- xTalks: Digital Discourses
The xTalks series provides a forum to facilitate awareness, deep understanding and transference of educational innovations at MIT and elsewhere. We hope to foster a community of educators, researchers, and technologists engaged in developing and supporting effective learning experiences through online learning environments and other digital technologies. To sign up for the xTalks mailing list, click here.
Interactivity & Connectedness in the Classroom: Digital Tools for Collaborative Learning
Dr. Kyle Keane, with colleagues Ian Kim Riley, Andrew Ringler, and Mark Vrablic will introduce some digital tools and classroom management strategies for students to learn-by-doing through content creation rather than consumption. Keane's team has built a simple system that allows students to design, create, and publish gesture-based, videogame-like simulations using the Microsoft Kinect. These simulations allow users to 'play and experience' scientific concepts in a more tangible and kinesthetic manner. For example, they have built a 'molecular dynamics' simulation that shows a cluster of interacting molecules; to 'play' with the molecules, the user closes their hand in front of the screen to select a molecule and then drags the molecule to see how it affects the other molecules. This type of simulation can be used to introduce scientific concepts to the general public and incoming freshmen, or it can be used to further clarify the fundamentals for students who have already learned about the concept in a more traditional way.
Keane and his team used this framework to run a nine-day IAP project-based workshop where students formed small teams with diverse backgrounds to collaboratively create their own simulation for the system. They documented and published the workshop on OCW
Dr. Kyle Keane is a lecturer in the department of
Read MIT undergraduate blogger Ivory Zhu's reflections on Dr. Keane's xTalk.
Read more about Keane's work with Kinect and humanstic approaches to learning in this MIT News article.