SXSWedu Ended With Great Success

I just spent the last three days in Austin at the inaugural SXSWedu conference. Much different from the TCEA event, the focus of this conference was Project Share. A couple of years ago the Texas legislature funded the creation of this learning management system that would provide students with an online digital portfolio and access to their coursework in a 24/7 environment. Project Share offers teachers and entire districts many tools and opportunities to enrich their curriculum and provide students with unprecedented access to their coursework. The sessions offered covered a variety of topics. Some were strictly about Project Share, some offered resources available within Project Share or that could be incorporated into it, and some discussed the future of education which obviously included the seamless integration of technology. Several case studies were presented that documented the profound impact technology has on the curriculum. Check out this video that explains Project Share in detail:

A few notable sessions included:
Tom Burnett from Apple showing the rich content located in iTunes U. He highlighted a couple of specific categories to check out:
  • University of South Florida (USF) has a Lit2Go program in which they have created audio books of all of the classics, ready for download.
  • MIT has video of all of their lectures, most notably, physicist Walter Lewin.
  • The states of Virginia and Tennessee (Barnett's favorite) have created a wealth of content worth checking into.
Another session of particular interest was about developing Classroom Learning Networks. Modeled after the Personal Learning Networks, teachers can create these with their students using Twitter, and social bookmarks like Delicious or Diigo,along with subscribing to some blogs of experts in the field of the topic at hand. This session was led by two communications professors from St. Edward's University, Corinne Weisgerber and a fellow colleague. A fascinating topic, this session was filled with lots of possibilities.

Another session that proved interesting detailed a resource that has been built into Project Share by PBS. June 1st of this year, PBS will be launching a new resource website, Digital Learning Library, that will be aligned to 20 of the state's standards. This new resource has been launched first through Project Share in the Content Repository tab and is currently available. Check it out; once a topic search is enacted, it is the tab next to the New York Times resources. There are some incredible assets included here. 

The last session I wanted to mention was one I did not attend, but that received a lot of Twitter activity. One blogger, EdTechSandyK did attend and I wanted to include information from this session. It covered Dynamic Digital Portfolios. Sandy included some detailed notes from the session along with resource links and a link to the Prezi.

This was an incredible conference with stimulating dialogue. I am in hopes of returning next least if I have a job.

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