South by Southwest (SXSW), once a music, interactive and film festival is now a hub of all things innovative. Twitter first became notable at SXSW back in 2007. SXSW since has branched to three other sets of festivals: SXSWedu for education, SXSW Eco for environment and SXSW V2V for startups.

At this year’s SXSWedu, Dr. Ellen Meier, Caron Mineo and Rita Sanchez traveled to Austin, Texas to facilitate an interactive session titled, Teachers as Designers: The Great STEM Equalizers. Fifty participants — including teachers, administrators and curriculum writers — engaged in hands-on work and discussion around the following key questions: What is the meaning of and potential for STEM education? And, how can we position teachers to ensure STEM is never out of reach for any student?

Through the exploration of a model project, participants experienced how a standards-based STEM project provided rich opportunities for addressing individual student needs.

Teachers as Designers: The Great STEM Equalizers was another step in a shift in instruction towards a more balanced approach to providing rigorous and engaging learning opportunities for all students.