Sessions and Workshops

Photo by Sheila Moore

Daytime sessions and workshops make up the bulk of the conference program at SXSWedu and are crowdsourced by community members via PanelPicker. This content is presented through a variety of category formats explained below.

Session Formats

Session formats are used to communicate the various presentation formats at SXSWedu. Formats differ in duration and levels of audience participation. Attendees are encouraged to participate in multiple formats for a dynamic experience during their time at SXSWedu.

The following formats are an hour in length unless otherwise stated.

Closing Program occurs on a single stage and capstones the week of learning at SXSWedu. (varied duration)

Debates provide a platform for constructive, moderated discussion between two leaders of opposing viewpoints.

Featured Sessions are broadly aligned with overarching themes and trending topics. Featured speakers are thought-leaders in education, invited to inspire, and inform.

Future15s are short, focused presentations structured in a rapid-fire format to deliver six compelling talks within a two-hour period. (15 minutes per speaker)

Keynotes are the apex of each day’s programming and present well-regarded leaders extending the frontiers of education.

PANELSPlayground Talks are hosted within the SXSWedu Playground and highlight discovery-based learning activities. (30 minutes)

Panel Discussions provide a diverse conversation around a particular topic, including audience Q&A.

Solo Presentations allow a single speaker to dive deep into their presentation topic and share valuable insights with attendees.


Core Conversations allow discussion leaders to facilitate an informal and open dialogue with attendees around a particular topic. Attend these sessions ready to share your insights.

Mentors represent experts in their field who engage in one-on-one meetings with a number of attendees seeking advice. (10 minutes per meeting)

Playground Hands On experiences showcase a particular idea within the SXSWedu Playground. (30 minutes)

Summits will typically last longer than a traditional session or workshop; they will offer attendees a variety of voices and a highly customized format that will stimulate actionable outcomes. (varied durations)


Workshops offer an in-depth, instructional program covering a particular idea or topic that supports hands-on engagement. Workshops have a longer, two-hour format to provide ample time for attendees to engage in fruitful discussions and take home valuable skills. (120 minutes)

Problem Solvers offer an interactive exercise designed to address a prevalent challenge that is briefly summarized at the beginning of the session. Leaders will facilitate a two-hour attendee engagement for a number of small groups to work on possible solutions and present their findings. (120 minutes)

Photo by Sheila Moore