History

South by Southwest Education (SXSWedu) held its inaugural event in March 2011, with the goal of celebrating innovations in learning.

The first year SXSWedu event took place in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency which was launching Project Share, a statewide e-learning portal permitting Texas education professionals to connect, collaborate and access high-quality professional development online. SXSWedu highlighted Project Share as an example of the types of innovations in education it hoped to shine a light on in the future. Beginning primarily as a Texas K-12, the conference brought together more than 800 attendees to Austin that March. It was clear that there was tremendous energy to strategize on how best to modernize teaching and learning.

SXSWedu 2012 grew significantly, welcoming more than 2,000 attendees, including an expanded audience of higher education professionals. Representatives from virtually every state in the U.S. attended, as well as a number of international registrants. LAUNCHedu, an educational entrepreneurs competition modeled on the popular Accelerator program at other SXSW events, provided a vibrant forum for innovative startups to introduce their innovative goods and services. Keynote speakers in 2012 included Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as well as longtime producer and host of Reading Rainbow, Levar Burton.

In 2013, SXSWedu expanded still further to become the SXSWedu Conference & Festival. With an expanded array of concurrent sessions and workshops and a larger LAUNCHedu program, SXSWedu debuted several new initiatives including eduFILM, a Policy Forum and Makerspace, as well as a free and open to the public event, Future Plans, to support and celebrate central Texas students. Approximately 4,500 registrants were in attendance all of which were afforded the opportunity to engage with keynote speakers that included Bill Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It is increasingly clear that the power of the technology married with the passion and creativity of innovators and disruptors is fueling the same dramatic growth for SXSWedu that continues to drive interest and community engagement in each of SXSW’s family of conferences, including SXSW Music, Film and Interactive.

SXSWedu continues to expand its community and platform to connect and collaborate on the future of teaching and learning every March in Austin, Texas. We are humbled to host an event which celebrates educators as rock stars and provides a forum to meaningfully enhance the art of teaching and the importance of learning in an increasingly connected global landscape.