SXSW Interactive 2011

by Brad Berkner, Coordinator of Interactive Media Projects

I entered the room with a hot cup of ‘awake’ tea and a crumbly scone. I wanted to get there early so I could sit in front. It was the final day of the SXSW Interactive Conference, or as I refer to it “The SXSW Experience”. Many folks had already packed it up and headed home. It was decidedly more tranquil and in some ways perfect. I had been looking forward to this panel for months. I was steadfast in marking it on every schedule I created so I would not forget. I attended SXSW last year and like life, it is what you make of it.

The panel was about to begin. I turned to the woman next to me and introduced myself. This is something I informed the iMedia students to do anywhere they went. I asked her what brought her to this panel. She remarked that she had a three year old at home and her husband previously worked with one of the panelists. Her expectations were decidedly not as high as mine. I knew there was a reason for me being there.

The panelists were clearly passionate. It was evident they had made great sacrifices in their lives to get to this point and speak about this topic. There are times in everyone’s life where you get the feeling you are part of something much greater than ever originally intended. I had that feeling. The panel opened for conversation and the momentum of the panelist’s emotion carried into the audience. There must have been 25 people in queue behind the microphone waiting to share.

Time had run out and the session ended with a resounding cheer from the crowd. This was justification I was not only one with goose bumps. The woman turned to me, grabbed my shoulder, and told me she was extremely thankful she came to the panel and this was the perfect ending to the conference. I couldn’t have agreed more.

Panel: Can Design and Technology Fix America’s Education Problem?
Jon Kolko, Dennis Littky, Steven Tomlinson

It was fantastic to be able to share SXSW 2011 with nine iMedia students. A big thank you goes to the School of Communications! The iMedia competition to attend SXSW brought out the best in our students. The final team created a website that was continually updated with Flickr images, Vimeo interviews and a Twitter stream. Several students even tackled live blogging.

Visit Powell 213 @2pm Friday, April 1st for an informal Q&A session to learn more about our experiences at SXSW Interactive.

iMedia students at SXSW Interactive

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