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SXSW EDU® Reveals the First Round of Featured Sessions for the 2024 Conference & Festival

Roster of speakers includes leading psychologist Carol Dweck, Gizmodo editor-in-chief Dan Ackerman, and executive director of The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program Josh Wyner

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- From topics on leaders as culture agents to Dungeons & Dragons as a teaching mechanism, SXSW EDU® is excited to unveil the initial lineup of Featured Sessions selected for its upcoming conference and festival taking place from March 4-7, 2024. Reviewed and chosen via the PanelPicker® process, these sessions were not only picked from what was a highly competitive submission pool this year but are also representative of the critical topics that the event will address, including the idea of the growth mindset, the impact of collaborative storytelling, and the critical importance of community colleges. These sessions all celebrate adventurous and less traditional routes toward learning.

"Education is a constantly evolving field with a breadth of influences that seem to expand by the day. We have seen this directly reflected in the sheer amount and variety of PanelPicker submissions this year. With this first round of Featured Sessions, we are already setting the stage for wide-ranging conversations that encapsulate the many facets of creating prosperous communities through education," said Greg Rosenbaum, senior director of SXSW EDU.

This year, SXSW EDU saw significant growth in both PanelPicker submissions and community voting. The conference and festival received 1,677 proposals, a 33% increase over last year, and proposed sessions received 53,878 public votes, a significant increase from last year's total of 39,639 public votes. The following Featured Sessions were selected to be a part of the growing lineup for both their continuation of the discussions started at the 2023 event, such as gamification in the classroom and alternative pathways, and their unique take on some of the 12 recurring and newly introduced tracks making up the 2024 conference and festival. Announced Featured Sessions include:

  • Does Your Classroom and School Have a Culture of Growth? – Global best-selling author Carol Dweck joins her protégé, Mary Murphy, to launch and discuss Cultures of Growth: How the New Science of Mindset Transforms Individuals, Teams, and Organizations, Mary's new follow-up to Carol's transformative book, Mindset. In this interview-style session, the two will cover the idea of mindset as culture and strategies and practices.
  • Takeaways From Our Freshman Year of D&D in Schools – In early fall 2022, teachers were able to download Dungeons & Dragons-inspired teaching kits at no cost. Now, the leaders behind Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast, Dan Rawson and Shelly Mazzanoble, along with Sioux Falls Public Schools educator Kade Wells, and Gizmodo editor-in-chief Dan Ackerman, will gather to examine the outcome. They will look at how students from all economic and cultural backgrounds were able to participate in developing storytelling, language arts, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills.
  • Promise & Peril: The Potential of Our Community Colleges – Although low-cost, diverse community colleges educate 40 percent of undergrads, they face an array of challenges, such as dropping enrollment rates. The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program's Josh Wyner and Pascale Charlot come together with the Chancellor of Austin Community College District, Russell Lowery-Hart, to chat about the role these colleges play in advancing economic mobility and the ways they can advance forward.

To learn more about the exciting 2024 program, please visit


The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival is a reflection of the world's most critical social issues as seen through the lens of education. This year's event will bring together the learner, the practitioner, the entrepreneur, and the visionary to share their groundbreaking stories, tackle complex issues, and build reimagined paths forward. As a community of diverse people who are united around a like-minded vision for the future, SXSW EDU serves as a place for attendees to renew their purpose in practice from both a personal and professional perspective. It is a place to reinforce the core principles of teaching and learning as well as an opportunity to express your creativity and passion for education. Join the passionate and innovative community at SXSW EDU, March 4-7, 2024.

Liz Stein
SXSW EDU Press & Publicity