Look Back at SXSW EDU 2023 Highlights

SXSW EDU 2023 - Photo by Tico Mendoza

With an energy unlike any SXSW EDU before, the 2023 event still inspires us three weeks after the event and will continue to do so throughout the year.

This year, SXSW EDU was driven by four themes: Bold, Imagine, Converge, and Evolve. These themes were reflected throughout the program, the connections made, and the inspiration we found.

We can’t stop thinking about the event, so let’s take a look at some highlights from SXSW EDU 2023:

Powerful Keynote Sessions

Kicking off each day of SXSW EDU programming, and wrapping up the last, were Keynote sessions featuring powerful thought leaders who inspired and connected with attendees from around the world.

This year’s Keynote Speakers included opening speaker Luma Mufleh, who spoke on the importance of inclusion in education, particularly among refugee students; siblings Doreen Gehry Nelson and Frank Gehry, in a conversation moderated by Liz Willen on design-based learning; Ruth Simmons and Adam Harris on the shifts Simmons has seen in higher education and where we go from here; and Kimberly Mata-Rubio, Nick Allen, PhD, and Odis Johnson Jr., PhD, in a moving discussion on school safety moderated by Sewell Chan.

"It is vitally important for us to understand that these kids had to leave their homes and did not choose to be victimized and traumatized. They did not change what age they were forced to leave their countries. The least we can do is welcome them with open arms."

- Luma Mufleh
Inspirational Refugee Activist & Founder,
The Fugees Academy

Riveting Competitions

With seven impressive finalists for the Launch Startup competition and five finalists for the Student Startup competition, these competitions were nail-biters.

For the first time since the conception of the Launch Startup Competition, three awards were presented, with Tilli, an AI-powered, play-based, social emotional learning tool from Sri Lanka, taking home the awards as both this year’s Launch Competition winner and Impact Award winner. Koalluh, an engaging children’s reading platform based in Atlanta, Georgia that allows kids to create stories with AI, took home the Community Choice Award.

The Student Startup competition, powered by WIT - Whatever It Takes, announced MatheX from Windsor High School in Windsor, California as this year’s winner. MatheX is an app that enables elementary school students to practice basic math skills efficiently and completely individualized on their smartphones.

Inspiring Films

With films tackling the culture of hazing, the importance of literacy, the effects of stereotyping and sexism, and more, this year’s film program proved to be a strong one. Explore this year’s full film lineup.

Dynamic Performances

Performances offer a unique opportunity to experience and reflect on the value of performing arts as a vehicle for deeper learning, and this year’s performance lineup made us laugh, cry, and everything in between. Explore this year's full performance lineup.

Live Studio Interviews

Kari Byron returned to Austin this year as the host of the SXSW EDU Live Studio, where she sat down with many of our incredible speakers, taking conversations beyond what you hear on stage. Watch this year’s SXSW EDU Live Studio interviews on YouTube.

Take a Look At the Event

We miss attending powerful sessions, meeting new and old friends, and seeing your smiling faces every day. Take a look at some photos capturing the magic of SXSW EDU 2023.

Photo by Tico Mendoza

By Auva Saghafi