PanelPicker® is a digital, crowd-sourced platform that enables the community to propose session ideas for the SXSW EDU program.

Applications are now closed. All session proposals will be posted for Community Voting from August 10-26, 2021.

Photo by Akash Kataria

Photo by Akash Kataria

How PanelPicker Works


PanelPicker® is a digital, crowd-sourced platform that enables the community to propose programming ideas for SXSW EDU, March 7-10, 2022.

Enter your session proposal for SXSW EDU 2022 during the submission window. Then PanelPicker will re-open for public voting, allowing the public to review, vote on, and provide feedback for all ideas entered.

Did you enter a PanelPicker proposal for SXSW EDU 2022? Rally support for your session idea by sharing with your network during the community voting window August 10-26, 2021.

Important Dates

Tuesday, June 29 – PanelPicker Opens
Thursday, July 22 Sunday, July 25 – PanelPicker Closes
Tuesday, August 10 – PanelPicker Community Voting Opens
Thursday, August 26 – PanelPicker Community Voting Closes

Applications close on Sunday, July 25 at 11:59pm PT.

Submission Process

Visit PanelPicker and sign in with your universal SXSW account or create one for free with your email address and a password.

Begin your proposal by selecting “+ EDU Proposal” to be considered for SXSW EDU 2022.

The application form is divided into six steps and PanelPicker allows you to save and continue as you go.

Click on the question mark icons next to important fields for helpful tips and guidelines. For additional questions, please reference the FAQ.

Go to PanelPicker

PanelPicker Step-by-Step


The application form is divided into six steps and PanelPicker allows you to save and continue as you go. Click on the question mark icons throughout the application for helpful tips and guidelines. For additional questions, please reference the FAQ.

Step 1: Session Organizer

Appoint a primary contact for your session, known as the organizer, to facilitate correspondence throughout the PanelPicker process and beyond, if accepted. The session organizer can also be a proposed speaker, but they are not assumed to be participating as a speaker unless indicated. Remember that the session organizer serves as the main point of contact for the session, and is responsible for communicating information to the speakers and ensuring the success of the session.

Step 2: Title & Characteristics

The information required in this step serves as the foundation for your session idea. Your selections will help the community understand and differentiate your proposal among many others.

  • Try to keep your title as concise and explanatory as possible. Make sure your proposal is easily accessible to the community with a great title that clearly speaks to the audience you are trying to reach. (max. 50 characters including spaces)
  • Choose the format that best fits your session structure and presentation style. Reflect on the goals of your session idea — are you looking to engage in a thought-provoking discussion, lead a learning activity, or convene a specific community? Reference the corresponding options to determine which format best suits your idea.
  • Designate a session focus area to set the level of education your session content will be addressing. The SXSW EDU program covers the entire learning lifecycle, and this allows your session to better shine in the community.
  • Select a thematic track that generally aligns with your idea so that attendees looking for similar content can find your session. Your idea may fit under multiple track options, so focus on the track that best represents your session content and goals.
  • Further clarify the focus of your idea by selecting two tags from the dropdown menus that will help the community search for your session.
  • Clearly identify the intended audience for your session, as well as the level of expertise required to help attendees understand who will benefit most from your session and further refine your session goals.
  • Step 3: Description & Objectives

    Describe your session content (max. 500 characters including spaces) and learning objectives (max. 150 characters each including spaces). Accurately define the comprehensive focus of your idea in a compelling manner and provide three specific learning objectives for your session that highlight concrete audience takeaways. Please keep in mind the following tips:

    • Depth is more important than breadth in making your idea an impactful session.
    • The audience at SXSW EDU is well-versed in the current education landscape. Given the limited space, your description does not need to reference broad statements and statistics about the state of education, and should focus on the specific content of your session.
    • Please do not include speaker names or organizations in the session description as these are listed separately in the application process and beyond.
    • Use paragraph form for your description (no bullets or lists please).
    • Be sure to spell out the first mention of any acronyms you choose to include.
    • Advertorial or brand-centered descriptions are not allowed. If you are interested in promoting your brand at SXSW EDU, please reach out to

    Step 4: Resources

    Add a short creative video and / or visual aids to serve as the digital face of your proposal. You must provide at least one resource to support your programming idea. Videos are highly preferred, and there’s no need for high-value production, as we just want to hear you speak — just record yourself on your phone / computer pitching your idea. Please note, you must have clear rights to whatever resources you include, and please enable closed captioning for any videos you include.

    Step 5: Speakers

    Be prepared to enter each proposed speaker’s name, contact information, short bio, and diversity contributions. Although most of this information is kept confidential, know that each speaker’s name, title, organization, and bio will be shared with the community.

    • SXSW EDU values diversity in perspective, opinion, and representation and the most interesting sessions are ones that offer many different perspectives. For each proposed speaker, you will be asked to address how they contribute to the diversity of the session.
    • Keep in mind the maximum speaker limits associated with your selected session format. For example, the talk format is limited to a maximum of four speakers, including the moderator, if desired.
    • Moderators are optional but should be independent, neutral facilitators in the discussion. Please note the moderator counts toward your maximum speaker limit.
    • While a particular speaker may be proposed for multiple sessions, in the interest of providing diverse perspectives, speakers will be limited to participating in 2 programmed sessions (with the exception of Mentor sessions).

    Step 6: Review & Submit

    Proofread and double-check that your proposal is complete and error-free.

    Make sure you take a few moments to review all of the agreement terms before finalizing your proposal. Please note, once submitted, you will NOT be able to make any additional edits to your proposal.

    Your proposal is not complete until you click the “Enter Proposal” button.

    Session Features


    Selecting the right track and format for your session idea is essential as it will determine the identity of your session from the number of speakers to the level of audience interaction.


    Future20 (20 mins / 1 speaker)
    A short solo presentation highlighting new and emerging ideas, followed by an optional audience Q&A

    Meet Up (60 mins / 1-2 speakers)
    A speaker-facilitated networking event that encourages communities to connect around similar topics, passions, roles, or interests

    Podcast (60 mins / 2-4 speakers)
    A podcast conversation on topics across the education landscape, hosted by media organizations and recorded in an intimate setting amongst a live audience

    Talk (60 mins / 2-4 speakers)
    A focused, diverse, and dynamic exploration of a particular topic, followed by audience Q&A

    Workshop (90 mins / 1-3 speakers)
    An in-depth, instructional program with hands-on learning activities and specific takeaways


    Accessibility & Inclusion
    Exploring initiatives and programs that focus on special education, learning differences, and disabilities across the learning lifecycle including instructional strategies, assistive technology, universal design, and more

    Arts & Storytelling
    Exploring arts-based pedagogies and creative practices including the performing and visual arts, arts integration, and the intersection of STEM and STEAM as well as narrative and world-building approaches for teaching and learning

    Business & Investment
    Content focused on the business of education including entrepreneurship and startups, investment and funding, marketing strategies, corporate initiatives and partnerships, market trends and analysis, business adaptability and virtual opportunities

    Community Initiatives
    Programs and projects focused on empowering and connecting communities in and out of the classroom by highlighting work organized by community spaces and groups including libraries, museums, makerspaces, community centers, after-school and summer programs, and moreSXSW EDU 2019 Keynote, photo by Kit McNeil

    Emerging Tech
    Exploring development and implementation in educational technology including virtual teaching and learning solutions, artificial intelligence, XR, data privacy, coding, data interoperability, as well as issues surrounding equitable access to technology

    Equity & Justice
    Addressing work championing equity, justice, access, diversity, and inclusion in education and beyond, including social and economic disparities, culturally responsive teaching, anti-racism practice, LGBTQ+ issues, and more to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes for all

    Global Impact
    Programs and initiatives exploring the importance of global collaboration in education and beyond including international instructional approaches and business ventures, language acquisition and ESL/ELL instruction, program implementation across borders, global partnerships, cross-cultural initiatives, and more

    Policy & Civic Engagement
    Addressing education policy issues across local, regional, national, and international governance including funding and standards, student data use, school safety, and digital policies, as well as economic development, advocacy and activism, and government partnerships

    Practice & Pedagogy
    Content focused on instruction and pedagogy across the entire learning lifecycle with a focus on innovative teaching and learning, and institutional transformation, with topics including instructional best practices for all educational levels and evolving curricula, leadership practice, and groundbreaking insights

    SEL & Wellness
    Furthering social emotional learning and whole-child education including initiatives addressing mental and physical wellness, trauma-informed practices, and health education with a focus on mental health initiatives for educators, students, and families

    Work Reimagined
    Programs and new approaches to upskilling, corporate learning, and talent development, including workforce revitalization and training, and career transitions, as well as initiatives for mature learners and non-traditional students

    Diversity Guidelines


    Speaker diversity plays an extremely important role in the PanelPicker decision-making process.

    The most interesting sessions are ones that include many different perspectives. When choosing speakers keep in mind these basic diversity guidelines.

    All sessions with 3 or more speakers should include:

    • Diversity in gender
    • Diversity in ethnicity
    • Diversity in location and employment of speakers
    • Diversity in thought and opinion

    We understand that some sessions work best with full representation of a particular group and will review these on a case by case basis.

    Selection Process


    SXSW EDU 2022 PanelPicker VotingAll ideas received during the PanelPicker entry period will be posted online for community voting. It’s as easy as “review, comment, and vote” to help shape SXSW EDU programming.

    Community Votes: 30%
    Who knows what you want to see at SXSW EDU better than you? Your input is very important in terms of shaping the look and feel of the event.

    SXSW EDU Advisory Board: 40%
    A group of industry experts from around the world, the SXSW EDU Advisory Board provides significant feedback on all entries.

    SXSW EDU Staff: 30%
    With years of experience programming this event, SXSW EDU staffers work to fill any gaps in relevant subject matter, striking a balance between new and veteran speakers.

    Stay Involved

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    We are always interested in connecting with the community. For general inquiries check out our FAQ or contact our team.

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