Where the learning can flourish

Remake Learning network members reflect on SXSW EDU 2023

SXSW EDU, the annual festival of “innovation and learning within the education industry,” was held in March in Austin, Texas. Among the thousands of attendees from around the world was a delegation of Remake Learning network members. They made the journey from Pittsburgh to Austin to learn from and participate in one of the biggest venues for discourse about the future of learning.

We asked network members to reflect on their experience at SXSW EDU as a way to share what they learned with the rest of the network

Artist educator Sarah Zeffiro valued the act of convening most of all: “The importance of spending time together, exchanging ideas, and being in spaces where the learning can flourish. Where it’s safe to share, ask questions, and reflect.”

Educator and organizer Ash Chan focused on participating in DEIJA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Justice, and Accessibility) and workforce development sessions, especially those facilitated by BIPOC. “I enjoyed the sessions that focused on youth centered leadership development and voice,” Chan said. “Asset-based mindset shifts are central to the work and duty of educators. We have to be intentional and aware of the broader ecosystems students are a part of and the experiences they have.”

Treble NLS, lead teaching artist at 1Hood Media experienced some self discovery at SXSW EDU. “I didn’t count myself as an educator until I saw all the cool ways we as a national community impact the lives of young people,” he said. “I felt connected to such a vast community of educators from across the nation and across platforms. It showed me that I’m not in this alone. It showed me that Pittsburgh isn’t in this alone. We are part of a very meaningful ecosystem.”

For Deanna Baringer, director of programs at SLB Radio Productions, spending time far from home lent perspective to what we have right here in Pittsburgh. “One of my hopes for attending was to be inspired and gather ideas to bring back to my organization. What I really walked away with, however, was a renewed sense of gratitude for the outstanding educational network and community we have here in Pittsburgh,” she said. “As I found myself in conversations with educators from other parts of the country, I was frequently reminded of how very lucky I am to be living in a city and region with such a strong and innovative education landscape.”

Kate Kohne, supervisor of The Chill Project, took the opportunity to learn from educators directly. “Attending SXSW helped me as a mental health professional gain greater insight into the training of educators,” she said. “It gave me a greater understanding of what the teachers we work with are facing.”

Oasis Farm & Fishery program manager Tacumba Turner drew some key takeaways from a session on the cognitive science of learning. “When it comes to learning and cognition, there is a lag between what science tells us and the accepted conventions about how we learn,” he said. “Teachers are brain changers and ought to have a foundational understanding of cognition as it relates to learning.”

While the festival lasted only four days, the lessons learned will last a lifetime.

Interested in participating in a Remake Learning delegation? Let us know at info@remakelearning.org.