The 4 short clips that wowed during education’s hottest innovation conference

2.Innovation as faculty-designed and student-centric

Speaking in-depth with Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University (ASU), Green delves into the secret sauce behind ASU’s dramatic success in some of the most important areas of higher education today: enrollment, retention and garnering research funding.

“It’s really an overall culture change,” explained Crow. “We have a massive diversification of our student body, representative of the entire socio-economic distribution in our area. We also have a faculty-designed, but student-centric, culture that truly allows us to alter strategies for better outcomes. We ask ourselves the question ‘Why are we here? Are we here to feed ourselves or to be transformative on a social scale?’ The commitment from faculty to be transformative on the social scale is imperative and we have it—we call them super faculty, because they are the designers of the institution and are free from academic bureaucracy common on other campuses.”

Green also delved into why some institutions are doing better than others in terms of strengthening enrollment and retention, and Crow delivers an enlightening response.

3.The role of today’s conference as a catalyst for innovation

Ron Reed, founder of SXSWEDU, says most of SXSWEDU’s success comes from the ability to converge a diverse audience that’s passionate about teaching and learning.

“SXSW is about creativity, innovation and cultural drivers. SXSWEDU just completed its sixth event and we aspire to be an international convergence zone of those passionate about teaching and learning, both in K-12 and higher education. The more diverse the community we convene, the more impactful the conversations.”

Green also asks Reed some audience questions, including “what’s a ‘big wow’ you’ve witnessed during SXSW events?” And though there are some big names Reed could drop, it’s one organization’s name that has exploded within educational technology that he says he’s most excited to discuss, thanks to its recent traction in the education realm.

4.On why education’s perceived problems aren’t like paving a new highway

As Green cites recent policy briefs that chide education for not improving quickly enough for the general public’s approval, Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education, discusses why systemic change and improving student learning outcomes aren’t quick fixes—and where the real solutions might lie.

“These are systemic systems you’re talking about with huge numbers of moving parts, things like family dynamics, social systems, et cetera. So looking  at broad reform in education within a linear model is tough. It’s not just give us your money and we can repave this highway and then the problem is fixed; though, many in education seem to think the solution does lie within a single-point solution on a linear path (e.g. professional development). The problem is, however, that when you focus on a single point, every other aspect tends to drop away! Also, there’s the mentality that a problem addressed means that it’s forever solved. I think there’s real hope in the change management model, where the focus is not on ‘fixing,’ but keeping eyes on what’s going on around you. This model focuses on agility, iteration, evidence, gathering data, and refining practice, and I believe it has real promise.”

Green goes on to ask Mitchell whether or not education is really using data to its full advantage.