Check out our sessions on privacy, English learners, edtech, and SEL.

Starting Monday, March 7, stakeholders from all areas of education will gather in Austin, Texas, for SXSWedu to attend four days of sessions, interactive workshops, hands-on learning experiences, film screenings, and a host of networking opportunities. Common Sense will be in attendance, representing the organization's expertise in education. If you're in Austin, be sure to catch the Common Sense team in the following sessions:

Moving from Privacy to Trust

Monday, March 7, 12:30-3:30 p.m.: JW Marriott, Salon 4

Concerns around the privacy of student data have been rising, and educators are increasingly on the defensive as parents believe too much data is collected about their children. Trust is at the heart of the privacy debate. Last year the Student Data Principles were endorsed by 40 education associations, and over 200 companies have signed a Student Privacy Pledge. Learn how we can build trust through better educator training, improved review of education apps, clearer vendor agreements, and building a "seal" validating trusted learning environments. Participate in an interactive forum on what else is needed. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #priv2trust.


Deb Delisle: CEO, ASCD
Bill Fitzgerald: director, privacy evaluation initiative, Common Sense
Aimee Rogstad Guidera: president and CEO, Data Quality Campaign
Brenda Leong: senior counsel and director of operations, Future of Privacy Forum
Bob Moore: CIO, Dallas ISD
Kathleen Styles: chief privacy officer, U.S. Department of Education

Mentor Session

Tuesday, March 8, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.: Austin Convention Center, Room 11AB

The mentor program at SXSWedu facilitates one-on-one meetings between experienced professionals and curious attendees. From classroom teachers and professors to industry insiders and CEOs, the mentors at SXSWedu are ready to share their insights with the community. In this session, edtech developers can meet with Erin Wilkey Oh, executive editor of education marketing for Common Sense, to get tips and guidance on what makes a digital tool great for learning; tailored, product-specific advice on product design/development, quality, student privacy, and monetization; and help with identifying ways to improve existing or in-development edtech products.

EdTech's Blind Spot: Closing the ELL Equity Gap

Wednesday, March 9, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB

​Teachers and students can find edtech tools for nearly every subject, grade level, and skill. However, very few edtech tools specifically address the complex needs of English language learners (ELLs) and their teachers. ELLs are a growing yet underserved segment of the U.S. student population, and teaching these diverse learners presents unique and highly complex challenges. This panel brings together educators and industry experts to explore how digital tools can best serve ELLs. We will look at how teachers can use and repurpose existing tech tools, as well as how the edtech industry can innovate to provide new solutions and possibly even revolutionize how we teach language acquisition. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #EdTechELL.

Beverly Fine: editorial and outreach director, BrainPOP
Jeff Knutson: senior manager of education content, Common Sense Education
Katie McKay: university lecturer and teacher consultant, Heart of Texas Writing Project
Evelyn Quezada: Spanish assessment producer, Newsela

Can Media Teach Character Strengths and Life Skills?

Wednesday, March 9, 12:30–1:30 p.m.: Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB

Media can affect children's social and emotional learning (SEL), which has implications for moral development and achievement. So, in partnership with the John Templeton Foundation and Bezos Family Foundation, Common Sense has developed tools, SEL-sensitive ratings, and write-ups of visual and interactive media to enrich children's character virtues and life skills. This session will distinguish virtues from skills and articulate how both are vital for healthy functioning. Next, it will review how stories (e.g., campfire tales, video game simulations) influence SEL. Last, it will demonstrate how parents, teachers, and kids can use Common Sense's tools to find inspirational, educational media.

Darla Anderson: senior producer, Pixar
Ed Bowers: assistant professor, Clemson University
Jeff Kleeman: president, A Very Good Production
Yalda T. Uhls: director of creative community partnerships, Common Sense

Whether you're at SXSWedu or not, follow us on Twitter to participate in the conversations!

Erin Wilkey Oh

Erin’s work focused on supporting students, teachers, and families for over a decade. As content director for family and community engagement at Common Sense, she provided parents and caregivers with practical tips and strategies for managing media and tech at home, and supports teachers in strengthening partnerships with families. Prior to her work with Common Sense, Erin taught public high school students and adult English learners in Kansas City. Her time as a National Writing Project teacher consultant nurtured her passion for student digital creation and media literacy. She has bachelor's degrees in English and secondary education and a master's degree in instructional design and technology. Erin loves to knit, read, hike, and bake. But who has time for hobbies with two young kids? In her free time these days, you'll find her hanging out at playgrounds, the zoo, and the beach with her family.