Reimagining education: MIT holds its first Festival of Learning

Reimagining education: MIT holds its first Festival of Learning

On Feb 1-2, over 200 students and faculty gathered in MIT’s Building 10 to discuss and share recent advances in education technology. This first-ever — and first of its kind — “Festival of Learning” was co-sponsored by the MIT Office of Digital Learning (ODL), the Teaching and Learning Lab, and the offices of the deans of undergraduate and graduate education.

In her welcoming remarks, MIT Chancellor Cynthia Barnhart called the festival an important gathering of scholars and researchers working to reimagine the way we educate 21st century students — from digital content creation, to flipped or blended classrooms, to cracking the learning sciences code. “Clearly, the MIT community is energized about the transformations and experiments happening in this space,” Barnhart said.

The event included teaching workshops, presentations by MIT professors, poster sessions, and demonstrations. It also featured a hackathon that brought undergraduate and graduate students together to solve real-world challenges in digital education.

Satya Nitta, global head and program director of cognitive science and education technology at IBM Research, opened the festival with a presentation about the Watson cognitive computing platform and its potential to power interactive, natural language tutors for students of all ages. Later that day, Andrew Sullivan, the creator of Quizlet, gave a talk about the capabilities of his popular online learning tool, and what it can tell us about teaching.

“An extraordinary convergence”

One of the highlights of the festival was the Teaching @ MIT Lightning Round, a showcase for some of the most imaginative teaching strategies being used in MIT’s classrooms. In a series of lively seven-minute talks, professors Lorna Gibson, Michael Scott Cuthbert, Dennis Freeman, Peter Dourmashkin, and Emanuel Sachs presented their favorite methods for engaging students, including blended learning curricula and cutting-edge technological innovations.

To learn more about this event, please go to this MIT News link: (MIT News)

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