SXSWedu Putting Education in Innovation

Education conference announces keynote from littleBits founder

littleBits founder Ayah Bdeir, the latest addition to SXSWedu 2016's list of keynote speakers
littleBits founder Ayah Bdeir, the latest addition to SXSWedu 2016's list of keynote speakers (Source:

SXSWedu 2016 is getting ready to launch, with the announcement that Ayah Bdeir, founder of modular electronics education firm littleBits, will deliver one of its keynote addresses.

Announcing the appearance of one of the thought leaders in the commercial end of the maker movement, SXSWedu producer Greg Rosenbaum said, “Ayah’s work epitomizes the creative energy that is integral to SXSWedu. By celebrating invention and supporting access to innovative tools, Ayah highlights the importance of igniting the creative spark in all learners around the world.”

A graduate of the American University of Beirut, Bdeir has become a regular name on the tech media's lists of IT innovators and influencers. Her company, for which she still serves as CEO, specializes in introductory electronic kits for classrooms and home engineers: Plus they snap together with magnets, making design, redesign, and repair more accessible to novices than the good old days of soldering irons.

Bdeir, who joins gaming designer and futurist Jane McGonigal and livestock expert Temple Grandin on the keynote roster, is one of several speakers announced today. Also joining the roster are Tim King of charter system Urban Prep Academies; Steve Mesler, whose Classroom Champions connects athletes with students; and an international view on the teaching experience with Sakena Yacoobi of the Afghan Institute of Learning.

There will also be a platform for less well-known education innovators to get in front of a broader audience with the return of SXSWedu Launch. The finalists for the competitive and mentored forum include:

• College application advisory service (Silver Spring, Maryland)
• Ed tech gaming start-up Alchemie (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
• ELSA (San Francisco, Calif.)
• Online public broadcaster Listen Current (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
• Expii, Inc. (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
• Paragon One (New York, NY)
• Online substitute teacher market Parachute Teachers (Jamaica Plain, Mass.)
• Online language provider Smart Coos (New Orleans, La.)
• Social gamification platform Territorium (Guadalupe, Mexico)
• Contemporary and alternative linguistics educators Words Liive (Washington, DC)

SXSWedu runs March 7-10. Full info and badge purchasing at

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