SXSWEdu: Day 1 Highlights

Quick thoughts on SXSWEdu before diving into day 2:

Author at SXSWedu

Author at SXSWedu

The New Edtech Ecosystem: Will it Survive?

  • Level of technical talent in the edtech space has really increased in the last 2 years
  • Key for edtech is to get the “right student the right lesson at the right time”
  • Many “busy” areas with lots of competition (Math apps, tutoring) where no one has “nailed it”
  • Rocketship Education feels that partnerships with edtech companies that are willing to work together with them are key
  • Similarly, having a good feedback loop with your customers is very important
  • The jury’s still out on the “freemium” model of revenue
  • Large textbook companies are probably going to be unable to adapt to edtech, despite their best efforts to buy/partner/incubate

Personalized Learning Systems: Worth the Hype?

  • Current personalized learning systems are missing the mark on access, true personalization, getting quick feedback to teachers and students, and using the latest cognitive research
  • Currently they are also expensive to create, not scalable across domains of knowledge, and fragile (not easy to update)
  • Learners are often “bad” at learning (want quick, easy methods; have poor metacognitive monitoring and so they don’t understand whether they actually know something). We need personalized learning systems that are designed to help with this
  • Interesting possibilities combining machine learning and principles of cognitive science may be on the horizon

Breaking the Mold: New Models for Learning K-20

  • Shifting to competency-based blended learning models in K-20 education may have big benefits in terms of cost and achieving student success
  • Many of the “old ways” are barriers to innovation (seat time/Carnegie units, old funding models)
  • Expect big changes to staffing models!


  • The chairs in the Google lounge are awesome!

SXSWedu attendees: What are you looking forward to today? Sessions, meet ups? Tell us in the comment section.

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