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Former N.C. Gov. Perdue leads SXSW panel on innovations and challenges for classroom tech

Former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue led a South by Southwest (SXSW) Education forum on Wednesday on how education technology can aid teachers and improve student performance, along with the challenges and opportunities presented as federal and state officials develop classroom technology policies.

Perdue, through the nonprofit she founded, DigiLearn, is in the forefront of developing ways for education technology to accelerate personalized learning by cultivating innovation and collaboration between educators, entrepreneurs, and policymakers.

The panel, “Straight Talk from Teachers on Ed Tech Policy,” featured hands-on educators discussing challenges ranging from data privacy, “Bring Your Own Device” models, and broadband access.

Perdue, along with panelists Jose Frasto, a technology teacher at the Enrico Tonti Elementary School in Chicago; Kerry Gallagher, a digital learning specialist at St. John’s Preparatory School; and Matthew Worthington, a digital learning coordinator with the Austin Public Schools addressed:

  • The role technology plays in 21st century teaching and learning and the challenges teachers face to implement technology thoughtfully to increase student achievement and engagement, and to extend learning opportunities.
  • The importance of policymakers and administrators understanding how technology is being used in the classroom making sure legislation and policies are developed in partnership with savvy technologist teachers.
  • The unintended detrimental impacts policies can have on the ability of teachers to implement technology effectively — making sure technology works hand-in-hand with things like privacy and equity.

Through her 25 years in public service as governor, lieutenant governor, and a member of the N.C. Senate and House of Representatives, Perdue has been a leading figure in developing and supporting education innovation. As governor, she led an initiative to make sure students were reading on grade level by third grade and created a statewide broadband education network for public schools and universities.

She is the founder of DigiLearn, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating digital learning for all ages with a goal of increasing personal learning options for students and expanding instructional opportunities for teachers and instructors.

To contact Gov. Perdue, send an e-mail to: or call 919.414.6846.

Alisa Herr

Alisa Herr is the former chief technical officer of EducationNC.