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SXSW EDU Recap: 4 Trends for 2022

SXSW EDU Graphic

This year’s SXSW EDU was one for the books! After two years of staring at one another on a screen, it was great to finally come together in person and celebrate the innovative expansions in education. Many themes rose to the top throughout the four-day conference. Here are our top trends from SXSW EDU 2022.

Disruptive education is not only popular, but necessary.

“Half of US workers believe in the next five years they will need a new skill to advance their career.” – Cat Ward

The workforce is looking for jobs that will provide them the opportunity to build skills for their next career move. Workplace culture should elevate continuous learning for all employees. The struggle of having the right amount of experience and degrees for any given job and yet lacking the skills to succeed is shifting many companies’ perspectives on recruitment and retention.

“If you give people education that doesn’t align with [future] jobs/career, it frustrates them. Hire someone for their first job and prepare them for their second job.” – Kim Gregorie, Exec. Director, Learning & Talent Solutions, JPMorgan Chase & Co

K-12 indoctrination is happening now.

Student choice and intellectual freedom are on the frontlines of education today. The rising generation is not afraid to speak their truth, ask questions, and demand equal access and opportunity.

Culture wars are rampant across the nation. Parents, community stakeholders, district leaders, and educators speak out around critical race theory, banned books, etc., while children are rarely given the opportunity to speak up.

Education is the last industry that has not transformed.

“Teaching is one of the greatest acts of leadership, but we don’t treat it that way… We have to move past the one size fits all model. We have to center learners. We have to reconsider what the role of a teacher is. We have to reinvent education.” -Elisa Villanueva Beard, CEO of Teach for America

During the past two years, every industry in the United States has been pressed to reevaluate its culture, values, and productivity. Education has not been exempt. The reality uncovered is that education is 10-15 years behind most every industry in innovation and progress.

Both K-12 and higher education are struggling to retain talent, students, and traditions. How can the education industry consider how direct-to-consumer brands are meeting the needs of consumers and reimagine the needs of students? Is it possible to leverage lifetime “value” in education?

Equity and diversity are the keys to building and sustaining K-12 systems.

“Black and Latinx leaders decrease as the positions are higher.” – KIPP Schools

Equity and diversity are not just buzz words within education. Many school leadership teams and teachers do not reflect the student populations racially or ethnically.

During the hiring process, the decision to probe versus not probe is often based on implicit bias. Psychological safety needs to be front of mind when considering promotion, retention, and the persistence of black and Latinx school leaders.

“We have desensitized ourselves to the gaps around race and place.” -Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education

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