South By music festival emphasizes education program

Shreya Banerjee

While South By Southwest is traditionally advertised as an entertainment festival, organizers of the annual event also want to focus on the importance of fostering educational reforms and advancements with SXSWedu.

Ron Reed, director of SXSWedu, said he decided to create the conference in order to converge the creative arts and the art of teaching. The first SXSWedu conference took place in 2011 prior to the entertainment event. The 2012 SXSWedu conference will be held from March 6 to 8, featuring confirmed keynote speaker and famed actor LeVar Burton, who is actively involved in digital learning.

Reed spoke to the Students Association for Learning Technologies about how students can get involved in SXSWedu’s 2012 conference. SALT was formed last spring as a way to develop communication among graduate students in instructional technology.

“Since SXSWedu is in our backyard, we wanted to get involved and make connections, so we got in contact with them to come speak,” said SALT co-founder Janice Rios.

Reed encouraged students in SALT to participate in the SXSWedu conference to raise awareness about the increasing importance of technology in education. Reed said he hopes to expand the 2012 conference to include many facets of education, such as research and development.

“Education is experiencing the same shifts as other fields,” Reed said. “Educators have to practice creative art to a much tougher audience. I hope that SXSWedu will expand so that the community will dominate the conference and drive the discussion.”

Reed also offered the members of SALT opportunities to intern and volunteer with the SXSWedu conference so that they could gain experience and have an opportunity to make connections with other members of the education field.

“I am excited about what I heard today,” said third year instructional technology doctorate student Anita Harvin. “It’s a great platform to learn about education reform when you have outside entities who can take education to the next level.”

Printed on Thursday, October 27, 2011 as: SXSW organizers focus on education