As digital technologies continue to transform the way we teach and learn, they also provide us with a means to monitor and refine our methods. “There’s very little evidence that the standard forms of teaching are as effective as they could be,” says Professor John Gabrieli PhD ‘87, who heads the recently established MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), a cross-disciplinary, Institute-wide initiative to promote rigorous quantitative and qualitative research on how people learn. “Our initiative will help us evaluate and assess ways we think we can improve learning.”
Much of that research will focus on pK–12 education. The new pK–12 Action Group brings MIT’s learning approach to pre-kindergarten through grade 12 learners and teachers, building upon the more than 100 existing outreach efforts at MIT, and developing new ones. For example, in collaboration with the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, MIT’s Office of Digital Learning has launched a new effort that will support teachers from pre-kindergarten to high school in their efforts to use emerging digital learning tools, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“These new efforts enable us to amplify, broaden, and accelerate our commitment to pK–12 education at the national level and beyond,” says Angela Belcher, the James Mason Crafts Professor, professor of materials science and engineering, and professor of biological engineering who chairs the pK–12 advisory group. “Our collective interest in teaching, outreach, and inspiring the next generation has been the most fulfilling experience I’ve had as a member of the MIT community.”