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SXSW EDU: 8 sessions we’re excited to attend in 2023

We agree with the organizers of #SXSWEDU: Society’s true rock stars are educators!

The 2023 conference +  festival will bring learners, practitioners, and entrepreneurs together March 6 through 9 in Austin, Texas. 

And once again, a team of “Labbies” from the Education Design Lab will travel to Austin to learn, network, and be inspired. 

Here are the sessions we’re most excited to attend, along with some conversation starters for five of our Labbies.

Be sure to reach out in the SXSW EDU Social tool to connect!

Miriam Swords Kalk

Head of Design Practice | Bio

Why I’m excited: How do I pick just one?! These four sessions piqued my interest because they focus on centering the perspectives and experiences of learners and workers who have been historically underinvested in. To continue deepening our understanding and practice of equity-centered design, we at the Lab need to keep learning how people in different education and workforce contexts engage with their communities to collaborate with those most deeply impacted by injustice.

  • Elevating Student Voice via Equity Centered Design
    Monday, March 6, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. CT | Session details
  • Noxhegalactica: Redefining Success
    Tuesday, March 7, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT | Session details
  • Decolonizing Schooling: Indigenous Ed Initiative
    Tuesday, March 7, 1 to 2 p.m. CT | Session details
  • Funders’ New Bet on Grassroots to #SaveChildCare
    Thursday, March 9, 10 to 11 a.m. CT | Session details

Conversation starter: I’m obsessed with learning about how we engage with learning and work and how learning and work environments can be designed to best support deep engagement and well-being, especially for learners and workers who have been underinvested in. Come chat with me about equity-centered design, self-determination theory, and baking! 

Brian Rubin

Senior Education Designer | Bio

Supporting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Learners
Monday, March 6, 4 to 5 p.m. CT | Session details

Why I’m excited about this session: It’s what I’m currently focused on at the Lab, and it offers an opportunity to hear from and network with others who are looking at the same issue.

BTW: This session features Dr. Adrian Haugabrook of Southern New Hampshire University, who was part of the Lab’s first cohort of Designers in Residence. Applications for our second cohort are open until March 17.

Conversation starter: I’m excited about designing for the future of work and preparing future leaders to lead, particularly those who have been overlooked or excluded.


Matthew Aranda

Associate Education Designer | Bio

The Power of Together: Solving the Skills Gap
Monday, March 6, 4 to 5 p.m. CT | Session details

Why I’m excited about this session: I appreciate that this session acknowledges how skill development needs to be an ecosystem approach, as “No one college can solve the talent needs of our nation or even a region.”

Conversation starters: My favorite topics include DEIB, student support services, 21st century skills, and digital transformation.

Jordan Lin

Senior Manager of Innovation | Bio

Engaging Employers in HS Work-Based Learning
Tuesday, March 7, 1 to 2 p.m. CT | Session details

Why I’m excited about this session: I’m a big believer in work-based learning and the need to more intentionally connect education to meaningful employment opportunities. I haven’t seen this done at a high school level — but I’m excited to learn more!

Conversation starter: I love to talk about cultivating ecosystems that enable life to thrive — whether plants or people!


Nalini Ravindranath

Manager of Foundation Partnerships | Bio

We Are Not a Stereotype: Imagining Asian Education
Tuesday, March 7, 4 to 5 p.m. CT | Session details

Why I’m excited about this session: In the aggregate, Asian learners demonstrate high rates of success in education, but disaggregated numbers often show a far more complicated picture that is as diverse as the Asian community. I’m excited to learn about strategies to identify these equity gaps and address them.

Conversation starter: I love to talk about making systems more equitable AND about outdoor adventures … hiking, climbing, anything really!

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