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Smarter Schools Teachers and Policy Experts Join Forces at SXSWedu

March 11, 2016

On Wednesday, Smarter Schools was honored to be a part of the SXSWedu conference in Austin, Texas. Our panel, “Straight Talk from Teachers on EdTech Policy,” brought together three rock star teachers to talk about the ways that technology is making a difference in the classroom. The discussion was moderated by former North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue, and you can check out a full video right here – or just read our highlights below!

The three teachers on our panel, Jose Frausto from Chicago, Kerry Gallagher from Massachusetts, and Matt Worthington from Texas, came from different kinds of schools all across the country, and have taught in elementary through high school classrooms. But despite their different backgrounds, all three agreed that tech has had a big impact on the way teachers teach and students learn. The discussion covered topics from digital success stories to faculty training challenges, but here are a few key moments:


  • Frausto focused on the way that tech has helped his elementary schoolers develop and engage. As he put it, “kids get to use tools that the pros use, which makes students into creators and makers.” Thanks to digital tools like Google Docs, Frausto’s students are practicing skills that they can take with them to middle school and beyond.
  • Gallagher discussed the power of data to help students take ownership of their work. “There shouldn’t be any secrets between parents, students, and teachers in the classroom,” she said, and thanks to tech, the information that matters can be shared more quickly and easily.
  • Worthington reminded the audience that technology isn’t enough to solve problems – teacher training is key as well. “We have to connect it for teachers,” he pointed out. “These tools are going to help you do your job better.”

Want to see more? Check out the full panel. Hope to see you at next year’s SXSWedu!