From March 3 - 7, several Education Analytics’ staff had the opportunity to attend and present at SXSW EDU in Austin, TX. CEO Andrew Rice and EA Board President Richard Bowman (Chief Information and Strategy Officer at Albuquerque Public Schools) presented the session, “Data Interoperability & AI: Veggies Before Dessert.” During this fireside chat, Andrew and Richard discussed how the K-12 education system can harness generative AI models in a private, secure, and ethical manner to create a more inclusive and effective learning ecosystem. Also in attendance at SXSW EDU was Development Strategist Ben Dederich, Director of Brand & Communications Marlena Holden, and Chief of Staff Libby Pier. Reflecting on their time at SXSW EDU, Andrew, Ben, Libby, Marlena, and Richard highlight their key takeaways from the conference below.

The innovation and vision at the conference was exciting and invigorating. It reinforced the fact that education is a live and growing field, like technology. Staying abreast of the promises and perils of technology is key to realizing a brighter future. The use of interoperable data is transforming education, enabling differentiated and personalized education experiences.”

Chief Information and Strategy Officer at Albuquerque Public Schools and Board President at Education Analytics
Andrew Rice and Richard Bowman during their session, "Data Interoperability & AI: Veggies Before Dessert."

The conference illuminated a mix of excitement about burgeoning technology, apprehension about its introduction, and a “back to basics” mentality to ensure instruction is delivered with a solid foundation. As educators continue to voice concerns such as reading instruction, and reflect on past hopes for social media as a classroom tool, it falls upon technology organizations to responsibly and inclusively collaborate with educators to implement solutions that prioritize safety and effectiveness.

Develoment Strategist
(From left to right) Richard Bowman, Marlena Holden, Libby Pier, Ben Dederich, and Andrew Rice attend SXSW EDU 2024 to represent Education Analytics.

There is power in gathering compassionate and curious educators who are committed to momentous change—whether that’s through different pedagogies, new ways of interacting, AI, and more.

Director of Marketing & Communications

While visiting the expo, in a sea of tables showcasing cutting-edge and AI-enabled ed tech products, the busiest table with the largest crowd was for a pen company demoing and giving away free pens. It made me realize that no amount of AI or tech will transform educational experiences or outcomes unless and until we make it as fundamental to a teacher’s practice as a pen.

Chief of Staff
Board President Richard Bowman (left) and CEO Andrew Rice (right) at SXSW EDU 2024.

AI is on the brain for everyone in education, and it has brought into focus a risk we've seen bubbling up as ed tech has expanded over the last decade: the potential for massive, profit-driven, private corporations to amass more and more student data as the demand for generative AI increases. The movement to build publicly owned and open-source data infrastructure has been steadily growing, and it's now poised to be as crucial as ever to ensuring private, secure, equitable analytics for education.


You can find an audio recording of Andrew Rice and Richard Bowman’s SXSW EDU presentation here.

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