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monicaListen Edition at SXSWedu 2014

This past week Listen Edition attended South by Southwest Education.  It’s a conference on educational innovation held every year in Austin, Texas, just days prior to the better known SXSW interactive, film and music festivals. This year, attendance at SXSWedu doubled over last year’s.  It’s our first year attending and we can see why it’s such a popular conference for education thought leaders.

The power of storytelling

What we heard as a theme in the workshops and talks Listen Edition attended was the power of storytelling in education.  The VP of Children’s Programming at PBS, Linda Simensky said, “Kids really want to watch narratives, they want to watch stories.”  She also talked about how developing trust with an educational project is key to its success.

DoD invests in science behind storytelling

Another panel mentioned that the US Department of Defense has spent $6 million on researching the science behind storytelling.  They sponsored a two-day workshop on “Neurobiology of Narratives.” The workshop looked at “how listening to a narrative can impact the biology of emotions like empathy, sympathy or outrage and disgust, leading to impulsive reactions.”

Emotionally-engaged learning via TED-Ed

At a panel on YouTube in education, Logan Smalley of TED-Ed said, “we learn best when we are emotionally engaged.”  TED-Ed allows teachers to create lessons around TED talks.

“If our two minute video inspired a kid to read a 200 page book, great.  The videos make them want to learn more,” said Smalley.

Education video growth on YouTube

There are 100 hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute.  And while much of it is silly cat videos, YouTube’s head of strategic partnerships, Angela Lin said that “now there are more views of education content than of cats and animals.”  Now that’s some great news!