1. Russlynn Ali

At the BIF Student Experience Lab, we know that the people who know most about education, are students. Our mission is to empower students as designers of their own education. Given our work with student centered and student designed learning, we were very excited to see XQ Institute initiate a design challenge for innovative, student centered school designs. We facilitated a design process for high school students to design two new schools, and look forward to sharing our learnings with Russylnn Ali, the CEO of the XQ Institute. We are eager to learn more about XQ Institute’s approach to crowdsourcing design, and can’t wait to hear about how they are doing with the XQ: Super School Project.

2. Martin Atkins

What does punk music have to do with education? Martin Atkins, a punk musician turned educator, will run a session showing how the punk rock ethos can be used to transform education. When students are encouraged to question everything, there are opportunities for deeper learning. Given our work with School Hackers, we’d also love to see Atkins talk about the DIY approach, a core component of punk culture, in education. We look forward to hearing Atkins’ story, and seeing how education is the next punk rock!

3. Sal Khan

You very likely have already heard of Sal Khan and his now world famous education organization, Khan Academy. With such humble beginnings as creating math instruction videos on youtube for younger members of his family, Sal has created one of the most recognizable online education resources in the world. Khan academy is an online education platform that teaches a variety of subjects to anyone for free via a series of instructional videos. Sal Khan has transformed education by helping students all around the world gain access to quality education programs. We can’t wait to hear more from one of the top education innovators!

4. Natalie Kuldell

Natalie Kuldell leads an education organization called BioBuilder that helps bring cutting edge synthetic biology into the classroom. By bridging the gap between science and engineering, Kuldell is helping to bring a quality STEM education to students. With a fun, hands-on curriculum she developed as an MIT professor, educators can teach synthetic biology with innovative experiments that are sure to excite and inspire students.At the BIF SXL, we are passionate about STEM, particularly how we can bring high quality engineering education into schools across the nation. We are always excited to see what Natalie Kuldell and her team at BioBuilder is doing! If you are interested in science and engineering in education, be sure not to miss her session!

5. Michael Marriner

After completing college, but not knowing exactly what to do, Michael Marriner embarked on an epic road trip. This experience, which he captured through video, did more than help him figure out what he wanted to do, it sparked an idea that would assist thousands of young adults transition out of school, and into careers. The idea would eventually become Roadtrip Nation, a reality series and curriculum to help young adults identify their passions, and meet/learn from professionals in fields they are interested in. We have also been dedicated to helping young adults as they explore careers. In order to do this, we created a transmedia platform called When I Grow Up (WIGU) For WIGU, we had young adults explore their dream careers through daily prompts that they then shared through different social media platforms. We are fascinated by all the work Roadtrip Nation has done to prepare young adults for the next stage of their lives, and look forward to seeing where they are going next!


6. Molly McMahon

At BIF, we know the value brought by bringing in designers of education. We appreciate all the work IDEO has done to help give educators the tools to solve challenges in their classrooms, schools and communities. Molly McMahon is the project lead on the Teacher Guild, which aims to empower teachers as designers. As one of Teachers Guild’s partners, we share the commitment to giving educators the tools they need to find solutions to challenges in their work, and have created a design thinking curriculum and web platform especially for teachers: Teachers Design for Education (TD4Ed). We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Molly McMahon and her team at IDEO to share our learnings and continue to push for the empowerment of teachers as designers.

7. Killer Mike

We were pleasantly surprised to see that Killer Mike would be speaking at SXSWedu! Killer Mike is a professional rapper and activist who speaks about racial, income, and educational inequality. Killer Mike has spoken at colleges across the nation, and recently guest starred on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. We have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Killer Mike, and we can’t wait to hear his thoughts on how we can improve education for students of color. We’re also planning on pestering him about when Run the Jewels part 3 is coming out!

8. Tara Subramaniam

There is much discussion among education leaders and politicians on how students should be educated. Unfortunately students are seldom given the opportunity to voice their needs and wants in decisions that will ultimately impact their lives. However, we know that when students are given the opportunity to take part in designing their education, amazing things can happen. Tara Subramaniam is the co-founder of Student Voice, a nonprofit organization spearheading a social movement to integrate student voices into the global education conversation. We always look for student speakers at education conferences, and we are thrilled that Student Voice will be present!

9. Jose Luis Vilson

Jose Luis Vilson is a teacher, blogger, and activist in New York City. You can find his work in the book he published, on Edutopia blogs, and on his #EduColor tweetchat and website. Vilson writes and talks about race and class in our education system. His words have both educated and inspired us to change our education system to better support our students, especially those who are the most underserved. Vilson will partake in a session that addresses the lack of teacher voice in the education debate, and what we can do to change that.

10. You!

Are you interested in developing, prototyping, and testing new education models? Are you passionate about student centered learning? Are you an educator who has used, or wants to use design thinking in the classroom in order to solve challenges in education? If so, follow us on Twitter @BIFsxl, shoot us a tweet, and be sure to look for us as SXSWedu!

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