The Land of A-Ha’s

I seek the Land of A-Ha’s: that mystical realm of realizations, revelations and epiphanies where what you don’t know meets and mingles with what you what you do. Austin enjoys a reawakening of creativity every March, affording 2 opportunities for forward-thinking educators, trainers and learners of all ages: SXSWedu and STEAM3.

Future-Focused Event with Interactive Playground and Conference

Future-Focused Event with Interactive Playground and Conference

The new kid on the block, STEAM3 (a “future-focused event”) merged STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Technology) education with “A” for the arts. With an interactive playground filled with hands-on activities and an academically-oriented conference, the event addressed topics from “nano” art to transmedia learning to digital storytelling. Examples of educational programs based on design thinking and digital entrepreneurialism showed these approaches engaging students in active learning. Though sparsely attended (presenters seem to outnumber paid attendees at times), this gathering showed great promise and allowed easy access to a double handful of knowledgeable experts eager to share their insights about learning. I hope this event repeats in the future.

SXSWedu Conference & FestivalThe 2 weekend days of STEAM3 gave way to SXSWedu on Monday. Though still young in the SXSW world (5 years old), SXSWedu has already outpaced the initial growth of the other SXSW festivals, with over 6,000 attending this year. I followed 2 main subject tracks, both highly intriguing: adaptive learning and creativity. This year at SXSWedu, though, I found the greatest value running into various colleagues such as Mary Crawford (UT), Mindy Jackson (Enspire Learning) and Lee Lefever (Common Craft). I finished my SXSWedu experience with an excellent visit with one of the STEAM3 speakers, Elizabeth Strickler of the Digital Arts Entertainment Lab, part of Georgia State University.

After any such event — much less two! — I want to linger as long as possible. Yet, I must return to the everyday world to apply any lessons learned. Many spiritual traditions talk of “Coming Down from the Mountain” after receiving wisdom — that sense of disappointment as you realize that you must still do the laundry, wash the dishes and take out the trash, even after receiving enlightenment. Still, once we see the Land of A-Ha’s, the memory pushes us onward, until once again, we’re off to seek the Wizard…

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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1 Response to The Land of A-Ha’s

  1. Pingback: SXSWedu — Forever Learning | Buller's back porch

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