2018 Grants in pK-12 Education Innovation awardees | MIT J-WEL

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2018 Grants in pK-12 Education Innovation awardees

Congratulations to all of our 2018 award winners in pK-12 Education Innovation. In 2018, J-WEL's pK-12 Collaborative awarded over $250,000 in funding to six projects.

Grant recipients, pK-12 projects

Justin Reich

Teacher Practice Spaces for Equity Teaching Practices

Justin Reich, professor of comparative media studies/writing

Equity Teaching Practices are classroom strategies that counter the pernicious effects of structural inequality. Reich’s team will use their simulation platform, TeacherMoments, to help teachers from all disciplines, with particular emphasis on STEM fields, rehearse for and reflect on these practices.

Photo: Reich presents his project at the October 2018 J-WEL Week


Larissa Nietner

Tailoring STEM for Girls with Social Impact: Curricula, Self-Efficacy Change and Factors of Success in Multi-Week Interventions

David Wallace, professor of mechanical engineering, and Larissa Nietner, postdoc in the Department of Mechanical Engineering

To increase their participation in STEM, girls need to experience STEM content as socially impactful. This project will develop and test adequate curricula, materials, and generalizable principles, which can be shared and transferred between schools across both the U.S. and the developing world. Nietner discussed their project with J-WEL members during the October 2018 J-WEL Week: “We’re not just teaching [girls] how to code but how to innovate, and to take an active role in where technology is going."

Photo: Nietner presents at the October 2018 J-WEL Week

Dick Larson

High School Global STEM Project-Based Learning, Leveraging MIT BLOSSOMS

Richard Larson, the Mitsui Professor of Data, Systems, and Society, and Dan Frey, professor of mechanical engineering

This project will leverage MIT BLOSSOMS, a resource library where educators can find teaching materials, to create and evaluate compelling project-based learning (PBL) lesson plans for secondary-school STEM teachers and students. Working with MIT students and selected educational partners, the team will utilize existing BLOSSOMS lessons well-suited for PBL follow-up.

Photo: Larson discusses his project with J-WEL members


Peter and Mette

The Compassionate Systems Framework and Network Development

Peter Senge and Mette Miriam Boell, J-WEL

In 2016, Peter Senge and Mette Miriam Boell began working with the international baccalaureate (IB) network to develop and prototype a “Compassionate Systems Framework,” connecting systems thinking with mindfulness practices and social-emotional learning across the pK-12 spectrum. In this project, their team will assess impact and identify best practices that can be extended beyond the IB.

Photo: Senge and Boell run a session on the Compassionate Systems Framework during the October 2018 J-WEL Week

Meredith Thompson

XRoads: Building Educator Capacity in XR

Patty Maes, professor of media arts and sciences, and Eric Klopfer, professor of comparative media studies/writing 

Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) — collectively known as “XR” — have great potential as educational tools, but few attempts have been made to integrate educators into the design and delivery of relevant experiences. Building upon their work in the Education Arcade and the MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces group, research scientists Meredith Thompson and Scott W. Greenwald will work closely with teachers to adapt their work in room-scale VR for K-12 STEAM contexts and pilot the experiences with teachers and students.

Photo: Thompson explains their project at the October 2018 J-WEL Week

Ally Huang

Modular Curriculum With Hands-On, Low-Cost Biology Educational Activities

Jim Collins, the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science and professor of biological engineering

Collins and his team, led by biological engineering PhD student Ally Huang, previously developed a hands-on, low-cost synthetic biology educational kit based on freeze-dried cell-free reactions, which demonstrate biological concepts in an engaging manner. This project will develop a database of modular lessons using these activities, allowing educators to create their own curriculum suited for their students’ needs.     

Photo: Ally Huang