The NPR Ed team is back from Austin, where we connected with hundreds of educators and people excited about education at the annual South By Southwest Edu Conference. As with many conferences, there's just as much to be gained from conversations in the hallways and chance encounters as from the official sessions. Here's what we learned from both.

1) For many teachers, the most important tech tools are free.

South by Southwest is the biggest conference of its kind in Texas. It draws in tens of thousands of people and has an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Janet Pierson heads up SXSW Film, which is screening 150 films this year – the most ever.

“We actually really wanted to show fewer films. The last couple of years we had settled on about 130-133 features – down from 140 – and we wanted to actually pull it down to about 125, and then there was just too much work that was interesting,” Pierson says.

If you're headed to Austin over the next two weeks, we'll see you there!

NPR staff and journalists will be spread out across the city for this year's South by Southwest Conferences & Festivals. Beginning today, the teams will be leading sessions, participating in panel discussions, hosting music showcases and conducting interviews during several portions of the annual event.

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Each year, hundreds of filmmakers submit their films to the prestigious South By Southwest film festival. Screening at the fest gets your film in front of passionate fans and industry insiders. And at SXSW, there’s a special category for short films from talented young Texans. These are two of their stories, up close and personal.

As I scrolled through tweets about a panel on agricultural entrepreneurs at the SXSW Eco conference earlier this month, one caught my eye. The sender was Vance Crowe, Monsanto's director of millennial engagement.

Corporate America is currently caught up in a torrid infatuation with millennials, who befuddle and torment the companies who want their dollars.