Reflections from SXSWedu 2018

Remake Learning Director Sunanna Chand reflects on SXSWedu 2018, where the Remake Learning Network showed up in a big way.

Early March always means SXSWedu, one of the largest education conferences in the United States. Thousands of educators descend on Austin, and this year that included over 25 people from the Pittsburgh region, from higher education, philanthropy, schools, museums, libraries, edtech companies, and more.

Many of them were their to share their knowledge. Tyler Samstag from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit was on a panel on inclusive makerspaces. Reading is FUNdamental‘s Nora Peters talked about literacy and making in a library context. Ani Martinez and I worked with colleagues from Chicago and New York to develop a workshop around building networks for innovative learning. Mario Quinn from Level Up Studio and Naomi Chambers from FlowerHouse spoke about dance in urban education. And those are only a few examples of many. In so many ways, Pittsburgh was there to both give and receive and bring what they learned back home.

We also received lots of love from colleagues from all over the country. I heard Pittsburgh called out repeatedly for its innovative spirit and collaborative disposition. During Tom van der Ark’s session on networks, for example, Remake Learning was noted as a national example.

Nearly 20 individuals from the “Pittsburgh delegation” gathered for dinner during the conference to talk about our experiences. We were at the restaurant for hours. As we were leaving, the waiter came up to me and asked, “Are you all family?” Surprised, I answered “No, we’re just all from the same city.” He said, “You’re all so kind and relaxed with each other. I guessed you were related!” It was one heartwarming moment of many to remind us of the wonderful connections and spirit we have in the Pittsburgh region.

Are you going to an education conference this year and are wondering who else from Pittsburgh might be attending? Let us know by emailing

Published March 21, 2018

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