In March, the South by Southwest education (SXSW EDU) conference will host thousands of teachers, industry leaders, and administrators in Austin, Texas to discuss the top issues facing educators today, Tony Wan writes for EdSurge.
A peek at SXSW EDU's Panelpicker, a website where people can propose sessions for the conference, reveals the topics educators can't stop talking about, he writes.
When organizers submit a session proposal, they must slot the session into an overarching topic, he adds. According to Panelpicker, the most popular topics are: instruction, implementation, leadership, equity, and employability. Proposals in these five categories made up more than half of the 1,445 sessions submitted, Wan writes.
According to Wan, instruction and implementation have long dominated conversations about education. But the newfound popularity of employability surprised even Greg Rosenbaum, the general manager of the conference, he notes. Among the proposals submitted, "skills gap" appeared 246 times and "hiring practices" appeared 225 times, he writes.
Employability's growing popularity reflects the rising pressure on higher ed leaders to set students up for post-grad success. Similarly, industry leaders are paying closer attention to professional development opportunities as organizations struggle to find and retain top employees.
Learn more: Post-grad outcomes—and 3 other student success metrics progressive schools are tracking
The topic of equity also emerged as a frontrunner for this year's conference. Equity saw the biggest year-over-year jump in number of proposals submitted, climbing from 97 proposals in 2017 to 150 in 2018, Wan writes. Talks about equity center on supporting diverse and underrepresented populations, he adds.
For attendees interested in more unconventional topics, Wan recommends a session about the fidget spinner's role in the cognitive process or a talk about how hip-hop and yoga boost student mindfulness (Wan, EdSurge, 2/21).
Also see: 5 trends coming to higher ed this year
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