As we approach 10 years of SXSW EDU, the programming trends for 2020 in many ways reflect the broader evolution of education over the past decade from the systems of schooling through standards and assessment to a more intentional focus on the individual learner’s successful pathway through education to career and beyond. From more than 1,700 proposals in PanelPicker to the many applications we receive for our competitions, the following trends represent what we are seeing from the community and in the programming for SXSW EDU 2020. What follows is a curated list of the top 10 trends in our programming with supporting sessions, tracks, and tags to explore further at this year’s event.
- Curriculum for the Modern Era
- Education’s Role in Society
- Future of Content Delivery
- Inclusive Practice for Identity and Orientation
- Promise of Higher Education
- Racial Identity, Equity, and Consciousness
- Rise of Conscious Investing
- Storytelling in a Modern World
- The New Norm: Lifelong Learning
- Youth for Climate Change
Curriculum for the Modern Era
Essential knowledge and skills for the modern learner continue to be redefined as technology gets further embedded into the working world. As we excel at tasks that are uniquely human, the role of the humanities, arts, and other creative endeavors become increasingly important. Beyond the development of core interpersonal skills, curriculum is evolving to be more reflective of the student body it serves.
- Creativity vs Coding: The Skill Set of Tomorrow
- Questioning Diversity in K-5 Curriculum
- Race and Representation in Children’s Literature
- The Humanities in the New Landscape of Higher Ed
- The Power of Plants to Improve Student Outcomes
- We Need Liberal Education in Community College
- What You Won’t Find in College Curriculum
Education’s Role in Society
As the 2020 election approaches and countries around the world grapple with the current state of politics, there is a renewed focus on civic education and constructive political discourse. Not only is it imperative to prepare the rising generation for a modern democracy, but fundamental questions around the role of education in society are coming to the forefront. Should higher education be free for all? Who has access to early childhood education? Where does the responsibility to retrain the existing workforce lie?
- 20 Policy Issues, 50 States: What’s Ahead for 2020
- Devastating Impact of a 2020 Census Undercount
- How Gen Z Is Covering the 2020 Election
- Reimagining Civic Education for the 21st Century
- Stand & Deliberate: Civil Discourse in Education
- The Politics of Higher Education: Election 2020
Future of Content Delivery
How will content delivery change in an increasingly connected world as we move past print and even handheld devices to the next wave of technology? As learning increasingly transitions to responsive digital learning platforms, extended reality (XR) and voice technology, books no longer exclusively serve as the primary resource for learning. Clearly, the written word has been the vehicle for learning for centuries and will remain prominent, but the promise of new technology to evolve how students learn is real.
- Amazon Alexa Challenge
- Books 2.0: Why Reading Needs to Go Digital
- Designing Information Delivery of the Future
- Designing Educational Engagement with XR
- Does Audio Work for Learning?
- Will Speech Technology Transform Education?
Inclusive Practice for Identity and Orientation
By creating gender-inclusive learning environments, identifying research gaps, and standardizing a modern vocabulary for sexual orientation, educational institutions can create intentional policies and practices that better meet the needs of all students. Generation Z’s embrace of personal identity and intersectionality necessitates a more inclusive approach to sex education and learning more broadly.
- Gender Nonconforming Educator Hangout
- How Abstinence-Only Programs Harm LGBTQ Youth
- How We Can Save a Generation from Sexual Violence
- LGBTQ Supports in New York City Schools
- Q+ Edu: Meeting the Needs of LGBTQ+ Students
- Roo – The Inclusive Sex Ed Chatbot for Teens
Promise of Higher Education
Decades of rising costs, ballooning student debt, and challenges with completion leave society questioning the value of higher education and if it is delivering on its promise. From new models for funding higher education like income-sharing agreements to the rise in short-term bootcamps and certificate programs, the traditional framework for higher education is being challenged. The value of post-secondary completion is clear, but the way it is being measured as a return on investment is changing as the future of work continues to evolve.
- Can Higher Education Revive the American Dream?
- Free College: The Reality and the Promise
- Gen Z’s Higher Standards for Higher Ed
- Innovating for Adult Postsecondary Success
- Undocumented and Undeterred: Dreamers on Campus
- Who’s Higher Ed for? A Guide for Advocates
Racial Identity, Equity, and Consciousness
Education has long held the promise of being an important vehicle to drive equity in society, yet issues of equity and access remain prominent. As the learning community grows their collective consciousness and understanding of the impact of bias in education, leaders are pushing for more reflective practices to better enable all leaders and learners alike. Building a foundation of positive and inclusive racial identity development in young children as educators support an increasingly diverse student body is key to countering bias and injustice in learning.
- Asian American: Not Your Model Minority
- Developing Racially Conscious School Leader
- Empowering Latinas: Education and Entrepreneurship
- Implicit Bias: Reframing Our Assumptions
- Making Good on the Promise of Brown v. Board
- Multiracial Students: Equity, Inclusion & Advocacy
- The Role of Black Parents in Educational Advocacy
Rise of Conscious Investing
Investors are becoming increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impact of funding decisions, and as a result, dollars continue to move towards causes that align with mission and value. As is the case for many historically under-supported sectors, we are seeing a surge of investment energy surrounding education and an influx of socially responsible decision making.
- A New Vision for EdTech Accelerators
- Decolonizing Investments in Education Innovation
- K-12 Entrepreneurship 2010 to 2020 and Beyond
- Redesigning Philanthropy to Solve Big Challenges
- Supporting Racial Equity Through Impact Investing
- What Do Investors Look for in Edu Entrepreneurs?
Storytelling in a Modern World
The oldest form of teaching continues to be relevant in the information age. Modern storytelling takes many forms, from audio podcasts to multi-sensory experiences. At the heart of the medium though, you will find great stories rooted in narratives that are designed to allow students room to be creative and vulnerable.
- Beyond Work Bubbles: Comics & Critical Creativity
- Bringing Books to Life Using STEM
- Building Public Will with Student Voice
- Embrace the Mess: Vulnerable Storytelling w/Teens
- Narrative’s Power to Improve Equity
- Tell Your Story: Dream. Design. Deliver.
The New Norm: Lifelong Learning
Advancements in technology continue to change the nature of work leaving educational institutions and employers to rethink how workers are upskilling to meet today’s demands. Lifelong learning is the new prerequisite for success in the modern workplace and expectations for who is responsible for workforce development continue to evolve as employers step in to fill the void.
- Beating the Bottomline Through Employer-based ESL
- Education and Paths to Employment
- Emerging Strategies for Employee Retention
- Preparing K-8 Students for the Future of Work
- Training the Workforce for an Immersive World
- The Case for Employer Funded College
Youth for Climate Change
Student advocacy continues to draw attention to the climate crisis, both in the U.S. and internationally. The outcry for change has gained significant momentum with youth-led school strikes that replace classroom time with public demonstrations. While students grapple to be heard, educators are assessing the impact of curriculum and campuses are making strides to reduce their carbon footprint.
- Building Powerful Youth Movements
- Catalyzing the Next Gen of STEM Global Citizens
- How to Lead a Revolution Using Your School Garden
- Inventing Green with Bioplastics
- Sustainability & Social Justice in K-12 Schools
- The Role of Student Activism in Schools
SXSW EDU art installation Weaving by Cocolab photo by Caleb Pickens.