Okay, it won’t happen until next spring, specifically March 4-7, but planning for the annual gathering has been underway since before this year’s conference wrapped up. SXSWedu encompasses not just the annual conference each spring in Austin, but also a growing worldwide community of educators and learners. A key part of the annual cycle that climaxes with the gathering of thousands of interested attendees in Austin is the crowd-sourcing of content for the conference itself.
With hundreds of speakers, panels, and workshops to schedule each year, the people behind SXSWedu, Founder and Executive Producer Ron Reed and his crew, invite all interested educators and learners to submit presentation proposals. Those are then posted for public review through the PanelPicker®, described as a “two-part, online process that enables the community to lend their voice to the event.” SXSWedu solicits presentation proposals from the public during the first part, then the second part allows everyone to browse the submissions and comment on them.
There are 3 groups that provide guidance for final decisions about conference content: the public, staff members, and the Advisory Board. Public input involves commenting, but more importantly, voting specific proposals up or down. Anyone can create a free SXSWedu account and participate in the process.
Recently, I was appointed as an Advisory Board member with a role as a cheerleader/evangelist and evaluating a random 65 presentation proposals in greater detail. Factors for this more detailed evaluation include the quality of planned speaker as well as both the creativity and relevance of the proposal. Advisory Board members also work to publicize the process whereby educators are selected to present at the conference, participate in the PanelPicker®, and are urged to submit our own presentation proposals.
My submission, “P-TECH Partners Reverse Rural Talent Pipeline,” is one of those proposals. Not only are Advisory Board members encouraged to submit proposals, we are explicitly encouraged to engage in on-line “ballot box stuffing” through active promotion of our own proposals or proposals we favor.
So, here’s the direct link to my presentation proposal in the PanelPicker®. Y’all vote me up, okay?