We are exploring new avenues in the science of learning—and reaching for a greater understanding of how people acquire knowledge at all levels, from pK–12 to lifelong learners. In our classrooms, residences, and makerspaces, we are reinvigorating our traditional practices of making and doing, while accelerating pedagogical innovation through digital tools and experiential education. With programs and facilities that support our students in all aspects of their lives, we are enriching and expanding our campus living and learning experience. And through digital learning efforts like MITx and OpenCourseWare, we are continuing to provide quality educational opportunities to all those with the drive and talent to seize them.
The New Science of Learning
The MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) is a dedicated, cross-campus research effort to study the acquisition, retention, and transfer of knowledge from myriad perspectives. MITili draws from fields ranging from design to economics to cognitive psychology.
The School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative is a research program that focuses on the economics of education, plumbing the connections between American income distribution and educational outcomes. SEII has studied school quality and education reform in cities across the country.
“I have spent the past decade trying to understand the mystery of how children learn so much from so little, so quickly,” says Laura Schulz, the Charles F. Hopewell Professor of Cognitive Science. She is also a principal investigator of the Early Childhood Cognition Lab (ECCL).
Enhancing the MIT Student Experience
For many years, MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) has offered MIT undergraduates a chance to partner with faculty on cutting-edge research. For undergraduates across the School of Engineering who want a deeper research experience, the year-long SuperUROP program was launched.
At MIT it’s amazingly easy to find an engineering student whose goals include performing with the Boston Pops, a math student who plays a mean jazz piano, or a marine biologist who is also a stellar cellist. At MIT, students seeking a STEM education are also able to further their passion for music: the Institute offers unique opportunities to pursue mastery of both.
Innovating Education for All
The Office of Digital Learning (ODL) has created a new community of digital learning innovators called the MITx Digital Learning Lab. A collaborative program between ODL and MIT’s academic departments, the lab’s team strives to study and refine the use of digital learning on campus and beyond.
MIT 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).
Freshman advising seminars are a half-century-old tradition at MIT, giving students the opportunity to explore topics outside the core curriculum in a small group setting while receiving valuable mentoring from faculty. Last fall, the Mens et Manus seminar gave that format a hands-on twist.