Tag Archives: MIT

iPad Summit Pre-Conference at Cambridge Innovation Center & MIT Media Lab

It’s November so I have left beautiful South Florida (where it was 77 degrees) to Boston (50 degrees and dropping) for the annual iPad Summit hosted by EdTechTeacher. For the first time in a long time, I am attending a conference solely as a learner. Instead of prepping for my own presentations, I just get to enjoy the events.

This year, they switched up the pre-conference workshops. I had the privilege of visiting the Cambridge Innovation Center and MIT’s Media Lab. What I loved about this was that it wasn’t about curriculum, lesson plans, or pedagogy. Instead, it was a big picture discussion. What are employers looking for today? How do we foster entrepreneurship in our students? I also got to see some great tools in action that I am not allowed to share with the public.

At the Cambridge Innovation Center, we met Vickie the founder of Youth CITIES, an organization that fosters entrepreneurship in young children. In meeting with her and other leaders in innovative practices, the notion that “it’s what you can do, not what you know” was highlighted. If we can get kids to think outside the box and build professional networks, they will be ahead of the curve in the real world. They also encourage more team building and social interaction. While in academics we are graded solo, in the real world we work in teams and on projects.

These magnets change color when you press them! Thanks Gail for the pic!

These magnets change color when you press them! Thanks Gail for the pic!

After lunch, we got to visit the MIT Media Lab. If you are familiar with the work of Seymour Papert, you know that he espouses the view that we learn by doing and grow by sharing and collaborating with others. The Media Lab highlighted this experience to the extreme. All around us were open labs. While the focus was technology the projects were on medical sciences, music, and we finished in Lifelong Kindergarten where, surrounded by legos, we learned about Scratch, Scratch Jr., and (my favorite) MakeyMakey:

The Education Arcade, with its focus on learning using games, was the highlight of my day!

I wish I could put down on paper all that I learned, but I’m just starting to process it all. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the conference brings!

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MIT Open Courseware: STEM Concept Videos

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 12.16.38 PMThe MIT Open Courseware project has released a new class on iTunes U: STEM Concept Videos.

“The Concept Vignettes are a series of videos produced by the Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) at MIT, for the Singapore University of Technology and Design (STUD). Each video is designed to help students learn a pivotal concept in science and engineering.”

As all iTunes U courses and MIT Open Courseware, content is entirely free and can be downloaded here. You can also browse other MIT Open Courseware options on their website

Using Free Educational Resources to Boost or Change Careers

I was recently visiting with a friend of mine who was expressing dissatisfaction in her career and was telling me about her new plan to do a complete career shift. Now, we are in our 30s, well educated, and the thought of going back to school (and adding to already crippling loan debt) can be rather daunting. Instead, she told me that she was planning to take some free classes via iTunes U and MIT OpenCourseware. I had never even considered the potential of these courses for career changes – especially for those who already have college and graduate degrees. However, the opportunities for those who wish to do their own professional development in field as well as broadening their own opportunities are truly boundless.

There are many resources out there, the most famous of course being iTunes U. With access to an iOS device or simply a computer with iTunes (free software), anyone can listen in (audit) classes on a variety of topics: history, philosophy, computer programming, marketing, business, and more. These are not cheap or hapless classes – rather, they’re from world famous institutions like Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford (to name a limited few). Heck, if you’re interested in the Classical World, you can listen to my own educational podcasts (from my years at TCU).

One of the most famous recent announcements has been the Harvard-MIT EdX initiative. Harvard and MIT have come together to offer online course enrollment for a grade (but no degree) for those interested. So, ‘regular joes’ can enroll in some of the most prestigious university courses for no cost and even receive a grade (although no credit).

So while you may not get a Harvard Degree, these courses are an excellent way for adults to hone their own professional skills, indulge a hobby or interest, or even give you the prominent background understanding to change careers!

Take Classes at MIT & Harvard for Free

MIT and Harvard University have announced a joint venture: edX which, starting the Fall of 2012, start providing free online courses for all. Students will receive a grade, but no actual credit (sorry, no Harvard Degree without enrollment). The hope is to provide ready access to online education along with prime educational material to interested parties. This is an exciting and innovative step in online education.

15 Opportunities for Free Online Education

A reader just forwarded me an interesting article entitled “15 Inspiring Examples of Free Online Education” by OnlineCollege.org. They list a number of gems ranging from online open academies, free resources, and courses offered by world-renowned institutions. They are geared towards beginners, early learners, returning students, and advanced levels of education:

  1. Khan Academy
  2. MIT Open Courseware
  3. Berkeley Webcast
  4. Tufts Open Courseware
  5. Open Courseware Consortium
  6. Academic Earth
  7. Textbook Revolution
  8. Project Gutenberg
  9. iTunes U
  10. The Open University
  11. Watch, Know, Learn
  12. The University of the People
  13. TED
  14. Wikiversity (I’m trying to find the time to be a contributed here)
  15. Instructables

You can find some wonderful information on nearly any topic, free books, supplements for student learning, and more!

MIT Open Courseware – Free Online Course Materials

If you are not yet familiar with MIT’s Open Courseware, you soon will be. A few months ago, MIT elected to make a good chunk of its courses available to the public, free of charge. Now, this doesn’t mean that you will get credit or are entitled to enrollment should you elect to explore this free content. Still, you will have access to some of the best minds and educators in the world via one of the best institutions in the world. There is even an iOS app, so that you can take your content with you on your smartphone.

What makes MIT’s program unique here is that it incorporates a social media element, allowing enrolled and non-enrolled students to communicate about the course content and information – a new element of the online education phenomenon.

Courses include all core curriculum – Arts, Sciences, Humanities, Mathematics, Health, Technology, etc. If you’ve ever been interested in auditing a college course on any topic, this is an excellent resource for you.