learning technology

SXSWedu summit: Slow Pitch – the new way to develop innovative edtech

UPDATE: Our summit was accepted for SXSWedu 2016! Stay tuned for information on how edtech startups can apply to be one of the featured participants!

There are 85 SXSWedu 2016 proposals with the word “pitch” in their titles. Our 4-hour summit proposal, Slow Pitch: An Edtech Design ThinkTank, brings together educators with amazing ideas, edtech startups, funders, developers, students, teachers, parents, school administrators, school directors of innovation, and educational researchers to do what should be done when pursuing new ideas for education – think hard about the ideas collaboratively. SXSWedu’s icon of a head/brain perfectly fits the goals of our summit.

Best of all – our summit will be highly interactive. While we have a mentor panel, the audience will bring additional perspectives and expertise that is so worthy that you’ll have multiple ways to get your comments, questions, and ideas on the floor during the session. We also will have amply breaks!

Here’s a run-down on our summit, which includes way more details than what’s up on SXSWedu’s proposal. Please vote YES for our summit – to support the development of new edtech that supports, transforms, and penetrates into teaching and learning.

How long do you imagine the summit running?

This would be a half-day summit (4-hours). In anticipation of audience not committing to the entire summit, we have events set up in 30 minute increments (with 5 minute transitions/breaks between each) with the ability for audience feedback (i.e., voting) to occur on a rolling basis. Results will be shown and discussed after each “slowpitchedu” 30-min session but also again at the culmination of the summit.  Note that we will not have a “winner” as is typical in most pitch sessions, but instead each edtech startup will emerge with deep ideas and generative feedback from their 30-minute slowpitchedu thinktank session. The outcome for all involved is to learn from the experience, not to select a winner.  

What does the timeline within your summit look like?

Workshop in Session

    • Introduction (5 minutes)
      • to panel mentors and companies
      • announce optional tech that will be used during session: twitter, polleverywhere
      • clarify the design thinktank summit is intended to bridge across edtech to help emerging edtech advance and innovate.
    • Slow Pitch Exhibits (20 minutes)Transition back to tables/seats (allowing 5 minutes)
      • Each edtech startup has an exhibit area to share information about their company / ideas/product(s)
      • Participants in the session get to talk with them / browse
      • Participants in the session can talk with mentors
    • Edtech SlowPitchEdu (this is repeated 5 times; once for each participating edtech startup, 30 minutes each)
      • Fast pitch 90-second pitch. (2 minutes) [This is mostly to get everyone grounded again; remind everyone in room of the focal company under discussion.]
      • Q&A alternating b/w mentors, audience tweet, and audience open mic (25 minutes)
        • Mentors ask questions.
        • Audience may tweet questions (We will have a graduate student monitor these to pull ones to be asked.) (questions posed by grad student)
        • Audience open mic (line can form)
      • Final feedback to edtech startup (2 minutes): Startup Response – Response to feedback. (1 minute)
        • GoogleForm for audience: final analysis on criteria related to: innovative concept, transforming learning, transforming teaching, potential to penetrate K-12 market
        • GoogleForm for mentors only: final analysis innovative concept, transforming learning, transforming teaching, potential to penetrate K-12 market
  • Breaks (5 minutes between each edtech startup slowpitchedu, total of 20 minutes)
  • Closing: What did the slowpitch edtech design thinktank make you think more about? (30 minutes)
    • Mentor comments (1 minute each, allow 13 minutes)
    • Startups – comments (1 minute each, 2 min in actuality – allow 7 minutes)
    • Audience comments – open mic (1 minute max, 10 minutes)

How many more speakers should we expect?

We are planning to have about 10 panelists, who include student, parent, teacher, school administrator, VC/funder, developer, entrepreneur, researcher.

Mentors: (confirmed)

  • Ms. Rafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD, Texas
  • Dr. Joan Hughes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Learning Technologies, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Dr. Janice Trinidad, Ph.D., Veteran Science Teacher & Instructional Coach, Manor New Tech HS and ThinkForward PBL Institute
  • Mr. Marc Wright, 12th grade student, Round Rock High School
  • Mr. Eric Silva, Undergraduate Student, Computer Science, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Dr. Gloria Gonzales Dholakia, Ph.D., Parent and Executive Director at Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation
  • Ms. Carolyn Foote, Librarian, Westlake High School, Austin Texas  
  • Mr. Lincoln Turner, EdTech Entrepreneur at Wizzimo
  • Ms. Angela Lee, Assistant Dean, Columbia Business School, & Founder,37 Angels

EdTech Startups Selection:

We will have an open call for applications for the edtech startup participation in SlowPitch. Criteria for inclusion will require:

  • an innovation idea or product for the PK-12 market
  • an innovation that targets processes involved in learning or teaching in schools subjects

We will group applicants into three categories of (a) emerging idea, (b) beta product, or (c) tested product. Emerging edtech startups have an idea but have not produced demos or mock-ups. Beta products have functioning products but have not been tested with users. Tested products are functioning and have some user testing completed or perhaps pilot tests conducted. We will randomly choose the edtech startups to invite – ensuring that we have at least one edtech startup in each of the three categories, with the two other selections to be from any of the three categories.