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What to See at SXSW EDU 2023


SXSW EDU 2022 (photo by Steve Rogers)

Each year, the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival convenes practitioners, policymakers, and dreamers for an exploration of the future of education. Coming to Austin March 6-9, the event for education and industry professionals will offer a diverse array of workshops, mentoring opportunities, film screenings, competitions, performances and other learning experiences designed to deliver inspiration, connection, and meaning.

SXSW EDU 2023 offers more than 300 in-person sessions plus an Expo space showcasing innovations in learning — so there's truly something for everyone. We sifted through the program to identify the most noteworthy sessions focused on key issues in higher education and IT. Here are our top picks:

Must-see: Trending in Education: Learning Trends March Madness 2023 (March 6, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT)
The draw: Emerging trends battle it out NCAA bracket style in a panel discussion about the importance of storytelling, diverse perspectives, breakthrough thinking and more.

Must-see: What Is Educators' Role in Student Mental Health? (March 6, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. CT)
The draw: Hear directly from students about how their mental health has impact their college experience, and unpack educators' role in supporting students who are struggling.

Must-see: The Success Business: How Universities Must Adapt (March 6, 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT)
The draw: George Mason University President Gregory Washington proposes a new education infrastructure to help students reach their academic and career goals, ranging from entrepreneurship and research supports to certificate programs and 2-, 3- or 4-year plans.

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Must-see: CourseGateway: The Path to Equitable Education (March 7, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT)
The draw: Educause is hosting a meet-up to learn more about CourseGateway, a tool for discovering, evaluating, and selecting high-quality, equity-centered courseware for high-enrollment introductory-level undergraduate courses.

Must-see: Confessions of a College Mascot (March 7, 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. CT)
The draw: Matt Weber, chief creative officer at the University of Virginia, shares an unusual story of building community in the face of remote work and learning.

Must-see: The Future of Learning in the Metaverse (March 7, 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT)
The draw: XR futurist Maya Georgieva, senior director of the Innovation Center at The New School, breaks down how developments such as the metaverse will reshape the educational landscape.

Must-see: Shark Tank: Edu Edition (March 7, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CT)
The draw: Get inspired by this pitch fest of transformative ideas from new companies, nonprofits, and big dreamers, all geared toward improving the college experience.

Must-see: Investor Talk: Skills, Employability, & Pathways (March 8, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. CT)
The draw: Education and social impact investors discuss the emerging technologies they believe have the potential to bridge the divide between education and employment.

Must-see: Engaging Learners to Improve Career Outcomes (March 8, 3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. CT)
The draw: XPRIZE has set its sights on revolutionizing the future of work with XPRIZE Rapid Reskilling, a 30-month competition to “quickly reskill under-resourced workers for the digital revolution.”

Must-see: The Higher Ed Geek Podcast: Right Sizing the University (March 9, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. CT)
The draw: Panelists discuss how to adapt the various components of an institution to suit a constantly changing landscape. What does that look like in practice? Engaging students by converting computer labs into esports arenas, integrating chatbots, leveraging the metaverse, and more.

Advance registration is $595 (walk-up rate is $696). Prices increase after February 2. For more information, visit the SXSW EDU site.

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected].

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