Friday, February 28, 2014

SXSWedu preparations

Yesterday, I was asked how SXSWedu is different or compares to other conferences and why it may be more prone to start-ups. I had to think about it for a bit. And, then, I thought about target audiences.

In conferences like TCEA and even ISTE, the main audience is educators. When I attend sessions, I don't see a lot of vendors in those sessions or groups looking to start a company or organization. Rather, there are educators there to learn something to take back to their classroom or to connect with other educators. And, it's that basic principal of connecting that is the core foundation of SXSWedu.

In some ways, I get discouraged by SXSWedu and their selection of content and their organization of content. For instance, many workshops - which educators primarily attend - are scheduled on the same day at the same times. And, there is a large number of panels that don't always appear to educators. But, then, I ask - is the primary audience of SXSWedu educators? And, I don't think it is. Rather, I think it's a merger of tech and ed. The goal is not one of attending sessions, but of making connections and getting support for ideas to form.

So, as I enter SXSWedu, I enter with a different mindset - not of taking notes, but of making connections and of getting support for my innovative ideas. I would love to see more teachers attending SXSWedu, but I wonder if this focus lends itself toward getting that audience? For it to be the most successful, I believe it needs more educators - those who can give ideas credibility in the field.

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