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Join us at SXSW EDU 2024

We are thrilled to attend SXSW EDU 2024 alongside our partners. Come learn how we’re amplifying solutions from the ground up by stopping by our lounge or visiting us at conference sessions!

Full Session Descriptions

Welcome to the Education Entrepreneur Revolution

Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC

Taking the leap into education entrepreneurship can be scary. But what if you were leaping towards a community of entrepreneurs who were ready to mentor, support, and celebrate you? Across the country, education entrepreneurs are reimagining what community and collaboration can look like, working across lines of difference to collectively build hubs of education innovation. Join VELA to learn more about the entrepreneurs who are building new out-of-system ecosystems where everyone is welcome.

 

Is the Education System Broken or Working as Intended?

Austin Convention Center, Room 17ABC

Popular media across the country regularly declares that the American education system is “broken.” But what if many of today’s problems are the result of intentional plans that were executed decades – or even a century – ago? Join us to learn about the history of American education – from educational redlining, how schools are funded, and how kids are grouped and sorted – and how these issues harm kids today. As the saying goes, those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.

 

The Future of Education: I’ll Build It Myself

Austin Convention Center, Room 12ABC

The future of education is full of reimagined spaces of learning: co-ops, forest schools, self-directed learning centers, and more. At the heart of this work are the entrepreneurs creating new learning environments and the ecosystem builders inventing the tools to support their vision. Learn how different entrepreneurs moved from having a big idea about what education can look like to bringing it to life with the support of innovative tools and practices.

 

Investing in innovation: We’ve been getting it wrong for decades—here’s how to get it right.

Presented by: Clayton Christensen Institute | Lounge, Hilton 602

Industrial-style schooling is incapable of addressing the diverse needs of today’s learners. To address this challenge, major influencers across the education landscape—including philanthropies, advocacy organizations, and school system leaders—are putting critical money and effort behind piecemeal initiatives marketed to help K-12 education innovate. To some extent, these efforts produce marginal improvements. But if the goal is to transform student learning, they largely miss the mark. The big question is: Why? In this session, Thomas Arnett, a senior research fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute and expert on disruptive innovation, will reveal where innovation investments can and can’t move the needle, and why this understanding will not only save the field millions in lost dollars and years of time, but ultimately bring student learning into the future.

 

Turn Your Classroom Into a Creative Destruction Playground

Presented by: Empowered | Austin Convention Center, Room 5ABC

Experience the transformative power of innovation with a hands-on activity for teachers. Participants will use design thinking to explore how chaos and destruction pave a path to creative breakthroughs that can reshape any product for the better. Teachers can use this activity to pinpoint target markets, decipher market signals, and create value for others. Students will learn the transformative potential of empathy-driven innovation and how they can contribute their skills and gifts to improve the world.

 

No Monolith: Just For Us, By Us

Presented by: Black Minds Matter | Lounge, Hilton 602

Black education entrepreneurs are uniquely poised to deliver the alternatives Black families want. Some founders are sticking with traditional academic offerings, but about half are putting more emphasis on Black history and culture, and nearly two thirds are offering a different approach to curriculum and/or pedagogy. Tech-based. Nature- based. A school that’s focused on social justice. Reggio Emilia style. In the growing community of Black school founders, we are no monolith. Black school founders have created an incredibly diverse array of schools and learning options.

 

Calling all Aspiring Education Entrepreneurs!

Presented by: Stand Together Trust | Lounge, Hilton 602

Interested in launching your own microschool, learning center, pod, or something else? Across the country, organizations are emerging that support aspiring founders with coaching, community, capital, and other resources. Join us to meet these groups, learn more about the services they provide, and see how you can take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey.

 

Teaching Economic Concepts in Your Classroom from a Tennis Ball Factory

Presented by: Empowered | Lounge, Hilton 602

Interested in launching your own microschool, learning center, pod, or something else? Across the country, organizations are emerging that support aspiring founders with coaching, community, capital, and other resources. Join us to meet these groups, learn more about the services they provide, and see how you can take the next step in your entrepreneurial journey.