What am I doing writing about the SXSW Interactive, Film, and Music Festival on a blog about libraries and education? (Well, first off, because we won FREE wristbands to attend the SXSW music festival–thanks KGSR!) But also, as I’ve been using the SXSW website and reading articles about it, it’s fascinating to see how technology is woven into the fabric of how communication happens at the conference.
And I bring this up here because our students and recently graduated students from around the world attend this event, and I want to know more about the tools they are using in their “outside” life.
This year, for example, SXSW sold the wristbands via a text message system that sent a message to phones the day tickets were to be sold with a time and location of the wristband sales.
The SXSW website provides a new cell phone service– SXSW mobi as a “new adventure in mobile content delivery”which allows you to subscribe with a smartphone and get text updates of schedules, venues, who’s attending and more. The site includes a free mp3 song from each band who played that can be downloaded to a cell phone or computer (here’s one for the band we saw–Harris Tweed from South Africa).
Another interesting and cool tool that I had seen before (on principal Tim Lauer’s blog) , but hadn’t quite figured out is Twitter, which allows you to post very brief updates to what you are doing at any given minute, like “reading a book 7:05, drinking coffee 7:10.” I hadn’t quite figured out the implications or use of it other than flooding the web with even more information.
But after seeing how SXSW is using it, I can see why it would be useful (and especially to our more wired students). Twitter works online, or through im, or through text messaging on your cell phone. You can “subscribe” to a friend’s update (which can be sent to your phone) so for something like SXSW, it becomes a handy tool for meeting up with people or finding where your friends are.)
Elsewhere on the SXSW site you can hear podcasts, see video of panel discussions, see movie trailers for the film festival, or subscribe to email alerts for particular aspects of the conference. (And yes, it seems like an almost overwhelming amount of information–maybe that is something to have a conversation with our students about.)
The point is–this conference, which is a big part of our city’s culture, is fully “wired” and also global. (Last night we saw bands from L.A., Liverpool and Johannesburg.)
I don’t have to be able to use all these tools myself, but it’s good to have an understanding of what kinds of tools our students are using “outside” the school walls. And being aware of all these options may help us find innovative uses for these tools and help us bring the “outside” world into our classrooms.