Connecting leaders across the learning lifecycle and around the world, SXSW EDU serves as a melting pot for the latest approaches to education. From more than 1,500 proposals received in PanelPicker to applicants for our startup and design competitions, we review a diverse array of content aligned to some of the biggest trends today. What follows is a curated list of the top 10 trends impacting teaching and learning as exhibited in the programming at SXSW EDU 2019. At a high level, this year’s trends represent a human-centered approach to empowering both the educator and student to define their own learning pathway.

AI, XR, & Blockchain: A New Era in EdTech
The advancement of emerging technology is laying the foundation for a new age of learning. With virtual worlds being built to extend the classroom and embedded AI to better track student development, experiential technology provides a new level of immersion. Though still in the early days of direct application in education, blockchain promises to establish a new digital infrastructure to authenticate knowledge acquisition and track a lifetime of learner competencies. Collectively these new applications of tech are shifting its role in the classroom.

Related sessions:
AI Enabling Personalized Learning at Scale
Blockchain: Hype or Enabler for K-12 Data Privacy
Education Meets Blockchain and the Sharing Economy

Culturally Responsive Curriculum
The most effective educators have the ability to build inclusive learning environments that act as safe spaces for students, from all backgrounds, to learn and develop. Culturally relevant pedagogy is grounded in a mindset that empowers both educators and learners to navigate the uncomfortable, foster confidence, and develop deeper thinking through open and authentic interactions.

Related sessions:
Belonging, Culture, & School: Student Perspectives
Culturally Responsive Educators
Race, Social Media & the Role of Schools

Future of Assessment & Accountability
From Common Core to the SAT, the call for accountability is moving away from the drivers of the past two decades as we look to reflect the more holistic attributes of student development and grapple with the adverse impact of high-stakes testing. With data collection on the rise and the push for interoperability to better align reporting, there is an opportunity to capture competency through new and unique methods.

What are this year's top ed trends at SXSW EDU?

Related sessions:
Analyze Act Reflect: A Refreshed Approach to Data
Beyond Rubrics: Embedded Assessment in Making
Playful Assessment: Don’t Stop the Fun

Inclusive Practice & Universal Design
Intentional and accessible practices that are designed for individual learners are being widely adopted by schools and educators. While inclusive learning practices have been present for some time, the educational framework and learning science research behind them continues to advance our progress towards effectively supporting students with a wide range of backgrounds and needs.

Related sessions:
Inclusive Coding for Kids With Special Needs
Moving the Needle on K-12 Accessibility
UDL: Designing for Learner Variability

Learning Science in Action
Translating research into actionable, evidence-based practice is essential as educators and institutions implement new learning models. Just as the drive for efficacy research has illuminated the power and pitfalls of technology, so too has learning science research supported best practices for learning. The applications of new research from fields like neuroscience and psychology, paired with the growth of learning analytics, provides a new opportunity to create better-aligned learning pathways for students.

Related sessions:
Active Learning for Engagement and Effectiveness
Learning Sciences and Edtech: Uncovering the Facts
Leveraging Technology to Make Expert Teachers

About the Author:

As the SXSW EDU general manager, Greg Rosenbaum is involved in many aspects of the event from programming and production to marketing and messaging. He has worked on the event since it first launched and loves every minute of it.


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