PanelPicker® is the official online platform that serves as an open call for proposals, where educators, thought leaders, and industry professionals can submit their session ideas for consideration for the SXSW EDU program.

Spellebrities of the Scripps National Spelling Bee - SXSW EDU 2023 - Photo by Will Blake



PanelPicker® is the official online platform that enables the community to propose programming ideas for SXSW EDU, March 4-7, 2024.

Proposals for SXSW EDU 2024 are entered during the submission window. Then, PanelPicker re-opens for public voting, allowing the public to review, vote on, and provide feedback on all ideas entered.

PanelPicker Proposal Grade

The final decision is derived from SXSW EDU Advisory Board evaluations (40%), public voting (30%), and staff review (30%).

Important Dates

Tuesday, June 27 - PanelPicker Opens
Sunday, July 23 - PanelPicker Closes
Tuesday, August 8 – PanelPicker Community Voting Opens
Sunday, August 20 – PanelPicker Community Voting Closes



The application form is divided into six steps and PanelPicker allows you to save and continue as you go. Click on the “More Info” buttons throughout the application for helpful tips and guidelines.

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. 60 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 and home in on the specifics of your content.
  • Clearly identify the intended audience for your session, as well as the background knowledge required to help attendees understand who will benefit most from your session and further refine your session goals.

Step 3: Description & Takeaways

Describe your session content (max. 600 characters including spaces) and session takeaways (max. 150 characters each including spaces). Accurately define the comprehensive focus of your idea in a compelling manner and provide three specific and concrete learnings that attendees will gain from attending your session. The SXSW EDU community looks for actionable insights that they can implement in their own work and development. 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
  • Please note that learning objectives are optional for Meet Up proposals only, as the Meet Up format is NOT presentation-based.

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. Please enable closed captioning for any videos you include and make sure they are publicly viewable.

Step 5: Speakers

Speakers are an important part of your proposal and play a large role in the evaluation of your idea. 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 panel 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 two (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.



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.


Conversation (60 min, 2 speakers)
An in-depth and rich dialogue in an interview or fireside chat format that discusses and dissects work and insights on a particular topic, followed by audience Q&A

Meet Up (60 min, 1-2 speakers)
A speaker-facilitated networking event that encourages communities to connect around similar topics, passions, roles, or interests. Please note this is NOT a presentation-based session format.

Panel (60 min, 3-4 speakers)
A dynamic and diverse discussion offering multiple viewpoints on a particular topic, followed by audience Q&A

Performance (90 min, 1+ speakers)
A musical, theatrical, storytelling, dance, poetry, or other performance that includes a workshop or extended Q&A to reflect on the value of the performing arts as a vehicle for deeper learning and offer takeaways for the audience

Podcast (60 min, 2-4 speakers)
For media organizations and existing podcasts, a conversation on topics across the education landscape, recorded in front of a live audience to be used as a future episode

Solo (30 min, 1 speaker)
A short solo presentation highlighting new and emerging ideas, followed by audience Q&A

Workshop (90 min, 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 neurodiversity, and disabilities across the learning lifecycle including adaptive 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, media creation, and the intersection of STEM and STEAM as well as narrative and world-building approaches for teaching and learning

Community Initiatives
Programs and projects focused on empowering and connecting communities in and out of the classroom by highlighting partnerships and work organized by community spaces and groups including libraries, museums, makerspaces, community centers, after-school and summer programs, informal learning programs, and more

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

Future of Tech
Exploring development and implementation of educational technology including virtual tools, generative artificial intelligence, machine learning, XR, blockchain, and data interoperability, with a focus on issues surrounding equitable access to technology and future-forward solutions for tech integration

Global Initiatives
Programs and initiatives exploring the importance of global collaboration in education and beyond including international instructional approaches and business ventures, language learning and ESL/ELL instruction, program implementation across borders, global partnerships, issues impacting refugee and immigrant learners, cross-cultural initiatives, and more

Health & Wellbeing
Furthering social emotional learning, whole-child education, and human flourishing including initiatives addressing mental and physical wellness, trauma-informed practices, and health education with a focus on mental health initiatives and comprehensive wellbeing for educators, students, and families

Leadership for Tomorrow
Groundbreaking insights spotlighting work in leadership development and institutional transformation with topics including organizational management, executive leadership, systemic implementation, pathway creation across the education sector, and educator development and support

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

Startups & Investment
Content focused on the business of education with a focus on entrepreneurship and startups, with topics including investment and funding, marketing and branding strategies, corporate initiatives and partnerships, market trends and analysis, and business adaptability

Teaching & Learning
Content focused on instruction and pedagogy across the entire learning lifecycle with a focus on solution-oriented strategies, innovative teaching, learner agency, and child development, with topics including instructional best practices for all educational levels and evolving curricula, the science of learning, creative pedagogies, and communities of practice

Work Reimagined
Programs and new approaches to professional development, upskilling, corporate learning, and talent development, including workforce revitalization, training, and career transitions, as well as initiatives for mature learners, pathways for non-traditional students, and how the future of work will impact new generations of students



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.



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.

Each proposal entered through PanelPicker goes through a three-step review process:

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.


Apply to Participate

Be part of SXSW EDU 2024. Explore the various opportunities available, along with the deadlines to apply.


Interested in Marketing at SXSW EDU?

Contact a SXSW EDU representative for more information on marketing opportunities that fit your organization's goals.

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