| Education Research and News

Our conversations at SXSW EDU

by UnboundEd

Last month the UnboundEd team was at @SXSWEDU leading two panels, “Are We Coming into the Golden Age of OER?” and “How Our Unconscious Bias Affects Our Students.” We met many amazing educators from across the country and engaged in conversations about high-quality OER. And we talked about the importance of having honest conversations about racial bias and how it plays out in our schools.

Here are a few highlights and reactions to the conversation Brian Belardi (Founder and CEO, Archetype), Peter Coe (Chief Academic Officer, UnboundEd), Rebecca Kockler (Assistant Superintendent of Academic Content, Louisiana Department of Education) and Jason Epting (Alumni Engagement Officer and Persistence Officer, Harlem Village Academies) had about the power of an aligned and sequenced OER curriculum.

The session resulted in the Hechinger piece, “How to sort the good from the bad in OER.”

“There’s more bad OER out there than good; that’s a fact,” said Rebecca Kockler, assistant superintendent of academic instruction for the state of Louisiana, at the annual SXSWedu conference. “We need to find the quality stuff and elevate it, for everyone.” Along with quality classroom materials, there’s an urgent need for quality curricula, Kockler said. The idea of teachers searching the web for individual units of study, or even individual lessons, strikes her as a huge waste of time. When it happens, she said, “we try to weed that out of our districts.”

The second session, moderated by Jeff Livingston (CEO, EdSolutions), Kate Gerson (Managing Partner of Programs, UnboundEd), William Andersen (Social Studies Teacher, Manuel High School) and Ryan Smith (Executive Director, Education Trust-West), was a candid and honest conversation about the way our biases hold back our students of color.

Audience members were able to walk away with tools and resources to get smarter and start conversations back with their teams:

It was an incredible day of learning and conversation with our colleagues in the field—we look forward to next year! #SmarterTogether

To be part of the continuing conversation, follow the panelists: Brian Belardi, Peter Coe, Rebecca Kockler, Jeff Livingston, Kate Gerson and Ryan Smith.