By Katie Ford
It’s that time of year when people across the entertainment and technology industries get excited for the South by Southwest festivals and conferences in Austin, TX. In addition to the hugely popular Music, Film and Interactive events this year, the Education gathering (SXSWedu) is coming into its own with a national focus, bigger names, more attendees and new social elements.
Why is 2013 the year for edu to evolve from Texas-focused education conference to national festival? Because we’ve reached the tipping point for education innovation. The buzz around education technology has reached a dull roar. Some are even warning of an ed tech bubble. The fact that we are even discussing the possibility of a bubble-that there is reason to be concerned that the innovation community is too excited about K-12-would have been laughable just a few years ago. Not because there wasn’t money flowing to education technology back then, but it wasn’t going to places that seemed to have game-changing potential.
Visibly, the tablet craze that has put cool hardware in the hands of teachers and students and is causing everyone in education to rethink what learning content looks like and how it is delivered. Behind the scenes, inBloom (client) is working in partnership with dozens of companies and 9 states to solve some of the underlying problems that have made ed tech painful to work with and expensive to implement in the past. These partners include established household names with long track-records of helping kids learn (PBS, Scholastic) along with fast growing startup darlings such as Clever.
There are important conversations to be had around the right way to make these big improvements to public schools, and that is why I’m excited to see SXSWedu convening a growing subset of the community. If you can’t attend yourself, watch this blog for updates and wrap-ups of all the big moments, including Bill Gates’ closing keynote. You can also follow me on twitter @k8e4d and the rest of the SXSWedu chatter at these top 12 recommended handles.