By Melissa Ripp, Director, PR & Communications
Flights booked? Check. Hotel rooms secured? Check. Full-access conference passes? Check. Next week, from March 6–9, 2017, Renaissance will be in Austin, Texas, for SXSWedu®.
For those not familiar with SXSWedu, it’s an offshoot of the popular SXSW festival that’s been held in Austin since the late 1980s. SXSWedu began in 2011, and since then, it’s been committed to fostering innovation in learning by hosting a passionate and diverse community of education stakeholders. The festival features four days of presentations, in-depth workshops, discussions, networking, and so much more. Last year, SXSWedu greeted nearly 14,000 educators, business and industry leaders, and stakeholders in the nonprofit and government arenas—and a few students, too!
I’m excited about SXSWedu for many reasons. First, this event has a reputation for being the place where bold and brave new ideas in education are unveiled. A quick glimpse at the list session titles, keynote speakers, and interactive workshops is enough to make anyone passionate about education swoon a little. With specific tracks on everything from data (student privacy, trends and predictions, ethics) and early learning (boosting curiosity, teaching STEM) to instruction (student empowerment, personalized learning) and learning spaces (build-your-own, outdoor tech instruction, maker spaces), you’ll have no shortage of things to learn. As someone who gets excited about every opportunity I have to be a student again, I can’t wait to settle in this weekend and figure out my conference schedule!
The other reason I’m excited is that we’ve been planning great events on behalf of Renaissance. We’ll be hosting several throughout the the week. Check out the descriptions below and make sure to stop by if you’re attending the conference.
Monday, March 6, 2017
7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Buffalo Billiards, 201 East 6th Street
To close out the first day in Austin, we’ll be hosting an opening-day party. Food and beverages will be plentiful as well as games like billiards, darts, and more in a laid-back pool hall in Austin’s historic Sixth Street district. Join us for a bit of fun and reflection on the first day’s events. All SXSWedu attendees are welcome!
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
JW Marriott, Griffin Hall
English language learners are the fastest-growing segment of the public school population, and according to the National Education Association (NEA), one in four public school students will be ELL students by 2025. There are plenty of challenges facing these students and their teachers, one of the biggest being assessment. Appropriate assessment helps teachers understand if students are making progress or struggling due to a language barrier.
Meaningful formative assessment, paired with a personalized learning model, can truly make a difference for ELL students, but how do we arm educators with what they need and create scalable solutions? Gene Kerns, Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance, will be speaking about personalized learning and how it can directly benefit ELL students.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Swift’s Attic, 315 Congress Avenue
Our Star Spanish launch fiesta will celebrate the only solution on the market that delivers real-time insight into a student’s capabilities in English and Spanish. We’re excited to show you what Star Spanish can help your students achieve. If you’ll be in the Austin area, we’d love to have you as our guest. You don’t have to be registered for SXSWedu to attend, but space is limited for this event, and you must register to attend. Click here to RSVP.
A week of learning and discovering? Check. My first-ever visit to Austin institution Torchy’s Tacos? Check. The opportunity to meet so many people who share my passion for education? Double check.
I hope to see you in Austin, but if you’re not attending this year, I’ve got you covered! Be on the lookout for another blog from me after the event, where I’ll be giving a rundown of what I learned and what caught my eye at this year’s conference. And be sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter at @RenLearnUS, where I’ll be live-tweeting some of my adventures throughout the week.
Speaking of social media, we’re excited to announce that we’re hosting a Twitter chat with EdSurge (@EdSurge) during SXSWedu as well—on Tuesday, March 7, at 7:00 p.m. CST, to be exact. EdSurge will be leading this chat—Renaissance will moderate—about personalized learning and what it looks like in the classroom. To participate, follow EdSurge on Twitter, and when questions are posted during the chat, reply back with the hashtag #edsurgechat.
If you’re attending SXSWedu this year, what are you looking forward to learning about? Will we see you? If you’re not attending, what are you hoping gets covered? Do you plan to attend next year? Let us know in the comments!
Keep up with our SXSWedu plans and all things Renaissance by subscribing to the Renaissance newsletter.
Melissa Ripp is the Director of PR & Communications at Renaissance. She is inspired every day by the stories she hears about amazing educators doing amazing things in their classrooms and schools. When she’s not at the office, Melissa enjoys running, watching documentaries, and has a soft spot in her heart for old buildings, vintage signage, and street art.