SxSWEdu Reflection

By Arushi Agarwal, Teen Intern

Last week, Uyen, Marcy, and I attended SxSWEdu’s joint event with IDEO and Teacher’s Guild. The event was held at one of IDEO’s locations in San Francisco. Going in we weren’t sure what the format would be; we thought it might be an explanation of panel picker for the SxSW event. However it turned out to be more of a design thinking workshop, which was interesting in itself. During the ride to San Francisco, all of us had a productive brainstorming session for our own mini SxSW event. So our minds were already open and ready for the workshop.

In the workshop, we each paired up with a person nearby. Turn by turn, we asked each other questions, and took notes of what the most important thing was that the other person said.

Some examples of questions were: What is one issue in the past you have stood up for? What was the last new skill you learned? In this context, they seem very straightforward questions, and not very unusual. I can very easily see myself responding to them in a school setting. But, in that setting with active conversations going on all around me, I elaborated more than I usually would have. I think the collaborative environment really changed my thinking and responses. I believe this is what we will try to achieve at our own mini event.

Afterwards, we each came up with prominent themes that we saw in each other’s responses. Some were themes that I intentionally talked about in each response, and others were themes that I never really thought about for myself. And then we tried to consolidate that theme into an action item. An action item to further our activity in that theme, or to refine our thinking within that theme.

All in all, it was an interesting event. We got the chance to express ideas, learn from others, brainstorm for our event, and learn more about SxSW. Apparently, SxSW accepts education documentaries to feature at their event. Focusing on our mini-event and Gigs for Youth, that might be something in the near future for GirlsInnovate.