SXSWedu Blog: The takeaways

So, I must say that the entirety of SXSW is an interesting experience.  Never have I seen so many passionate, involved, like-minded people in one space before… and it only got better when the main SXSW conference started.

I tried to make a habit of writing a blog post after each presentation I sat through, but I found it difficult. I found my brain running in overdrive trying to integrate everything I heard with everything I had going on and came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to do.

The Data Driven Teacher. There was one big, big thread through this whole thing – data. There are a ton of companies out there that are looking at data.  One company, LearnSprout, is using student data to produce actionable insights into student performances.  I instantly thought, “We should use this in law school! Imagine how much better we’d be when we can react to well-thought out data collection.”

And then I remembered… we’re not quite ready for that.

I am, however, optimistic.  There is a swell of people in legal education who are desperately trying to change the perspective of technology in education.  Folks like those at the Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education.  Folks like those who created the Reinvent Law conference.  I’m also optimistic of the ABA updates that have been implemented… specifically formative assessment.

If we’re so worried about bar passage rates and making sure that students are ready to do well in it out of school, why aren’t we looking at formative assessments and analytics?  Think about that, if we had a data strategy (even a modest one, but still important) in which we utilized simple formative assessments, we’d be able to meet the student at almost the point in time in which the data is collected.  By putting some of these opportunities online through blended learning (doesn’t have to be flipped) we begin collecting the data that tells us that Billy in the back isn’t getting it and not ready to move.  Or that Mary gets it and needs just a little more practice articulating.  The idea of a data driven teacher should absolutely be introduced into the first year of legal education. K-12 is doing it… why can’t we?

Learning Science. I was pleased to hear a presentation in which learning science, educational psychology, and names like Richard Mayer were mentioned.  Legal education was even mentioned by the CLO of Kaplan. They experimented with different ways of presenting and information. What did they find? The dual-coding / multimedia learning theory worked!  Go figure.

To close, I’m going to embed a few of my favorite SXSWedu tweets over the course of the week.