Power of the Panel & the PLN: SXSWEdu

The first in a series of reflections on the week that was SXSWEdu.  More to come each day this week.

The Power of the Panel and the PLN.

I could not ask for a greater team of design thinking colleagues with whom to share a stage at SXSWEdu than Ellen Deutscher, Ashley Auspelmyer and Amanda Kruysman.  These three educators live and breathe empathy-fueled, human-centered problem solving.  Hearing about the playfulness with which Ellen’s students tackle problem solving, the mindfulness with which Ashley’s students engage their community, and the authenticity of purpose with which Amanda’s students uncover culture pushed and challenged me to examine my own DT practice.  (Fortunately, I pulled myself together enough to share my students’ work with poetry and literature as design, reader as user.  I then returned to my basic state of awe.) No less heartwarming was a glance into the crowd to see an audience peppered with colleagues old and new, most of whom I met via Twitter over the year since SXSWEdu (Sean Ziebarth, Eric Chagala, Margaret Powers), several of whom I met just in the days and weeks prior to our Tuesday morning session (Audrey O’ClairMatt Mineau), and a cadre who I consider straight up friends — though those friendships not much older than SXSWEdu 2014 (Amy Burvall, Stephanie Cerda). And there were so many others present I know I’m failing to mention in the same way that the recipient of the Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2nd Unit Foley Mixing forgets to thank his best friend and wife.  It’s never intentional.  It is simply slipping mind. I find in these folks my tribe, other educators committed to disruption with noble intention, to empathy as gateway to genuine understanding, to creativity as a means and ends unto itself in the service of opening myriad possibilities.   This tribe grew at SXSWEdu 2015.  This was no more evident than on Wednesday night as we guerrilla tweet mobbed — with empathy — the Hilton lobby.

Explore the Storify from my good friend, Moss Pike.  Follow the handles that emerge.  Whether they were gathered around the cushions and tiles of Austin hospitality or connecting from afar, these individuals — nay — this collective challenges me to prototype and remix, need-find and ideate, question and empathize, with one goal in mind: authentic student learning.

This is why I tweet.

About Dan Ryder

Dan Ryder & Jeff Bailey, co-founders of Wicked Decent Learning, a blog, podcast, Twitter feed and who-knows-what-all-else devoted to teaching and learning in Vacationland and beyond. Teachers, dads, actors, writers, geeks, buds.

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