5 of our Favorite Projects from SXSWedu


It’s been a jam-packed week here in Austin,TX at SXSWedu, the energetic educational sibling to the likes of SXSW Music and SXSW Interactive. Here are five of the best projects at SXSWedu that caught our attention this week.

1. Project MASH

Project MASH logoOn Tuesday morning – unfortunately at the same time as my talk announcing the release of the City X Toolkit – The Pearson Foundation officially announced Project MASH. Project MASH is a digital learning network for teachers and students, and the organizations that serve them. Supported by the Pearson Foundation’s New Learning Institute, Project MASH introduces you to learning experiences that involve real-world problems, as well new ways to solve them. We’re very proud to say that City X is one of the featured projects in Project MASH. We encourage anyone looking to share educational resources with teachers to check out this site.

2. SparkFun

Gadgets on a table at SXSWedu

The SparkFun table at the SXSWedu Playground.

SparkFun Electronics has been around for a long time but at the SXSWedu Playground I finally had the opportunity to get a sense of the full range of projects this incredible company offers. I can’t wait to see what we can do with some of these kids in our programs for high school students.

Check this out from the SparkFun website:

SparkFun is an online retail store that sells the bits and pieces to make your electronics projects possible. Whether it’s a robot that can cook your breakfast or a GPS cat tracking device, our products and resources are designed to make the world of electronics more accessible to the average person.

3. Quandary

On Wednesday Peter Stidwill gave a talk on his game Quandary, an online game that teaches ethics by asking students to solve the problems of people building a new civilization. Quandary is a project of the Learning Games Network, an organization that came out of the MIT Education Arcade and my own alma mater, the Games Learning Society program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. If you like the City X story, you should definitely check out this free game.

4. Co.Lab

On Thursday morning I made it to the Convention Center for an early 9am talk on educational games and I’m so glad I did! There I learned about Co.Lab, the first startup accelerator focused specifically on educational games. Co.Lab just began working with their second cohort of startups and they look very promising. It’s great to see games being increasingly woven into the edtech space.

5. MakerKids

Cube 3D printers at the MakerKids table at the SXSWedu Playground.

Cube 3D printers at the MakerKids table at the SXSWedu Playground.

Finally, I have to mention MakerKids, another great exhibit in the SXSWedu Playground. Run by Andy Forest and Jenn Turliock in Toronto, Canada, MakerKids is one of the only makerspaces for kids in the world. I got to hang out with them at their exhibit in the Playground on Wednesday and help people learn to 3D model and print. Check out the great work they’re doing alongside other kids’ makerspaces like the Omaha Children’s Museum, the Los Angeles Makerspace, and, SparkTruck.

Of course, these five resources are only the tip of the iceberg! I look forward to sharing more here as I follow up with other wonderful educators and innovators I had the opportunity to meet at SXSWedu. Follow me on Twitter for more updates!


  • matthewmagellan

    This sounds amazing. I so badly wish I could be there!