SXSW EDU 2020: 4 Sessions You Won't Want to Miss

[Picture is from a Facebook Live at SXSW EDU 2019 with HMH CEO Jack Lynch.]

We're heading back to the SXSW EDU Conference & Festival in Austin, Texas, on March 9–12! SXSW EDU offers many thought-provoking, engaging discussions about innovation and the future of teaching and learning with educators from across the country.

HMH is excited to present four unique sessions that will showcase a diverse set of voices in education, including conversations on creating SEL ecosystems, addressing equity within our nation’s schools, supporting early learners using AI, and the future of learning.

If you’re headed to Austin, we hope you’ll join us at our sessions, which we've listed below! And if you don’t have an SXSW EDU badge, stay tuned as we share our favorite moments and new learnings during and after the conference. You can follow our journey on Twitter by following @HMHCo or me at @edu_onalee! I've also included the Twitter handles of our panelists below, so you never have to miss a moment!

A New ‘Whole Child’ Era: Creating SEL Ecosystems

Monday, March 9, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CT
Hilton Austin Downtown - Room 400

New research shows that for the first time, the social emotional needs of students rank as the number one concern for educators. That same research tells us that only one in 10 educators say their schools have strong SEL initiatives in place. This unique panel will bring together the nation’s leading experts from academia to the classroom and provide concrete guidance for creating an SEL ecosystem that incorporates input from all relevant stakeholders and ensures all student needs are met.


  • Steve Arrowood, Senior Director of Professional Learning, International Center For Leadership In Education
  • Dr. Stephanie Jones, Director of the Ecological Approaches to Social-Emotional Learning (EASEL) Lab and Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Weston Kieschnick, Associate Partner, International Center For Leadership In Education. Follow him on Twitter @Wes_Kieschnick.
  • Venola Mason, Senior Fellow, International Center For Leadership In Education. Follow her on Twitter @MasonVenola.
  • Dr. Avis Williams, Superintendent, Selma City Schools. Follow her on Twitter @DrAvisW.

Closing the Gap for Black Students: New Research

Monday, March 9, 2:00–3:00 p.m. CT
Hilton Austin Downtown - Room 410

This session will reveal new research focused on two critical strands: an ambitious school improvement effort in Middletown, CT with stunning results; and findings from a national survey of teachers about improving achievement for black students. Led by four founding members of Innovation For Equity, an interdisciplinary collective of education leaders, this panel will offer concrete takeaways on improving academic outcomes and addressing equity within our nation’s schools.


  • Dr. Lydia Carlis, Chief Eyemagination Officer, eyemaginED
  • Dr. Michael Conner, Superintendent, Middletown Public Schools. Follow him on Twitter @DocConner13.
  • Benita Flucker, Senior Vice President Shared Services, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Josh Powe, Co-Founder & CEO, Linkit!
  • Dr. Julie Washington, Professor & Department Chair, Georgia State University. Follow her on Twitter @jwashingtonPhD.

Using Science to Support Early Learners with AI

Monday, March 9, 3:00–3:30 p.m. CT
Austin Convention Center - Exhibit Hall 4 Playground Stage

The concept of AI in early education can conjure visions of a dystopian future. But when done right, AI has the power to transform early reading instruction. Based on 20 years of scientific research from Carnegie Mellon, Amira is a breakthrough innovation: intelligent software that works side-by-side with K-3 teachers and students to better assess oral reading and accelerate literacy. Session participants will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and experience Amira firsthand.


  • Mark Angel, CEO, Amira Learning
  • Matthew Mugo Fields, GM, Supplemental & Intervention Solutions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewMFields.

The Future of Learning with OZY & HMH (The Future of X)

Wednesday, March 11, 3:30–4:30 p.m. CT
Hilton Austin Downtown - Room 406

We’re in an education paradigm shift. What will the classroom look like in 50 years? What about the modern workforce? How can we make sure students and educators learn the skills they need to adapt? What is the role of tech? Join the CEO of OZY Media, Carlos Watson (@carloswatson), and the CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jack Lynch (@jacklynch_), for a candid conversation on the future of education and what’s next in the world of purposeful technology as part of a special live episode of OZY’s tech podcast, The Future of X.


Visit the SXSW EDU website for more information, and follow the conference on Twitter at #SXSWEDU.

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