SxSWedu & SessionBombing

ses·sion·bomb·ing /ˈseSHən bom-ing/ – The practice of co-opting a presentation to pitch your own product.

SxSWedu is underway in Austin, Texas. Beautiful city, beautiful facility, friendly & professional organizers.

Having presented twice yesterday, I’m taken aback by the brazen SessionBombing that occurs. Vendors are shameless at using the relaxed format of the sessions to pose questions for which they believe their product is the answer.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the demographics of attendees. Educators seem to be a mix of US higher education and regional K-12, and a large portion of the participants are representing web development teams, policy makers, or non-profits.

Many of the sessions have provocative titles that suggest attendees will gain knowledge in a subject, but so far the ones I’ve attended are thinly veiled product pitches. I might just be bad at picking sessions – I might just be naive.

I’m looking for more educator voices at the conference. I had a teacher actually thank me for entertaining questions during the TheirSpace: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens session. To me, inviting attendees into a conversation about effective classroom practice should be fundamental for any educational conference – not an anomaly.

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