MIT Office of Digital Learning Announces Across Boundaries Conference Co-sponsored with LearnLaunch Institute

January 25
Josef Blumenfeld

The MIT Office of Digital Learning announces that it is the co-host, along with LearnLaunch Institute, for the upcoming Across Boundaries Conference,  to be held on February 2-3, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. With a theme of “Personalizing Pathways to Learning and Careers,” the conference will bring together professionals from across the edtech sector to discuss critical challenges facing the effort to move education practice forward, to play with cutting-edge products, and to learn from leaders in the field.

Two of the five Keynotes are MIT professors:

●John Gabrieli, Grover Hermann Professor of Health Sciences and Technology and Cognitive Neuroscience at MIT, on “What Neuroscience Has to Say for Education 2.0”

●Erik Brynjolfsson, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Professor at MIT Sloan School, and Research Associate at NBER, on “Will a Robot Eat My Job?”

They join 3 other keynotes:

●Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University, on “Personalizing Higher Ed.” Aoun received his PhD in Linguistics and Philosophy from MIT.

●Tom VanderArk, CEO of GettingSmart, on “The State of Edtech“

●Phyllis Lockett, CEO of Leap Innovations, on “Personalizing K-12”

Other MIT speakers at the conference include:

●Vijay Kumar, Associate Dean & Senior Strategic Advisor, Digital Learning, MIT and Associate Dean, MIT Office of Digital Learning, will host a session on “MIT: Edtech and The Evolution of Degree Programs, Learning Methods and Learning” 

●Nina Hunterman, CAO of edX, will participate in a session on “The Changing Landscape of MOOCs in Higher Ed”

●Eric Klopfer, MIT Professor and Director of the Education Arcade, will moderate a session on Game-Based Learning

●Arthur Levine,  Founding President of the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning at MIT.

●Paul Crockett of Authess, an AI company co-founded by MIT’s Chris Kaiser, AMGEN Professor of Biology, is speaking on “The Evolution of Assessment”

Hot topics include sessions on assessment, simulations, coding, IOT, and the use of virtual and augmented reality in education. Business leaders will address the need for product interoperability, the role of tech giants in edtech, the move to software suites, and the use of marketplaces. Leading investors will address the role of social impact investing and global opportunities.

The Conference’s Learning Innovation Showcase will feature the innovations of 25 secondary and higher ed teacher and student teams, ranging from “greengineering” to the application of virtual reality at a local high school. Leading superintendents, including those from the recently launched MAPLE Consortium, will address how to personalize the system as well as the classroom, while pioneer educators will address successful piloting and the latest in research on product efficacy.

“Hands-on, problem-focused, curiosity-driven learning is squarely at the heart of an MIT education and we are excited to work with LearnLaunch on this conference,” said Sanjay Sarma, Vice President, Open Learning at MIT. Sharing Sarma’s enthusiasm, Jean Hammond, co-founder of LearnLaunch and MIT Corporation member, believes that “MIT’s Office of Digital Learning is an ideal co-sponsor for this conference.”

Companies from around the world have competed in three pitch-offs to become semi-finalists in the Across Boundaries Pitch Competition. Two out of the ten semifinalist teams were founded by MIT students and alums: Slang App CEO Diego Villegas, MBA Sloan ’13, and DotLearn CEO Tunde Alawode, PhD Candidate. The finalists will pitch their work before the entire conference.

More than 1,000 entrepreneurs, educators, edtech industry participants, students, and investors will connect with each other and benefit from the opportunities presented in five plenary sessions, a pitch competition, 48 concurrent sessions, birds-of-a-feather dinners, and a startup exhibition area, where participants will get a sneak peek of cutting-edge innovations that are not only transforming learning, but also changing the way educational institutions do business.

Other sponsors for the event include: McGraw Hill Education, Curriculum Associates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,Google, Microsoft, Parthenon-EY, EF, Pearson, Cengage Learning, Rethink Education, Extension Engine, Vital Source, Nelson Mullins, Ligature Partners, Nutter, Tyton Partners, Bisk, Silicon Valley Bank, KnowledgeVision, and Credly.

About the MIT Office of Digital Learning

The mission of the Office of Digital Learning (ODL) is to transform teaching and learning at MIT and around the globe through the innovative use of digital technologies.

About the LearnLaunch Annual Conference
Since its inception in 2013, the LearnLaunch Conference has grown into the premier edtech for conference in the Northeast. Its mission is to promote dialogue and to bring together a diverse set of voices to discuss the most challenging questions facing the edtech industry surrounding digital learning. The conference empowers the education community to build, use, and deliver effective and engaging digital tools and learning experiences. The first Across Boundaries conference was held at the MIT Sloan School.

About LearnLaunch Institute
LearnLaunch Institute catalyzes a community that drives innovation to transform learning and increase achievement. Our education innovation ecosystem mobilizes educators, entrepreneurs, learners, investors, and industry affiliates. As a nonprofit, the LearnLaunch Institute offers learning opportunities and connections to individuals, support services to schools, and a district network. We believe in expanding access to learning that is engaging, personalized, and effective. Edtech is a critical component of achieving this vision at scale. For more Information and our upcoming events, visit or follow us @LearnLaunch. LearnLaunch Institute is a part of the LearnLaunch family, which includes LearnLaunch Accelerator, and the co-working space, LearnLaunch Campus. Learn more about our full family of services at

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Josef Blumenfeld