3 Lessons to Take Away from SXSWedu

SXSWeduIn early March, educators met in Austin, Texas to discuss how technology can improve learning at SXSWedu, a conference dedicated to the advancement of learning innovation and technology, or "edtech." Education technology is becoming an important piece of the classroom, and in some respects, learning outside of the classroom as well.

A lot happened during the third annual, week-long event. Below we share the three most important things covered that we think non-traditional students should know about:

1. Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) are making universities rethink their strategy. While these classes don't yet provide college credit to attendees, they do allow anyone access to education on a variety of topics taught by some of the top professors around the country. On top of everything else, the classes are free, and a great way to prepare for a DSST exam! Suffice it to say that these online courses are challenging the traditional on-campus education model, and forcing higher education organizations to make some changes.

2. Digital devices are allowing students to access learning from afar. Since more online classes are available now than ever before, one of the changes universities may need to make is providing students with access to these devices -- even those working remotely. One school of thought suggests that those students who cannot attend class would benefit from the use of digital devices, like iPads, which they could use to tap into classes and courses taught at universities. In addition, having access to these devices would allow them to personalize their education and connect with other online learning tools as well.

3. Start-up education technology companies are changing the face of the classroom. Twelve of these startups were recognized as finalists in the conference's LAUNCHedu, a platform meant to provide education thought leaders and entrepreneurs with a place to share their ideas. A few of this year's finalists will directly help students improve their own education possibilities. The winner, SpeekingPal, makes learning English speaking skills easier, while finalist scrible provides students the ability to easily build bibliographies and make note of websites they've come across through research.

How would you like to see technology put to work in the classroom? Do you think that “edtech” is a good thing for non-traditional students? Tell us in the comments below.

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