Over the years, SXSW EDU has facilitated thousands of key conversations within the education community by hosting thought leaders from around the world each March. As the 2018 event approaches, we are excited to share several trends recognized in this year’s upcoming program. Whether it’s a panel, workshop, talk, or one of the many session types at the conference—we look forward to the important dialogue, connections, and collaborations that will take place.

Through the PanelPicker process this past summer, the community has submitted and chosen programming for this year’s event. The trends highlighted here echo what the community has brought forward as relevant and in need of discussion. Encompassing a variety of subject matters, the trends cover many different topics; however, there are shared commonalities throughout. At the core of many conversations is the effort to create accessible, engaging, personalized, and empowered learning.

For example, with frequently evolving technology inside and outside of the classroom, media literacy and the work taking place to help students identify credible information source stood out as one important topic we are seeing weaved throughout the program. Additionally, we have spotted a trend of educators taking the role as the lead learner which explores new pedagogy techniques and the opportunity for furthering professional development. Notably there is also a more prevalent movement in incorporating whole-student support through mindfulness and social emotional learning (SEL).

(Next page: What are the hot topics at this year’s SXSW EDU?)

Trends at the forefront of this year’s program not only address a number of challenges being faced in education today, but also lead the way to new growth opportunities. Here is a closer look at some of the top trends predicted to dominate discussions this March.

Accessibility and equity
Selected as one of 17 programming tracks for this year, there are more than 50 sessions on the schedule discussing equity. The featured session, How Educators Lead With Equity in Mind, will explore how educators can help revolutionize the teaching profession, with speaker José Luis Vilson from the New York City Department of Education.

Lead learners
In addition to hundreds of programs, more than 60 mentors will be present, making professional development an expansive opportunity at the event. As new implementation approaches take shape, teachers, principals, and administrators are serving as trailblazers in their communities. In the featured session Changing Guatemala One Dream at a Time, founder of Los Patojos, Juan Pablo Romero Fuentes will share insight on how he’s shaping the future of Guatemala’s children by applying a holistic lens to his approaches.

Media literacy
With more than 20 sessions on the schedule discussing media literacy, including the keynote What Hath We Wrought? with Microsoft researcher and author, danah boyd, it is clear that this topic is relevant amongst educators today. In an era when fake news has been on the rise, many sessions will be exploring how to address the issue. Also a part of the discussion will be how to give students the skills to determine whether or not an information source is credible.

Networks
Global networks are creating opportunities that support the efforts in place to provide accessibility and innovative solutions to challenges within education today. In the featured session, National Arts Networks and Stories of Impact, speakers Mario Rossero of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Hakim Bellamy of Beyond Poetry, LLC., will share impactful stories from a unique suite of national networks working to remove barriers to equity and access in arts learning.

Personalized learning
The technology of today and how it is being used in education has allowed more flexibility for the unique needs of learners and employers. The topics of competency-based, self-paced, and personalized learning will be explored at this year’s event with several sessions discussing the issue of employability and continuing education. In the featured session, Reinventing Corporate Education, CEO of edX, Anant Agarwal and Mark Cousino of Boeing will discuss if universities have a role in delivering better quality skill sets to the workforce.

Social emotional learning
Programming featuring SEL explores various implementation approaches as well as the benefits gained by students when emotional support is provided. With more than 15 sessions in the SEL track, the subject matter includes applying mindfulness practices to reduce stress and distractions. Also addressed is the overall effort to cultivate emotional intelligence, which can then be used by students in their future as they enter workplace settings.

Be a part of these key discussions surrounding this year’s trending topics at the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW EDU convenes and empowers a community of engaged stakeholders with a shared goal of impacting the future of teaching and learning.

About the Author:

Leslie Kelley, marketing associate for SXSW EDU, provides production support for marketing and digital media. With a bachelor of science in marketing management, she hopes to share interesting information with the SXSW EDU community.