SXSW EDU 2025: Celebrating 15 Years of Impact

SXSW EDU 2024 - Photo by Tico Mendoza

Oftentimes, especially in the world of education, we’re prone to using milestones as an opportunity to both look back and look forward. The 2025 Conference & Festival will be the 15th annual SXSW EDU in Austin, Texas marking a differentiated value in the ever-changing world of convening and, more importantly, marking education’s important place as one of the four principal verticals of South by Southwest (SXSW), a festival whose roots date back to 1987.

Having helped launch SXSW EDU, I’ve seen both this community and education as a whole make tremendous progress toward the shared goal of student-centered learning and the opportunity to provide pathways to a better future. I’ve also seen the cycles of innovation from one-to-one hardware adoption and the proliferation of digital learning tools to the evolution of standards and credentials.

One thing remains abundantly clear – the human connection between the educator and learner is fundamental to student success.

Given our passion for continuous improvement, I truly think every upcoming year stands to be our best yet — so in many ways, the year to come will be a thoughtful iteration of all the things you love about SXSW EDU. But, I also hope that we use this moment to reflect on what we’ve learned, what this community has accomplished, and how that might inform what lies ahead.

Convergence + Community in 2025

Today we launch the 2025 season with the opening of PanelPicker for programming ideas and the Launch Startup Competition for early-stage startups. In early August, another wave of applications will open for our Film program, Student Impact Challenge, and more. On August 6, registration will be open and you can book your hotel for SXSW EDU 2025.

Each year in this season kick-off blog I highlight some of the new changes we’ve made so far for the upcoming year. This year there’s a broader theme of convergence and community with all the developments we’ve been working on.

While the programming tracks for SXSW EDU are intentionally crafted to apply to large cross-sections of the community (like Teaching & Learning, Arts & Storytelling, and Future of Tech), we know that there’s great value in being able to find content highly relevant to your domain. A few years ago we added Focus Area to identify if something is for an Early Learning, K-12, Higher Ed, or Continuing Ed audience. Acknowledging that many sessions apply to multiple domains, we've added “Convergence” as a Focus Area this year to capture those ideas that span more than one domain.

Last year also saw the return of Crossover Day where the final day of SXSW EDU became an opportunity to bridge communities across all of SXSW with Platinum, Interactive, Film & TV, and Music attendees joining the EDU community. Turnout and engagement far exceeded our expectations for this first-year return; so as we design for 2025 we have even bigger aspirations to build more connections between the pillars of SXSW.

One new addition to this work is a special opportunity for the Grand Prize winner of the Launch Startup Competition to get onstage exposure during the SXSW Pitch Awards — and for all of the finalists to have the opportunity to participate at SXSW 2025 after they wrap at SXSW EDU 2025.

Listen, Watch, Participate

With lots of goodness still to come between now and March, I highly recommend you dive into the great content from SXSW EDU 2024. Here’s a list of live podcast recordings from the event to add to your queue. You can find all of our Keynote and Featured Sessions on our YouTube Channel and here’s a list of sessions with audio recordings too.

Be part of the program in 2025 by participating in PanelPicker — and we hope to see you March 3-6, 2025 at the 15th annual SXSW EDU Conference & Festival.

Photo by Tico Mendoza

By Greg Rosenbaum