I have been in Austin the past few days attending the South by Southwest EDU conference (sxswedu) for my first time. I wasn't sure what this conference would be, and by day 3, I am still figuring out what this was.
This was definitely an interesting conference. The majority of panel speakers and attendees were start-up companies looking to discuss how their projects could help educators. Now you may think that this would be a great conversation we should be having but there really wasn't very much dialogue between panelists and audience. I am hopeful that this is improved for future conferences. The idea of having the dialog between the media, the start-ups, the companies, and the educators who use products is one that I find is missing in other circles.
As someone who values the true partnership between my sponsors and vendors, I look forward to sharing our needs with those who are working to build products to help us. It is rare to be involved in these types of conversations though. The other conferences have exhibit halls where I feel I get sales-pitched to death. SxSWEDU had no exhibit hall. In fact, the only showcase of product was in the LaunchEDU sessions where brand new start-ups had 3 minutes to present their idea to a panel for endorsement by SxSWEDU.
But this conference definitely didn't have the barrier between vendor and user like others do. By letting us meet and talk with the REAL people who make up the companies, it definitely opened my eyes up to an entire new social network of sharing. I gained about 80 new followers on Twitter in only 2 days while adding about 30 for me to follow!
My other posts will be more about what I learned here but I thought I would give definition to SXSWEDU first.