Hope for Education: South By SouthWest Education Conference


Imagine a world where all the problems of the US education system were solved, and we were restored to being the leader in the global education race. Costs are cut while efficiency is improved,  technology is used for accelerating learning, the inequities for impoverished children are obliterated, students are motivated and teachers are supported.

Last week I visited that world – it was a mind blowing and hopeful experience.

I attended at the 3rd annual South by Southwest Education Conference and Festival in Austin where educators, researchers, policy makers, business people and technologists met to exchange and debate innovations and ideas. I attended about 15 sessions led by thought leaders that covered topics ranging from a principal from Detroit sharing lessons learned from her ground-breaking work with pregnant teens to a closing keynote by Bill Gates.

I left feeling all of our challenges could be addressed by applying and integrating the innovations that already exist and here are five examples that you can explore yourself:

1. The Acton Academy A new K-12 alternative school in Austin where kids have fun, no homework, no tests AND has breakthrough results.

2. The Acton School – A immersion MBA program for entrepreneurship that costs 1/4 of most MBA programs and has 94% of its recent graduates employed.

3. Crash Course – A fun youtube channel that makes learning fun and celebrates nerdiness.

4. Teaching Channel – A place for teachers to see best practices from real teachers on video, be inspired and collaborate.

5. Classroom Inc. – A not for profit dedicated to closes the achievement gap by providing career discovery and core skills through innovative games.

To learn more about the conference and access video some of the sessions go here.

Laurel Donnellan

Chief Creative Officer, Bright Livelihoods

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