Notes from South by Southwest
We’re proud to be on the leading edge of educational innovation at The New School. As new research is conducted and published, we want to be a part of that conversation. One of The New School’s Co-Founders, Elizabeth Strickler, Associate Director of the Digital Arts Entertainment Lab at Georgia State University, recently spent some time in Austin, TX, at SXSWedu, the part of the SXSW family of conferences that focuses on education.
Elizabeth’s post from SXSWedu is below. In it, she’s thinking hard about the technology that our students are going to use, and how they are going to use it.
On the Right Trajectory
Before the excitement and crowds of SXSW Interactive, Film and Music Conferences descend upon Austin, there is a more sober and smaller (but exponentially growing) conference dedicated to education, SXSWedu. For four intense days, technology and software companies look to disrupt education with dazzling innovations, while educators reimagine their curricula, students and teaching philosophies in conjunction with these innovations.
All of this great energy focused on teaching and learning was exciting, overwhelming and deeply inspiring. There were fabulous examples of how to structure project based learning from engineering academies, innovation centers and education engineers. Deep discussions on the future of work and the sorts of traits and skills a happy and successful person in 2020 would need. Excellent advice and demonstrations on how to start and sustain a makerspace and encourage hands-on learning. One of my goals was to solidify an approach to technology in the learning environment for The New School.
The main themes throughout the panels, lectures, workshops and twittersphere largely embodied the Maker Movement Manifesto of make, share, give, learn, tool up, play, participate, support and change. What I learned reinforced and helped us refine the way we expect technology to be used at The New School. And, it turns out that the traits we value and hope for our students are the exact same traits we desire of the technology they use: flexible, connected, human-centered and secure.
Flexible because the projects we work on will change. And the devices and technology will change too. Often. The technology students arrive at TNS with will be as varied as the students. So our approach to technology must be flexible. We will encourage efficient and useful tools, which will be as variable as our projects. Flexible technology and a flexible approach to technology enables making, learning, playing and changing.
Connected to the cloud and internet so our students can reach their data for anytime, anywhere learning. This allows the student to be mobile and able to work “in the field”. Social so our students can collaborate on projects with their peers, mentors and community partners. Connected enables making, sharing and participating,
Human centered means that the project comes first and the technology is the tool. With a design thinking approach to projects, using empathy, creativity and rationality, our technology will service our students. Putting solutions ahead of the technology will enable: giving, supporting, and making.
Secure because students must know they are in a safe and secure place if they are willing to experiment and fail. Even if our students have to create the encryption codes themselves, we are dedicated to end to end security as this is an increasingly important skill for the future.