Four Things We're Looking Forward to at SXSW

By Emily Gasper

When you think of conferences that have a big impact, South by Southwest (SXSW) may come to mind. Held each year in Austin, SXSW draws attendees from all over the world to collaborate and connect over music, film, technology, education, and more. Perhaps one of the most dynamic and highly anticipated conferences there is, SXSW is an excellent environment for educators to connect over a shared goal: the future of education. 

This year, the Great Minds team is excited to pack up our cowboy boots and head to Austin to participate in SXSW EDU, and we hope to see you there! (Even if you’re not attending the conference, you can follow the conversation on social media by following #SXSWEDU and #ArtBuildsKnowledge.)

Here are the top four things the Great Minds team is looking forward to at SXSW EDU 2018:

1. Connecting with educators from all over the world

SXSW EDU takes networking to the next level by attracting educators with many different backgrounds—higher education, K–12, and nonprofits, to name a few. Woven into the sessions, meetups, mentoring sessions, and happy hours are plenty of chances to make authentic connections with other educators. We’re particularly excited to hear your challenges, success stories, and top aspirations for 2018, which you can share with us on Twitter!

2. Discovering new ways to have a positive impact in the classroom, starting Monday

Do you tend to return home from conferences reinvigorated and ready to implement what you’ve learned? We do, too. SXSW is an excellent opportunity not only to sit in on sessions, but also to have hands-on experiences where you can learn strategies to can bring to the classroom as soon as Monday. (If you go to the EDU Playground, find us at Booth 37!) Perhaps even more importantly, you’ll likely leave SXSW EDU with big ideas for beyond Monday—for this year, next year, and the future of education as a whole.

3. Being inspired to make a difference in society

As educators, we know that our jobs are about more than teaching the material. We also contribute to the bigger picture: creating genuine connections, making a difference in students’ lives, cultivating the skills that students need to be successful, and ultimately impacting our students’ futures. This feeling of inspired empowerment is always in the air at SXSW EDU. And with the conference’s specified tracks like art, equity, early learning, curriculum design, and more, it’s easy to immerse yourself in a variety of inspiration!

4. Hosting a session on the power of art in literacy education

Perhaps the moment the Great Minds team is looking forward to most is our session, Engaging the Eye. Wit & Wisdom teacher–writer Rachel Zindler will be sharing insights on how to empower all students—particularly English learners and striving readers—to master literacy skills through close examination of visual art. Join us on Monday, March 5, at 11:00 a.m. in the Austin Convention Center Room 19B to learn more.


Are you heading to SXSW EDU 2018? Let us know on Twitter what sessions, speakers, and ideas you’re most looking forward to this year. Plus, join our Engaging the Eye session and stop by the EDU Playground Booth 37 to meet the Great Minds curriculum experts. We’ll see you in Austin!