Highlights From Our March 2018 J-WEL Week | MIT J-WEL

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Highlights From Our March 2018 J-WEL Week

Despite the threat of a New England snowstorm, our second J-WEL Week kicked off with gusto on Monday, March 19. J-WEL's three collaboratives--pK-12, Higher Education, and Workplace Learning--joined together for an opening session with MIT's Vice President for Open Learning, Sanjay Sarma. Sarma talked about the intersection between work and learning, the past and future of companies, AI, and the "fourth learning revolution." J-WEL members and event attendees can access his slides here. 

After the opening session, J-WEL's three collaboratives split into their respective groups. Each collaborative's program is described below.  



2 participants with test tubesThe program for the pK-12 Collaborative was designed to provide a practical experience to current and potential members. Participants engaged in hands-on sessions with MIT faculty and groups, allowing them to engage more deeply in the future. Given the variety of interests and focus of the work of the attendees, the pK-12 program was designed to allow members some flexibility in how they navigated the sessions. The program included sessions where everyone came together around topics that the collaborative believes are important for all (design-based research, conversations about the future of learning, school design, and even how we build consent surrounding ethical dilemmas participants face while working in diverse learning environments); however, the week also included parallel sessions, where attendees were able to focus on their particular interests.

One such session included "A Playful Assessment Approach to Research Study Design,"  during which participants joined Dr. YJ Kim, a leading researcher in the field of assessment science, and Louisa Rosenheck, an experienced learning game and product designer, for an interactive workshop. Participants learned how to design research studies and collect evidence for educational interventions using a playful assessment approach, which benefits learners by being fun and engaging, increasing the likelihood that learners will take the assessment seriously and try their best. Attendees were shown examples of playful assessment tools, allowing them to then co-designing research instruments for gathering information on learners' decisions and comprehension. 

The pK-12 program also included sessions where attendees and members of the MIT community were able to converse about mutual areas of interest, build a common language, and perhaps begin to create a joint agenda surrounding future work. Focus areas of such sessions included STEM, teacher learning, early childhood, and computational thinking. The collaborative expects that other areas may emerge from the work completed during the week, such as gender equality. The pK-12 program included time to talk about expectations for the week and to reflect on progress throughout the week. The final session looked at the future of education with Peter Senge, as well as what J-WEL and members can do together going forward.


Higher Education  

3 HE participantsWithin its diverse community of education leaders, the Higher Education Collaborative worked to identify key topics that resonate both across countries and universities in order for members to continue addressing these topics in a multi-university framework that recognizes local goals, has the power of collective input (sharing), and publishable outcomes. During Day 1, participants were organized into groups and identified key words or themes, which they then used to create a Word Map in real-time.

Following that, five major themes emerged: Curriculum, Entrepreneurship, Faculty Training, E-Learning/Online and Access and Equity. During Days 2 and 3, groups then discussed how they were addressing these themes, harnessing them, or being challenged in these areas. On the final day, participants presented on their universities, as well as goals for collaboration and how they may connect to the overarching themes. 


Workplace Learning 

Interactive table with 3 people

The program for J-WEL's Workplace Learning Collaborative focused on working with companies like Analog Devices, IBM, Intelligent Machine Labs, Procter & Gamble, and UBS, among others, on envisioning the role of learning in building resilience in a world of constant change. The program also included thought leaders, such as renowned economist and MIT Professor, Daron Acemoglu, who shared their insights from recent research on the fundamental forces shaping the future of work. Other highlights included the participation of more than a dozen innovators, from MIT and elsewhere, in our  "Learning Everywhere Project Showcase," during which participants learned about novel educational initiatives, projects, and startups focused on learning and education.