We at Compass Learning enjoy having our student bloggers visit to give their perspective on SXSWedu every year. For the past few years, we have had one student blogger return to give her insights on the conference. Logan Kramer, now a senior at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy high school in Austin has been a contributing student blogger for Compass Learning over the past 3 years. We would like to wish Logan the best in her future endeavors and thank her for her contributions as she gets ready to take her next steps. Below is her reflection piece from this year’s SXSWedu.
From 8:15-3:40 every weekday for about nine months a year, I sit in school. But perhaps surprisingly, the only time that I’m ever challenged to think about those hours I spend being educated is during SXSWedu. For the past three years, I’ve been a student blogger with Compass Learning, sharing my insights as a student at SXSWedu on the Navigator blog and on social media. I have so many takeaways from my experiences, but to sum it all up I have one wish.
I wish that more students could be involved in SXSWedu.
Being at SXSWedu opened my eyes to the world of education in a way I had never before experienced. SXSWedu is where innovation in education happens. Big ideas are shared that will shape the future of education through new technologies, teaching strategies, and school models.
I felt lucky to have the chance to bring a student voice to these conversations, because as so many speakers pointed out throughout the week, students need to be at the heart of everything we do in education.
During the conference it was immensely inspiring to be surrounded some of the most visionary minds in the education sphere, from entrepreneurs with unique ideas about EdTech to educators who are innovating within their own classrooms.
These entrepeneurs, educators, and others were fascinated to hear that I was a student blogger with Compass Learning. Many wanted to know what I thought about the conference given that I came from a perspective completely different than their own. Throughout SXSWedu this year, I discovered the future of education as explained by Jane McGonigal, learned about efforts being created to end sexual assault on college campuses, saw pitches from education start-ups going head-to-head to win funding, and more.
Each of these topics was fascinating to me in their own right because I can directly relate to them as a student. For instance, the first session I attended encouraged attendees to use the design thinking process to imagine ways that high schools can best prepare their students for the workforce. I sat at my table as the youngest by many years, surrounded by educators, a woman creating her own start-up, and others working for education non-profits. Each of them were passionate about education and about creating solutions that work better for students. When it came to creating a student “persona” we could empathize with during the design thinking exercise, I brought my own experiences to the table as a high school student with knowledge of my peers to help build an accurate representation of a student we could design a solution for. It was a chance for me to truly feel like my voice was heard at the conference, and I only wish that more students could have the same experience to help contribute to the work that happens at SXSWedu.