Sean Duffy is the organizer for EdTech Austin (@EdTechAustin), the hub for the amazing keynotes, panel discussions, edtech mixers, member spotlights, and hands-on learning experiences that inspire teachers, entrepreneurs, technologists, education reformers, and edtech enthusiasts to connect, collaborate, and innovate. They meet to explore various topics at the intersection of education and technology, to learn about the latest technologies that are supporting teachers, and to hear from teachers about the problems in education that must be fixed now. EdTech Austin also just celebrated their 2 year anniversary at the end of last month.
Why did you begin organizing this Meetup?
I believe in the value of community and collaboration, and until this meetup existed, there was no easy way for enthusiasts of education technology to come together. Particularly in education, it’s essential for professionals to connect and share ideas so that they can stay on the cutting-edge of their craft. Simply put, I started the EdTech Austin meetup to help connect educators and entrepreneurs to help make teachers and students’ experiences even better.
What do you do when you aren’t organizing Meetups, professionally or in your free time?
Professionally, I work primarily in educational assessment but also work with education-related startups. I’m the lead organizer for Startup Weekend Education in Austin, as well as a Startup Weekend Facilitator. In my free time, I love to run.
What are you looking forward to most in the 2015 Austin tech and startup scene?
Since my primary focus is education, I look forward to seeing more education related startups. Last year alone, education startups raised $1.87 BILLION. Education in our country is changing, and the demand has never been higher for great companies with solutions to the challenges that abound in the space. Beyond that, I hope to see more startups focusing on social good and more investment dollars coming to Austin in general.
What do you love about hosting at Capital Factory?
Capital Factory is, hands down, the best place to host a meetup in Austin. Being centrally located, our members love the convenience and ease of attending. The space itself has an energy and presence that can best be described as “inspiring.” Both the classroom and main space offer a flexibility to accommodate groups of various sizes, which can also be configured with tables and chairs to fit different types of programming. Beyond that, the staff at Capital Factory are always prompt and accommodating and make the process of scheduling and hosting meetups a piece of cake. And sometimes they even have cake — true story.
What do you love about living in Austin?
What’s not to love about living in Austin? While the food, music and culture are absolutely world class, what I love the most about living in Austin are the people. Austin is one of the most collaborative, friendly and energetic cities I know of. People here are always willing to lend a helping hand, or make an introduction or meet for coffee (and breakfast tacos) just to talk about an upcoming event or new venture. Also, breakfast tacos and bbq. Actually, that’s the best part about Austin. The breakfast tacos and bbq.