First day of SXSWedu sets sights on standardized testing
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South by Southwest’s second-annual education conference, SXSWedu, kicked off Monday in Downtown Austin. The four-day event will feature speakers, exhibits and films that focus on education.
On Monday, hundreds of educators heard an earful from 17-year-old writer Nikhil Goyal.
"School felt like a complete waste of time," Goyal said. "There are millions of students that are being told to shut up, sit down, and listen every day."
The 17-year-old was just one the dozens of speakers at the conference this year discussing the failures of our education system.
"Students need ownership of their learning experiences. Right now, it is a really teacher-focused curriculum where the teacher is telling you what to do,” Goyal said. “There is a lot of testing, multiple choice, bubble filling and it is not very inspiring and relevant."
The festival featured rooms full of attendees like Steve Wolf, founder of ScienceInTheMovies.com, with little interest in standardized testing.
"We could get all the kids to pass the test but it wouldn't mean we are preparing them for the careers of the future,” Wolf said. “What is going to prepare kids for the future is teaching them innovation, creativity, and problem solving and using those skills, they will be able to solve the problems that come up."
These presenters want education to become a hands-on experience where kids are active participants.
"Once we get kids interested and excited, the rest becomes easy," Wolf said.
The hard part, according to Wolf, is convincing educators to try new teaching styles.
"Once an idea gets out there, you can't put it back in the box, so I think a lot of people are going to get exposed to ideas here that will take root and help change education," Wolf said.
SXSWedu requires a badge, but a free college and career fair will be held Tuesday night. If you want to find out more info go to SXSWedu.com.