SXSWedu 2015 – Takeaway Edition


Our founder Jen headed down South to Austin, Texas for SXSWedu 2015– the premiere conference for the future of education. After many sessions and workshops, below are three main takeaways that any educator can utilize. In addition to these thoughts, make sure to check out each session’s hashtag for more thoughts on teaching today.

1) Design Thinking is Improv Thinking

This was my first dive into design thinking! Coming from an improv-background, I was surprised to see similarities with an improv-based module of thinking. One key similarity has to do with truthful listening: to be successful in improv you need to be a good listener.

2) EdCamps for the Win

In a decidedly nontraditional route, I went to an EdCamp for an alternative approach to conferencing. The professional development went down in sessions crowdsourced and implemented that same day by participants. (Showing that improvisation can occur when you are willing to be flexible and take risks!)


3) Visual Thinking Rules

Know your audience. Improvisers are particularly attuned to their environment–making sure each joke or skit is tailored to the audience and not the performer. In this session, we connected that idea with the principles of visual thinking. Many students need a visual element in order to learn effectively. By knowing their audience, educators can develop an accessible for their visually-oriented students: creating sketch notes, using photography, and showing video. This way, students can learn how to synthesize information in their own way and connect with it meaningfully.


The Engaging Educator was assigned a special hashtag for our individual SXSWedu workshop. Thanks to individual success of the program, we’ve decided to keep on using the #EdImprov tag to showcase exemplary examples of improv and education!

Take a look at the links for ongoing conversations with the session’s hashtag or website, because all great ideas can continue to “yes, and…” into the future.