SXSWedu Survival Guide for Educators + Organizer

What is SXSWedu?

SXSWedu (March 9–12, 2015) is an annual conference for education stakeholders that takes place in Austin, Texas. Last year, nearly 6,000 people attended including faculty, students, administrators and education professionals. There are hundreds of sessions covering a variety of themes, such as Teachers as Designers: The Great STEM Equalizers and Plunging the Perils and Pearls of a Social Classroom. If you are interested in increasing your PLN (personal learning network), meeting up with other change-makers in education and taking part in your own professional development, SXSWedu is a great conference to attend.

Who should attend?

Anyone who is involved in education and interested in changing the way we teach and learn, which includes teachers, students, NGO professionals, administrators, entrepreneurs, etc., should plan to attend. According to SXSWedu, last year’s attendance included 28 percent faculty and students, 25 percent administrators, 23 percent education business, 21 percent government and non-profit and 3 percent other. Attendees rated learning, networking and seeking inspiration as the most valuable aspects of the conference, and 90 percent said they would attend again. If you aren’t able to attend in person, you can follow the chatter in Twitter via the hashtag #SXSWedu and #sxsweduwin.

What to bring

Bag or backpack
Pens, pencils
Business cards
Chargers for all electronic devices
Laptop or tablet
Valid ID and Badge QuickCode
Comfortable walking shoes
Extra socks
Hand sanitizer


Sign up for and use your eduSocial account once you’ve registered
Download the SXSWedu App
Stay hydrated with water
Plan ahead (see some resources below)
Be spontaneous
Check the weather to ensure you wear proper clothing each day
Be present
Follow #sxswedu related hashtags before and during the conference
Learn who’s going via’s Who’s Who at SXSWedu
Take photographs — follow these guidelines
Network with professionals
Follow up with people you met after the conference
Send feedback to the event organizers after the conference
Follow our USC Rossier + Live Notes and add your own (update once live)


Use flash photography after a session has started
Film sessions once they’ve started

How to plan

With over 300 sessions including keynote presentations, feature programs, future15 talks and core conversations, there is a ton to choose from! In addition, there are multiple socials, lounges and summits, as well as an eduFILM lineup, a LAUNCHedu and a SXSWedu Playground you can attend.

While we suggest embracing happenstance once you arrive at the conference — you never know who you will meet or where you’ll end up — it’s a good idea to plan and create a tentative itinerary to ensure you make the most of your time at the conference.

With that in mind, we teamed up with to create a SXSWedu Organizer. It’s a downloadable template you can use to plan your personal schedule.

How to use the SXSWedu Organizer

  1. Log into your eduSocial account. Go to Schedule and review all the sessions. As you go through the conference schedule, star the sessions you find most interesting for each day.
  2. Next, narrow down your list of top must-attend sessions for each time slot.
  3. Download the SXSWedu Organizer.
  4. Create your personal schedule.
  5. Post it on your website and share it! Don’t forget to tag it with #SXSWedu and @USCTeacher.

Not attending in person? Use this organizer to show which events you’ll be following online.

Here’s where we’ll be on Monday!

Transportation and lodging

By now, you’ve probably already booked your hotel. If not, check out the SXSWedu hotel page for suggestions on last minute accommodations.

As for getting around town, here’s a helpful list:

Food and drink

Arriving earlier or staying later? Looking for a place to meet up? Check out The Brad King’s suggestions on where to eat and drink in Austin via this handy Google map.

Helpful links

Here are some other blog posts that might be helpful while you prep for SXSWedu:

Have a resource or tip to add to this SXSWedu guide? Add it in the comments below!