop on case study sessions:

  • This session format was introduced at SXSW EDU 2017 and continue to be an important part of the event, providing an opportunity for the community to better understand and discuss the latest research or initiatives impacting teaching and learning.

Looking back, here are a few popular case study sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

Educators as the Most Optimistic Innovators
Innovating Instruction: Teachers as Designers
Let’s Chat…Bots in Higher Education

Future20

(20 min, 1 speaker)
A short presentation highlighting new and emerging ideas. Optional audience Q&A.

SXSW EDU Future20 session, Design Thinking as a Core Fundamental in Education, featuring Doreen Lorenzo (Executive Director, Center for Integrated Design at the University of Texas, Austin)

Inside scoop on Future20 sessions:

  • Future20s are solo talks that allow the speaker to share in-depth information on a specific topic in a short amount of time.
  • Attendees really enjoy this format because the content is to-the-point and consumable.
  • You should work to isolate the primary aspect of your topic and get into the specifics, drilling down to what really matters.

Looking back, here are a few popular future20 sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

A.I. in America: Preparing Our Kids
Bridging the Skill Gap from School to Work
Why Are We Still Using Curriculum from the 1800s?

Hands On

(30 min, 1-2 speakers)
An informal session that facilitates interactive and creative learning techniques, these will take in the place in the Playground.

SXSW EDU Playground Talk.

Inside scoop on hands on sessions:

  • These sessions take place in the Playground which is a discovery-based learning environment for attendees to explore best practices, activities and technologies that can improve their teaching and learning.
  • Hands on sessions are very similar to workshop sessions because they too provide tangible takeaways that attendees can take straight back to the classroom.
  • Attendees love these sessions because they are short and sweet opportunities to pick up new ideas for their students.

Looking back, here are a few popular hands on sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

The HollaDeck 3.0 – Your Classroom in 4D
Build-Your-Own Learning Environment
Animating Kids with Project-Based Stop Motion

Meet Up

(1 hour, 1-2 speakers)
A networking event that encourages communities at SXSW EDU to connect with others who share similar passions or interest during the event.

SXSW EDU 2017 meet up session, How to Have the BEST SXSWedu Ever Meet Up.

Inside scoop on meet up sessions:

  • Meet ups are fairly open ended, compared to some of the other session formats, because the primary goal of these sessions is to connect communities during SXSW EDU.
  • These sessions are topic-focused networking events that can take a variety of forms such as a facilitated networking activity, game, or topic-focused brainstorm.

Looking back, here are a few popular meet up sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

Best EdTech for ELLs Meet Up
How to Have the BEST SXSWedu Ever Meet Up
Maker Pedagogy: A Vision for the Future Meet Up

Panel

(1 hour, 2-4 speakers)
A diverse and focused discussion around a particular topic followed by audience Q&A.

Debate - Good, Bad & Ugly: Blended Learning Effectiveness

Inside scoop on panel sessions:

  • Each year, panels make up the largest percentage of PanelPicker entries, which also means that they are the most competitive format type.
  • If you decide that a Panel is the best fit for your session, pay close attention to the 5 Elements of Diversity (gender, location, opinion, variety and ethnicity) as it relates to the proposed speakers.
  • A strong panel relies on a strong moderator. Be sure to check the moderator box indicating which speaker is going to assume this role during the session.

Looking back, here are a few popular panel sessions that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

So You Want to Create a Makerspace?
Building an Inquiry-Based School Model
Elevating Educator Prep with Micro-Credentials

Talk (Learning Expo)

(30 min, 1-3 speakers)
An informal presentation highlighting classroom initiatives and college readiness including audience Q&A. Please note, these Talks will take place as part of the Learning Expo.

SXSW EDU 2017 Expo Talk, The Rather Prize: The Best Idea to Improve TX Edu, featuring Ashley Castro, Dan Rather, Destinee Brown, Jericho Bautista, Martin Rather, Sanford Jeames.

Inside scoop on Learning Expo talks:

  • These sessions take place in the Learning Expo which is a community event designed to encourage and inspire learners of all ages to identify and reach their education and career goals.
  • This session is shorter in length, so don’t try to cover too much, isolate the primary focus of your topic and get into the specifics.

Looking back, here are a few popular Learning Expo talks that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

The Rather Prize: The Best Idea to Improve TX Edu
Partnerships that Iterate – A Case Study
Teen Entrepreneurs Gain Empathy & Self-Awareness

Talk (Higher Ed)

(30 min, 1-3 speakers)
An informal presentation highlighting higher education insights including audience Q&A. Please note, these Talks take place on the Higher Ed stage in the Innovation Hub.

SXSW EDU 2017 Higher Ed Talk.

Inside scoop on higher ed talks:

  • These sessions take place in the Innovation Hub which is a dynamic space designed to connect education professionals across industries.
  • For higher ed talks, we are looking for thought leaders who can contribute their expertise to topics impacting the present and future higher education landscape.
  • This session is shorter in length, so don’t try to cover too much, isolate the primary focus of your topic and get into the specifics.

Looking back, here are a few popular higher ed talks that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

Ending the Hunger Games of HigherEd
Strategic Alliances: A Higher Ed Rubik’s Cube

Talk (Industry)

(30 min, 1-3 speakers)
An informal presentation highlighting market trends in education business including audience Q&A. Please note, these Talks take place on the Industry stage in the Innovation Hub.

SXSW EDU 2017 Industry Talk session, EdTech Research: Who Pays Attention?, featuring Dwight Jones, Pat Deklotz, Todd Bloom.

Inside scoop on industry talks:

  • These sessions take place in the Innovation Hub which is a dynamic space designed to connect education professionals across industries.
  • For industry talks, we are looking for thought leaders who can contribute their business and industry expertise to topics that are impacting the present and future learning landscape.
  • This session is shorter in length, so don’t try to cover too much, isolate the primary focus of your topic and get into the specifics.

Looking back, here are a few popular industry talks that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

EdTech Research: Who Pays Attention?
Connecting Ed & Tech to Drive Student Outcomes
Open Innovation in Community Colleges WIIFM? Us?

Talk (Playground)

(30 min, 1-3 speakers)
An informal presentation highlighting discovery-based learning activities including audience Q&A. Please note, these Talks take place in the Playground.

SXSW EDU Playground Talk, Virtual Reality in Education -- Best Practices?, with Dr Audrey Heinesen and Kevin Alster.

Inside scoop on Playground talks:

  • These sessions take place in the Playground which is a discovery-based learning environment for attendees to explore best practices, activities and technologies that can improve their teaching and learning.
  • For playground talks, we are looking for thought leaders who can contribute insights and lessons that can be taken back to the classroom.
  • This session is shorter in length, so don’t try to cover too much, isolate the primary focus of your topic and get into the specifics.

Looking back, here are a few popular Playground talks that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

Teaching Storytelling for Empathy and Engagement
Coding as Activism for Teens
How 49ers Use Football to Inspire STEM Learning

Summit

(3-6 hours, 1-4 speakers)
An extended form of programming with multiple formats that creates an intimate and collaborative environment to arrive at actionable outcomes.

SXSW EDU 2017 summit session, Design Thinking as Liberatory Design, featuring David Clifford, Tania Anaissie, Victor Cary.

Inside scoop on summits:

  • Summits provide a unique opportunity for long-form programming during SXSW EDU.
  • A summit session also demands significant energy and planning so the organizer of the summit should be prepared to contribute the required time to make the summit a success.
  • Attendees value summits for the advance and in-depth information they cover.

Looking back, here are a few popular summits that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

A Pedagogy for Personalization
Design Thinking as Liberatory Design
Blended: Practices & Conditions to Get it Right

Workshop

(2 hours, 1-3 speakers)
An in-depth, instructional program with hands-on learning and specific takeaways.

SXSW EDU 2017 workshop session, Design Your Own Learning App (in Just 2 Hours!), featuring Jared Crane, Jeff Bergin, Tommy Bishop.

Inside scoop on workshops:

  • Attendees value workshops for the advanced and in-depth information that they obtain from attending.
  • Workshops are notably longer in length to allow the speakers to really dive deep into the topic at hand, leading to tangible takeaways.

Looking back, here are a few popular workshops that were selected from PanelPicker last year:

Design Your Own Learning App (in Just 2 Hours!)
Racial Equity & D.Thinking Need Each Other: Why?
Creating Podcasts Leads to Deeper Understanding

For more information and helpful tips about PanelPicker, visit the PanelPicker overview page. Remember, the deadline to submit your idea for SXSW EDU 2018 is Friday, July 21 at 11:59 PT.

Start Your PanelPicker Application

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 07/06/2017 and has been updated to reflect the latest and most accurate information.

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Jessica MacCall

SXSW EDU Sr Digital Media Manager

I over see the SXSW EDU digital experience including website, blog, social media strategy and marketing events. With a Bachelor of Arts - FA concentration in Mass Communications, Electronic Media, and Photography from Texas State University, my goal is to help bring a positive brand experience to the SXSW EDU Community. Outside of the office, you can find my enjoying a glass of wine, spending time with my dogs, and indulging in Sunday brunch.

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