Learning in 02139

Learning in 02139


So welcome to today’s session. So I’m happy to host and
moderate the first session today, which will be
on learning in 02139, our zip code here in Cambridge. And so I’m Christine Ortiz. I’m a faculty in Engineering. And I’m also the Dean for
Graduate Education at MIT. And I’ll be moderating
with this really innovative and
distinguished panel. So first, I’ll go through and
give some brief introductions to each of our panelists. I was asked to say a few
words about my intentions for the future of education. So I’ll just say a few words
about our planned project. And then each of the panelists
will talk for about 15 minutes. And then we’ll go into a Q&A.
And I’ll ask a few questions. And we’ll take questions
from the audience. So starting to my left
is Mitchel Resnick. He’s the LEGO Papert Professor
of Learning Research. He’s also the
associate academic head of the program in Media
Arts and Sciences. So I’ve had a chance to work
with him in that capacity and also visit his lab
on a few occasions. So his lab is the Lifelong
Kindergarten Group. And Mitch explores how new
technologies can engage people in creative learning
experiences. His research group developed the
programmable brick technology that inspired the LEGO
Mindstorms robotics kit. He co-founded the Computer
Clubhouse project, a worldwide network of
after school centers where youth from low
income communities learn to express
themselves creatively with new technologies. Resnick’s group also developed
SCRATCH, which is now a world famous online community
where millions of children program and share interactive
stories, games, and animations. Mitch earned a BA in physics
from Princeton University, and MS and PhD degrees in
computer science at MIT. So our next panelist, to the
next left over, is Saeed Arida. So he has a very
interesting title, which I guess you gave to yourself. It’s Chief Excitement Officer
at NuVu Studio in Cambridge, which, if you haven’t
taken a look at it, looks pretty amazing. So Saeed, he’s the founder of
a full time innovation school studio based in Cambridge. NuVu is paving the way for
a new studio education model at the high school
level that nurtures students’ creative
and innovative skills through project-based
collaborative design. NuVu also works with schools
to introduce integrated studio programs through the development
of innovative curricula, teacher training, and
on-the-ground pedagogical and technical support. The studio management
system developed at NuVu is currently used by thousands
of middle, high school, and university students
across the globe. Said received his PhD
in design computation in the Department
of Architecture at MIT, where his
doctoral research examined the intricacies of
the creative process and the nature of creativity. Prior to studying
at MIT, he earned a Bachelor’s in architecture
from Damascus University in Syria. And then lastly, to
the most left of me, someone who probably doesn’t
need much of an introduction at MIT, is Tom Magnanti,
Institute professor and Professor of
Operations Research. So he previously served as
our Dean of Engineering, and head of the Management
Science area of the MIT Sloan School, co-director of the
Interdepartmental Operations Research Center, founding
co-director of the Leaders for Manufacturing and System
Design and Management programs. He’s the founding director
of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and
Technology, or SMART. And of course, he’s
the founding president of SUTD, Singapore University
of Technology and Design in Singapore, which, of
course, has been a very, very different model and has
done amazing things in terms of thinking about new
models for higher education. So Tom holds a Bachelor’s
in chemical engineering from Syracuse University,
as well as a Master’s in statistics, a
Master’s in mathematics, and a PhD in operations research
from Stanford University. So it’s a privilege
and an honor to be on the panel with our
distinguished guests today, who are really charting a
really innovative pathway in all levels of education. So I was asked to say a
few words about the project that I’ll be embarking on. So I’ll be stepping down
from my role as Dean for Graduate Education on
July 1st, and after many years at MIT. And the project
we’ll be embarking on is thinking about a redesign
of the research university. And many of the
features have been drawn from many of the features
that our panelists will speak about today, as well as lots
of the innovation and education that has happened at MIT. Some of these include a focus
on project-based learning, digital delivery of knowledge,
a transdisciplinary research structure. Our initial thoughts
are how can we create a university
without on-ground lectures, without traditional
classrooms, no majors, and even no distinction
between undergraduate and graduate education, just
a continuous learning pathway. In addition, some
of the key things that we’ve been working on
and we’re really interested in is personalized curriculum
design, so individualized learning pathways for students. We’re building a
platform on precision computationally-assisted
curriculum design for the knowledge
component of it. One of our themes that
we’ve been developing is the intersection between
science, technology, and humanity, and how to
integrate those much more closely, enabling the university
to be a societal platform that engages the world
more thoroughly in developing in science and
technologies for the world. How do we embed
collective intelligence into the university,
reducing cost of education, scalability, increasing
access, and fostering diversity and inclusion? And so those are some
of the big topics that we’re tackling
over the next planning phase, which will be over the
next probably five years or so. So with that, I
will hand it over to the first speaker
today, who’s Mitch Resnick. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] It’s a pleasure to be
here today because I think it’s really
important how MIT thinks about learning and education. Of course, it’s important for
the students here in Cambridge, 02139, how MIT thinks about
learning and education. But it’s also important
for people around the world because the ways that MIT thinks
about learning and education serve as a model and can
have a real influence for how people around the world think
about learning and education. And the tools and techniques
and technologies and approaches developed here at MIT
can spread to the world and really be used to bring new
approaches around the world. So I want to think a little
bit about how the ideas at MIT can spread out to
others around the world. And of course, there’s
no singular approach to learning and
education at MIT. But if you look
back historically, I would see two main
threads that you might follow of two core
approaches that contribute to the MIT experience. One core thread to the MIT
experience is the lecture. A lot of MIT
students, especially in their first years at
MIT, spend a lot of time in lecture halls like this. There’s a photo of a
calculus class at MIT. And this type of lecture-based
approach to education, you might see it as a broadcast
model of educational learning, that someone is broadcasting
information to learners. And a lot of the emphasis
on improving this approach goes to how can we better
communicate and broadcast this information so that
it helps people learn. And there’s a lot
of emphasis on that, and refined over the years. It’s not always an
individual lecture that’s broadcasting in this way. As computers have
entered education, computers are now used
to broadcast information to students. Oftentimes, many online
learning situations are based on this type
of model, of being able to reach a larger
number of students by broadcasting high quality
lectures to students. So this is one thread
of MIT education. But there’s another thread of
MIT educational learning, which I like to call the kindergarten
approach to learning and education. And I’ve always been
inspired by the way children learn in kindergarten. And it’s because if you look at
the traditional kindergarten, children spend a lot
of time playfully designing and creating things in
collaboration with one another. They might be
building towers out of blocks, and in the
process, learn about stability and what makes things
stand up or fall down. Or they might be making pictures
with finger paints and crayons, and in the process, learn
how colors mix together. So this approach, where
children are constantly learning about the
creative design process and learning important ideas
in the process of designing, creating, and
expressing themselves. And we see some of this
kindergarten approach in classes at MIT. One of the most famous is
the undergraduate class, Introduction to Design
that Woodie Flowers started in the Mechanical
Engineering department. So I pulled out an
old video of this. It’s a video that happens
to feature the current Chief Technology Officer of the
United States, Megan Smith. But this is from the 1980s, when
she was an undergraduate taking Introduction to Design at MIT. [LAUGHTER] Megan Smith. And her cart’s been
simplified during development. And now, it’s a tough machine. [STUDENTS SHOUTING] It’s an easy first
round for her, too. A winner! So at least for Megan, this
started her off on a path to become Chief
Technology Officer. And in my mind, it’s
led lots of students to lead very creative,
innovative careers. This was from the 1980s. I also pulled a
clip from the 1990s, where this class from
mechanical engineering inspired a class in
electrical engineering, where they were making
autonomous robots. And actually, they were testing
out with some students from our group at the media lab who
were developing technologies that were then used in this
activity for the autonomous robot design competition,
that was known as 6.270. [STUDENTS SHOUTING] So basically, the students
spent a month during IAP designing the robots and
then programming the robots to then compete autonomously
against one another. At the end of IAP
every year, it’s held in a large lecture hall,
where the robots compete. And it draws large audiences,
as the original one did. I think some of the things
that really strike me about this activity
is the way that it cuts across the
disciplinary boundaries. The students who
work on this learn ideas from many different
engineering and science disciplines in doing
it, while participating in a meaningful
activity that, as you can see from these
clips, really engages both audience and
participants alike. So you can see here, this is
one where one of the robots is winning, a packed auditorium. And with this video, I
thought this was speeded up. And it’s not speeded up. This is actually real time. So when I look at this approach
to education, which again, I might call the
kindergarten approach, I see that it’s characterized
by what I call the four P’s of creative learning–
projects, passion, peers, and play. And you can see that
in these activities. It’s very project based. The kids are learning
about the entire design process of starting
with an idea, carrying through on the project. So learning not just
about specific concepts, but how to carry out a project. They work on things
they care deeply about. And we’ve seen over
and over that people are willing to work
longer and harder and persist in the face of
obstacles and challenges when they work on things
they care about deeply. Peers, you can see
from these videos, it’s teamwork, people
working together. Learning is not just
about sitting there like Rodin’s Thinker,
but interacting with others in collaboration. And play, and by play, I
don’t just mean having fun. But in my mind, the playful
spirit and a playful approach to learning involves one where
you take risks, try new things, test the boundaries. So I think all innovation
and creativity grows out of that playful spirit of being
willing to try new things, experiment, and
test the boundaries. I think these ideas of projects,
passion, peers, and play is more important
today than ever before. We live in a time
that I think we all recognize things are changing
more rapidly than ever before. So a lot of what’s learned
today will be obsolete tomorrow. What’s most important
is for people to learn to think
and act creatively. And I think that’s what we
see happening in those videos that I just saw is
young people developing as creative thinkers. And that’s going to
be the key to success and, in my mind, happiness
in the years ahead, whether in the workplace,
in their communities, or in their personal lives,
that ability to think and act creatively that’s supported
by an education that’s based on projects,
passion, peers, and play. In my own research
group, we’re trying to see how can we take
this element, this approach to learning, which we’ve seen
in the traditional kindergarten, we’ve seen in some of
the activists at MIT, how can we reach
across everywhere in the world to support
learners of all ages. So we’ve tried to bring these
ideas down to younger kids. It’s like those robot
design competitions, the initial ones at MIT
were based on our prototypes for what led to LEGO Mindstorms
and then to other robot competitions around the world. I visited Singapore. This was the National Junior
Robotics Champion of Singapore that I met. And I saw the creative things he
was doing with the technology. Or we worked on
another robotics kit for younger kids,
called the WeDo Kit. These are some kids in
Japan, as young as six, seven years old, starting to
design in the physical world, design on the computer, to make
their creations come alive. Here’s an example
from some of the work we did with one of the
after school centers in Boston of kids using this
technology to work on projects. We gave them the
task– design something that’s meaningful to you
in your everyday life. And here’s what
they came up with. Yeah, see? It just beeps. Christina Costa is trying
to build a better mousetrap, make that gerbil trap. Every time they want to go
inside this gerbil house, they press this white sensor. It’s one of the many adventures
created that this free math and science camp run by the
Computer Museum and the Girl Scouts, where girls from
Boston are devising everything from an odometer for
rollerblades to a diary security system. And when someone touches this
to try to open the diary, it will take a picture
of that person. So like if your creepy
little brother tries to read your diary– Yeah. –he’s on camera. Yeah. [LAUGHTER] One thing I like
about these examples is you can see how the
girls in this video really are working
on things that are close to their heart,
things they’re passionate about. The first girl was
not just building a house for any hamster. She was building a
house for her hamster. And she wanted it to have
a nice automatic door. She also then later
collected data. She wanted to know
what the hamster was doing while she was at school. So she collected data. When was the door
opening and shutting? And what was the
activity of the hamster? Or the girl with
the rollerblades, she wanted to know how
fast she was going. And in school, when they
learned about converting units and doing those
calculations, she hadn’t been paying attention. But now she had a reason. She wanted to know
how to convert from the revolutions per second
that the sensor gave to miles per hour because she
wanted to know how fast she was going in miles per hour. So we see kids learning
important knowledge in the context of
meaningful projects. Of course, this is an example
where we’re providing new tools and approaches for kids to make
things in the physical world. We know today, kids and adults,
as well, spend a lot of time online and in virtual worlds. We want to bring that same
spirit to the online world. It’s not enough just to
be pointing, clicking, browsing, chatting online. We want kids to be designing,
creating, experimenting, exploring, expressing
themselves online, just as they do in these videos. Bring that kindergarten approach
to kids’ online experiences. With that in mind
is why we developed the SCRATCH online community
that Christine mentioned. Again, this is an
online site where kids can create their own
interactive stories, games, animations, and share
them with others. They do this by snapping
together graphical programming blocks. So they snap together
these graphical blocks. Some are like snap. Here are the LEGO bricks. But they make scripts
to control the behaviors of different characters
in their stories or games, in this case, a
game where you’re having a fish eat other fish. After you make it,
you can then share. And your project is shared
on an online community. These days, the SCRATCH
online community gets more than 20,000
new projects every day from kids around the world. It’s the most heavily
trafficked subdomain of the whole MIT website. It gets more traffic
than the MIT homepage. And it’s all from
kids around the world, usually ages 8 to 16, learning
to design, create, and express themselves online. Just to give you a
better sense, I’ll give an example of one
of these young people. This is a young person. It turns out she’s a
teenage girl in California. She goes by the username
Ipsy on SCRATCH. On one of her projects,
she lists some of the things she likes to do. Like many teenagers
in California, she likes Disneyland,
Pokemon, Adventure Time. One of the things she
says she likes best is she loves to draw. She spends lots of time every
day drawing and sketching. And one of her friends told
her about SCRATCH, and said, SCRATCH is a place where you can
make your drawings come alive. And Ipsy had never done
any computer programming. She knew nothing about it. But the idea of
making her drawings come alive interested her. So this is one of
her first projects. And I like this because you
can see, she has a drawing. And she just makes
little things movie. You see how the ears are
moving and the eyes move? So it’s as if she is dipping
her toe in the water. She’s trying out this
new world, starting with something she’s
comfortable in, and then putting
together this script, putting those blocks together,
to create the little animation. Over time, she starts to
make more and more complex animations, oftentimes
drawing on her own interests. So I don’t know if you know the
children’s books, The Warrior Cats. So this is a
project that she did that allows you to explore
the world of the Warrior Cats, her favorite book series. So in this case, you can imagine
yourself as one of the cats. And you explore the behavior
of the different clans of cats. So it’s this
elaborate online world that she created for
other people to explore. As other people started
using Ipsy’s projects, they really liked
what she was doing. And then many people
really loved her artwork. You can see, it’s nice artwork
for a teenager to be creating. A some of them started
writing in the comments below. They said, can we
use your artwork. Could you make some
more things for us? So then, Ipsy started
making some projects, you just had artwork
for other people to use. So here’s an example. And see, she even brands
it as Ipsy’s Studio. And she starts having
some of her artwork. And on there, she says,
you must credit me if you use any of these sprites. You can edit them
as much as you want. So again, she’s learned
to be a good citizen of an online community, how
to share and work with others. So it’s learning about
the open source culture by being a part
of this community. But it wasn’t just
sharing her artwork. She also shared her code. Like one thing that’s not
so easy to do in SCRATCH is to have scrolling
backgrounds as you see in many games
like Mario Brothers. But Ipsy figured out how to
do scrolling backgrounds. So she made this project that’s
a tutorial explaining how to make scrolling backgrounds. So she shows others– here’s
the blocks you put together. If you then look inside,
you can see the code. And she explains
to others how it is that you can make your
own scrolling backgrounds. So if you look at projects
like these– and again, I have never met Ipsy. I have never talked to her. But seeing what
she’s done online, you get the sense
that she really is learning through projects,
passion, peers, and play. She’s clearly working
on these projects. She’s made more
than 100 projects in the SCRATCH community. Worked on things she
is passionate about, her drawings, the Warrior Cats. She interacts with others by
making artwork for others, making tutorials
for others, working on collaborative
projects with others, and constant experimenting with
new things in a playful spirit. So I think this is
exactly the way that we want to support young people
growing up in today’s society. And it’s so important to
support them that way. So I think what we really
need to do as we look ahead, of course, we need to continue
to work on the education here at MIT to see
that we can continue that spirit of the kindergarten
approach here at MIT. But I think also we
want to make sure that this approach to
educational learning, the four P approach of
projects, passion, peers, and play influences
everybody of all ages, and explore what we can do from
MIT to make sure that everybody has these same opportunities. So I end with some apologies
to John Lennon, saying, all we’re saying is
to give P’s a chance. Thanks very much. [APPLAUSE AND LAUGHTER] I don’t know how I can match
that precision of Mitch. 30 seconds over time. That’s pretty amazing. [LAUGHTER] So this is my talk, more
seeing and learning. So I grew up in Syria. All my schooling was about rote
memorization, content delivery, and standardized tests. I think probably I
lost all my memory cells during that process. I cannot remember
anything anybody says, even my girlfriend
would say to me. So when I came to
this country in 2002, I started realizing that
schools in this country are actually not so different
from where I grew up. They are not even so
different from how school looked 100 years ago. Another thing that
really shocked me here is this whole notion
of senioritis. I cannot even know
how to pronounce it. You can read that
Wikipedia description. It has its own entry too. Basically, this is when high
school kids get into college and basically, for
the whole semester, they are as detached from
their learning environment as they could be. And because they really see the
only point of their high school experiences really to move
to the next stage, which is college. And then the minute
they get into college, basically, they think
that their job is done. On the other hand, if
you are in college, basically you are
producing your thesis, which is the most important
work that you have done throughout your studies. So I studied under George Stiny
the Design Computation Group at MIT. I got my PhD between
2004 and 2010. And during that time,
I started digging deeper into creative
learning and what that means. And I started realizing
that we are really missing a big chunk of
learning, which is the one that is focused on seeing. All what we do during a
lot of the K-12 education is really dumping all the
rules in these kids’ brain. The picture that Mitch showed
basically is exemplary of that where we just spoonfeeding
them everything that they need. We are taking the agency
out of these kids. And we are telling them,
this is exactly what you need to learn at every grade. And this is when you graduate. You graduate when you
learn all of these things. So when I started digging
deeper into shape grammars, I started realizing
that knowing the rules is only half the picture. The other half is
basically seeing. You need to be able
to look at the world, see newer perspectives. I can look at something,
another person can look at it, and we can see completely
different things. So we still need to be able to
see and then apply the rules. But these two things
basically have to be together. And at the same time, I
started teaching design studios with Meejin Yoon in the
architecture school. And I started realizing how
effective the studio model is in teaching creative thinking
and teaching, basically, the whole notion of seeing. And this is basically
how designers think. At any given design
juncture, when they have to make a decision,
in their head, basically, they are looking at these
different ways of seeing. And they are in their head
testing all the consequences of these different design
moves and basically deciding on the best one that works. When our students come from
a traditional environment, and we ask them to do that,
basically, what they do is that, OK, I decided
to add a wheel here. So I’m going to just do it. And I’m then going
to add a wall here. And I’m going to do it. But then you ask them,
what were the alternatives. Why did you make
those decisions? That process is really
not there at all. And because we have never
really trained our students to do that. And so this is what’s really
great about the Architecture Studio, that we really
teach the students how to cycle through these
multiple viewpoints and how to basically
pick the best one. And obviously, the process
is the opposite of linear. It’s very messy. And it can be very disorienting. So it’s really our role
to make this process as transparent to the
students as possible. And at the core of it
really is a critique process at the core of the
Architecture Studio. This is how we
teach the students how to basically cycle through
all these different viewpoints. And this is how
we teach them how to see, by basically, sometimes
even forcing them to basically move from one area of the table
to another area of the table so they can look at
what they have done, and they see something different
that they have not seen before. So that all of the
students, basically, after they get that
feedback is that they have to take that
feedback and they have to synthesize it and
produce something new. And then they have to show
it again to the instructor and get more feedback and
get multiple viewpoints and then, basically,
do it again. And the hope is that
after three, four years, you develop this mindset. And you start doing
it by yourself. So being at MIT for
eight years, that puts a lot of pressure on
you to create something with an impact. So what I wanted to
do is basically take all that research that I’ve
done and start a school from scratch. And basically, by
doing this, I knew that I was going
against the current, and I really need to find
some visionary people and parents who are
not afraid of basically trying different things. So we connected with a private
school in the area here called Beaver Country Day School. And it’s like, yes, we
are very progressive. So you should just take
our kids and do whatever you want to do with them. And that’s the best
answer I’ve ever had. So some of the
principles that we wanted to use to organize
the whole experiment. First, we wanted to be
completely off the grid. We wanted to basically do all
the educational experiments we wanted to do without
basically needing to do any tests or report to anybody. The second one, we wanted
to have the studio pedagogy as really the core or
the organizing principle of the whole curriculum. The third one is the
transparent pedagogy. I don’t know how many of
you are architects here. But my experience always
in being a student and in being a teacher is
that when you get students from a traditional
environment and put them in a studio environment,
it’s very disorienting. There is a lot of
crying that happens. And even at MIT, we
have always, like, if you don’t cry
your first year, there’s something
wrong with you. [LAUGHTER] So for us, when we started
working with teenagers, we started realizing
that we have to be very transparent
about this pedagogy. So I give them some
sort of representation that looks similar to this
almost every week, just to tell them that when
we are critiquing you, we are not critiquing
you as a person, we are critiquing your ideas. And your ideas are
artifacts of you. So they are really separate. So we really need to hold
them throughout this process so they understand what we
are trying to do with them. The other piece is
collaborative is that I was a little bit
traumatized by my PhD experience working on something
for six years by myself. So I thought, it’s like it
would have been amazing if I worked on it with someone else. And this is a note
for MIT so they can introduce collaborative PhDs. That would be awesome. So all of our projects are
basically done in groups. All the students are forced
to work with two others. And you can see
that when they start doing this for the first
time, it’s really hard. They are not used to it. And there is a lot
of social engineering that needs to happen. But imagine that we can do this
with kids when they are young. And after even three
months, you can really start seeing the impact
that something like this is having on them, how they
can basically negotiate with whole team members
how to do something, how to push an idea, and
how to work together. The most complicated
piece for us, basically, is the
last one, which is how to find instructors–
we call them coaches– who can teach the studio environment. On one hand, we had architects,
who basically knew how to see and knew how to drive
a creative process. But they don’t necessarily have
the rules that an engineer has. The engineers, basically,
on the other hand, they have all the rules. But they are not
trained in a way to see. And I’m going to fight with
Tom after with this one. He used to be the dean of the
Engineering school at MIT, so it’s his fault. So what that formula, basically,
that we decided on, basically, is to have two people at the
same time teaching the studio. So at any given
studio, we need to have the architect and the engineer
working together, basically, with the kids to
work on the problem. And this is how we
design our curriculum. We don’t have standard
courses at all. What we have is a
series of studios that last for two weeks. We give the students
a problem to solve. And they have to solve it
within the span of two weeks. And this is our space. It looks pretty much like
an architecture studio. We are based in Central Square. And you can see, the students
are engaged in the material that they are working on. We have also a lot of tools. A lot of people now who come
to our school and visit, which happens a lot, they think
of us as a maker space. And I always need to stop them
there and tell them, no, we are a school because
for us, it’s not really about the tools. When we started, we started
without tools at all because for us, it was
all about the pedagogy and how you can take that
and make it the underlying principal of the school. Then having the tools,
basically, allowed our students to produce something that is a
lot more elaborate than before. So this is when a lot
of schools come to us is, like, the first thing
that we tell them is really, you have to change the
pedagogy before you start getting all these tools. We also started realizing that
a lot of the technologies that manage the learning experience
out there, a lot of them are focused on the
traditional teaching. And there is nothing
that is focused on studio-based education. So we started basically
developing products that work better for us. And one of the biggest
things that we created is what we call a studio
management system. And the whole focus
of it is basically to document the students’
work and basically allow them to reflect
on the design decisions that they are making
on a daily basis. We also started
developing a lot of tools on top of that that would
help us to track the students’ progress. So in our case, for instance, we
don’t just assess the students. The whole point of it is that
we ask them to track themselves. And then we track them. And we only
interfere when we see there is a mismatch between
how we are seeing them and how they are
seeing themselves. We also started
developing a lot of tools that would help us
translate what we are doing into the regular system, so in
terms of skills and mindsets and all of that. So this is the story
of two students, one who was adopted
from Afghanistan who sits in a wheelchair. He used to go to CRLS, the
Cambridge public high school here. He always thought of
himself as an inventor. But he was always sitting kind
of miserable in a classroom doing subjects. And another student
who was also the same, she left the school
because she couldn’t really adapt to the whole
course system. And so both of them
and a group of others started working on a project
to improve the wheelchair experience of this one student. And one of the projects
that came out of that is a handcrank that you
can attach to that wheel so that would allow you to
move the wheelchair in a rowing motion. So the reason why they wanted
to do this is basically, they wanted to democratize
that technology by taking something that
cost $5,000 and 3D print it so it will cost only $40. And they turned it
into a kit that a lot of people all over the world
now are printing and using. So basically, they managed
to create something for $30 that a lot of people use. And this is when Obama
broke it in the White House. So this is the limits
of 3D printing. When you have a carpet that
is sticky, then it’s not good. But this is for a kid,
who within a year, basically went from being very
frustrated with the school. The school is not
matching what he thinks of himself and to a point
where he’s producing something that is not going to just
have an impact on himself, but is having an
impact on the world. This project is a little
bit more whimsical. And it’s to address
a problem that I had, which is being
Syrian, I could not find any falafel
in Central Square. Probably, a lot of you
have this problem, too. We have a place nearby that even
calls it a chickpea fritter. They don’t call it falafel. So we wanted to re-engineer
the whole falafel experience. And part of it, also,
we wanted the students to engage with the community. So you go and eat
lunch all the time. So what are the
foods that you want? Can you take something that
is very well-established and change the experience of it? So we came up with this
idea to do doughnut falafel. So it’s bigger. And if you are a
structural engineer, you would love this because
the whole falafel becomes a structural element so that
the sandwich is very stable. And then you put all of the
ingredients on top of that. And then, the time came
to design the cart. And the students wanted to
do something that reflects that kind of doughnut shape. So they came up with a
doughnut-looking cart. And this is, for me, one
of the most iconic images over the last five years, where
you see this doughnut walking on the street. And everybody is staring at it. So we do these now
falafel days every month. And we take them out. And we engage with our students
and with the community. And the hope is that we can
make a lot more of these carts, and they are spread
all over the city. Some of the more
exciting work that we are doing now– or I would
say, the second phase of the work that we are
doing after five years, basically, is link
back to the system. I think for these five years,
we’ve been off the grid. And intentionally
so, because we really wanted to develop and optimize
the model that we have. And I think what
we are doing now is more linking
back to the system so we can help a lot
of other teachers and schools do what we do. So we work with hundreds
of teachers every year. And this is, for
us– what we started realizing is that to have
the impact that we needed to have on education
in general, we needed to train the teachers. And we know that we cannot just
turn teachers into designers in a span of a week. But we are really seeing
a lot of transformation that’s happening
with those teachers, even only after a
week, where they can understand the potential
of what we are trying to do. And a lot of these
teachers are coming back. And we are working with
them on a continuous basis. What we are doing also
is work with schools. And that is more on an
institutional level. So we are basically having
these surgical interventions with the schools
where we can shift their pedagogy a little
bit from traditional into more studio-based. And a lot of this
is really resting on the underlying platforms
that we’ve developed. So we don’t completely do
online studio education. But we do some sort
of a hybrid model. So we use the online base to
basically critique their work online, to provide them with
all the support that they need. So we are seeing how effective
a hybrid model can look like. This is an example of what
we are doing with one school. Basically, we have a
three-year plan with them to transition them from
a completely traditional curriculum into something
where half of it will be completely
studio based, and we keep the other half traditional. And I think just
from my experience with the school is that we owe
it to the students, basically, and the younger
generation to provide them with an experience that
is a lot more impactful. We don’t want the
students to get to the end of the high school
and they are completely not motivated to do anything. We want to have
something the opposite, where now our students
who are about to graduate, they are basically producing
the best work that they could. And high schoolers
in general, and even, I would say, middle
school, they have so much to contribute to the world. And we just assume
that they just need to learn something by
dumping something on them. And what we are finding
is that by creating the right environment
for them, it’s incredible what they are able to do. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Good morning. Sorry, I have a terrible cold. So I hope you can hear me. Good morning, everyone. A little bit of energy? You’ve been sitting there. Good morning, morning, morning. So I’m going to talk this
morning about a new model, or a different kind of model,
for undergraduate residential education, which hopefully, has
a fair amount of MIT DNA, MIT passion to it, but is a
bit different in a variety of other ways. So I start with the
following scenario. Olivia is a young woman. She wants to go to college. She’s quite interested
in technology and impacting the world. She goes to university. Her first classes
are going to be grounded in basic math
and sciences, which is a good thing. So she’s going to learn physics
and chemistry and biology and mathematics. And she’s going to do
that by sitting in rooms about half the size of this. There’s going to be a 400 to 800
people in these lecture halls. And the scenario plays out as
it does at many universities as follows. She has a lecture on Monday. There’s a recitation
session on Friday with a smaller group, where they
get a little bit more material. There’s a homework due
the week after that. And because it’s a big
class, it takes a long time to grade the homework sets. And the week after
that, the homework is given back to Olivia. So Olivia now has been exposed
to some interesting, hopefully, material by a great lecturer. And it’s literally
two to three weeks before she gets any feedback
as to whether she understands the material or not. Moreover, this is compounded by
the fact that at the same time she’s taking this
physics class, she’s taking a class in
chemistry and mathematics. So she got rattling around
in her brain concepts from all these classes
and this feedback. It’s even worse than that. In this lecture that she’s got,
because we have to organize around something in
our universities, it’s an hour-and-a-half lecture. I might not have enough material
to fill that full lecture with one concept, so I might
do two or three concepts in that lecture. And this is all rattling
around in her brain. So we know from cognitive
sciences, learning sciences, neuroscience, this is a
terrible, terrible way to learn. And we do it all the time. We do it all the time. We know that it’s
much better to have quick and multiple
feedback loops, to have immediate
response in terms of activities and the like. So I’m going to talk a
little bit about a model for doing that. And this is now our second
scenario for Olivia. So Olivia comes to university. And she’s put into a classroom
as shown in this picture. I’ll call it a cohort-based
learning community. Mitch might call it
kindergarten, right, in terms of this. It’s easily reconfigurable. The tables are on wheels. There’s a ability to
break the room in half. And there’s an ancillary room. So 50 students are in this room. We put 50 students in the room. It’s going to be a cohort-based
learning community. We try to provide for gender
diversity, ethnic diversity, learning style diversities,
international diversities in this classroom. And so now she goes
to this classroom. And she gets the same concept
that she had in scenario one. Might be momentum in physics. But rather than waiting
three weeks for it, there’s a five minute lecture
or lecturette on this. And then immediately,
she’s going to be solving a problem
on this, or she’s going to be building
something with it, reinforcing the
fact that one, do I understand the material or not. And secondly, is
it useful or not in terms of putting into place? Now, you can do this in
a wide variety of ways. You can do this by having a
little lecturettes in class. You can flip the classroom. You could use MOOCs. I use the word MOOC. It’s providing for
this in a digital way. I’ll call this moderated
modular education. It was modular in terms of we’re
going to take our education and break it up into
smaller modules, not hour-and-a-half modules. But it’s a moderated. It’s not broadcast to the world. It’s moderated. In this case,
there’s three faculty in the classroom
in this picture. These faculty are there
as mentors, coaches, rather than as traditional
teachers in the usual way. Now, which of these two
alternatives do you think is more engaging? Which of these two
alternatives do you think is going to provide
for a better education? Which of these two
alternatives do you think is going to be more
fun for the faculty in terms of teaching? In the first
alternative, perhaps halfway through the
semester, the teacher gets some feedback on whether
the students are learning or not. In the second
alternative, they’re getting constant
feedback for this. So this is the core of the model
that I want to present to you. I’ll present some other
things to you, as well. Now, if we wanted to make
sure that we create creativity in our students and all or
innovation in our students, the National Academy of
Engineering issued a report. I’m not going to go
through this in detail. And this chart is
my articulation of what they said
in this report. I just want to point to
a couple things in here. One is this notion of
identifying problems as well solving problems,
of being creative. This slide,
underestimates the notion of knowledge of their field, so
understanding the fundamentals of their field, basic
math and sciences for us in the right ways. We provide an environment,
providing freedom to think, providing space to think
and space to do things in a variety of ways. We’re going to take this
as part of motivation, again, for what I’m
going to tell you in the following slides. So this is a new university
we’ve been developing in collaboration with MIT. Well over 100 MIT faculty
been involved in the creation of this university. You see its mission
statement here. It’s not unlike MIT’s
mission statement. It’s drawn from it,
though perhaps it’s explicit in that it’s educating
technically grounded leaders and innovators, but through a
multi-disciplinary curriculum. Now, I wanted just, as
a little bit of fun, a little bit of
Back to the Future, I’m going to compare MIT in
1916 and this university. Now, I can do this in a way that
others can’t because I was here in 1916. [LAUGHTER] Not quite, but about
halfway through the century, I was here. Right? But some interesting
comparisons. So the campus size was about
the same as this new university. The building size was
about 15% different, in terms of the new university. The organization was
that MIT had no schools. There was no School
of Engineering, no School of Science in 1916. It had courses of study. This university has
no schools, no deans. Sorry, Christine, no deans. All right? I was one for a long time. For the first time
in its history, MIT graduated over
300 students in 1916. At SUTD, they just
graduated 300. And the orientation is Mens
et Manus, much like MIT’s. So this is ways in
which they’re similar. But they’re different
in some other ways. So this is the ying
and the yang, right? So one, the curriculum, MIT
at that time, I would argue, was inside-out. To learn mechanical engineering
or civil engineering, you went out to the world. I’ll show you an
outside-in curriculum. Quite a bit different. Classrooms, I think, at MIT
were basically lecture based. . This is going to be this
cohort-based learning community classrooms in terms
of what we’re doing. The faculty offices,
Mark told us yesterday about how they were
permeable membranes. But still, the faculty were
assigned by department, course one, course two. We assign by theme. All right? So there’s a transportation
center faculty, sustainable center
faculty, to provide this multi-disciplinary
curriculum. Of course, our library is quite
different than MIT’s library. Our library is one
that’s mostly digital. It has things like
self-checkout using technology in interesting ways. And then finally,
and this is, I think, as much a social thing as
anything else, MIT at that time was about 1% female. We’re about 43% female. I’m very proud of that. So this is a busy diagram,
which is the curriculum. I’m just going to do
this quickly for you. So we organize– and again,
the usual engineering disciplines organize
around inside out. What does the world
fundamentally need? The world fundamentally
needs products, services, and systems. It needs products. It needs services and systems. So rather than organizing
around traditional disciplines, why don’t we organize
around products, services, and systems? I would argue that the
organization of our engineering schools in the world in many
ways is an historical artifact. MIT started in 1861 with
a mechanical engineering department, civil and sanitary
engineering department, geological engineering
department, and architecture. Why? Because we knew at
the point was statics. Later in the century, about
the time MIT was founded, Coulomb, Kirchhoff,
Henry, and others discovered the
science of electrons. Later in this century, Tesla,
Edison, and Westinghouse brought them to the marketplace. So we created something
called electrical engineering. So you can look at the
patterns of the creation of the engineering departments. But what we teach fundamentally
in civil engineering, aeronautical engineering,
mechanical engineering is fundamentally the
same at its core. We teach structures. We teach materials. We teach dynamics, the
controls, et cetera, et cetera. But we divide them because
of this historical artifact. Instead, let’s divide
by products, services, and systems. So we have these four pillars–
architecture and sustainable design, engineering product
development, everything from nanotechnology
up to jet airplanes. Engineering systems and design,
any large, complex technical system of your choice. This could be energy,
environment, transportation, manufacturing,
health care, finance, as long as it’s got a
strong technical component. And then finally, information
systems technology and design– computer software, computer
engineering, big data, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Another way to think
of this architecture is we’ll divide our education
up into the physical world, the digital world, and systems
that bring them together. Even though the content
of the curriculum might be very different,
the overall outlook is quite different in the sense
that the students are always thinking, what are the
products I’m going to do. What are the systems
I’m going to create? What are the information
systems and technologies I’m going to create. It’s done with this
act of learning. And the act of learning
is done in a variety of ways, which I’ll say. Now, we don’t have
degrees in health care. We don’t have degrees in urban
design, et cetera, et cetera. But we have tracks in these. So by specializing a bit,
you can get specializations in various fields that might
be of interest to students, but keep the degrees
themselves generic, keep them
multidisciplinary, keep them very broad in this sense,
I think we’re best off doing. Now, we embrace the
so-called Big D design throughout the curriculum. And this Big D design here
means all technically grounded design. So its architectural
design, process design, software design, systems
design, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And we also mean
by Big D design, not just the conception
of a product, but the conception, development,
prototyping, manufacturing, marketing, bringing it
into the marketplace. And we embed design throughout
the entire curriculum. So each course has
elements of design in it. If you go to most
universities, you’ll take 30 to 40 courses
over four years. Other than a senior
project, no one ever tells you how these
courses connect to each other. We suspend our
courses in week 10. And we give a design
experience that requires the knowledge of all
the courses they’re taking. In the upper level years,
we have also courses the cut across the course,
design exercises that cut across courses. We also have design exercises
that cut across years. So as you learn more,
you refine your design. And you get some
sense of how you can build up more expertise. And then finally,
in most curriculum these days, we crowd too
much into the curriculum. So what we say is
that we’re going to restrict our
students to taking only four courses a semester. And we’re going to give them
what traditionally would be the fifth course is theirs. They have ownership for it. They have responsibility for it. We call the fifth row. There’s no classes on Wednesday. There’s no classes on Friday. They get to pursue their
passions, their interests, much like MIT clubs
in a variety of ways, but in a certain
sense, on steroids in terms of what they’re doing. And through these design
experiences, constant design experiences, and through
this cohort-based learning, they’re working in teams. They’re having to
communicate their designs. So they’re developing
a set of skills that go far beyond the typical
technical skills they’re going to find in university. So the pedagogy
is indicated here. It’s cohort-based learning
communities, modularization, project-based and hands-on
throughout the curriculum. There’s learning objectives
and measurable outcomes for every single course
at the university. We use lecturettes. We use videos, open courseware. We develop our own Khan
Academy type material. We’ve adopted MIT’s
undergraduate research opportunities program and
undergraduate practice opportunities program,
but also developed an undergraduate teaching
opportunities program for the students. Now, I’m just going to
show you a few pictures. So this is a signature
design course. So what I didn’t mention
is all the students in their first year take
a required course in world civilizations and texts
and required course in social sciences. So like MIT, about a
quarter of the curriculum is arts, humanities,
and social sciences. All the students take
a course in design, which brings together
architectural design and engineering design. And this is just some examples
of doing this in terms of developing these designs. There’s active learning
spaces throughout the campus in a wide variety of ways, a
physics lab, think lab, [? O ?] lab, these type of things. I think we have some
of the best fabrication facilities in the world. So this is a big assembly space
area with a crane over it. We have, I think,
more 3D printers per capita than any
place in the world. Each of these cohort classrooms
has a 3D printer in it. We have a metal 3D
printer, in terms of what we’re using as well. So in some ways, we’re
trying to combine as best we can inductive
and deductive learning, not going to the extremes
on either side in terms of doing this. These are just some
pictures of the campus. Again, like MIT, it’s
intended to be a walking campus, an integrated
campus, so that people will bump into each other,
so they’ll see each other, so it will foster
multi curriculum. We have at our campus
four Chinese buildings, donated by none other
than Jackie Chan. Yes, the Jackie Chan. That one’s a
200-year-old pavilion. But we have a Ming and Qing
Dynasty buildings on campus, as well. It’s the oldest building in
Singapore, 500 years old, sitting on this campus. Again, try to blend the
East and West in some ways. This is the central
plaza for the university. This transforms itself it
seems almost every day, but certainly every
week, in terms of exhibitions and the like. These open staircases that
provide fluidity and movement throughout the campus. Just more pictures of
this, a variety of ways. This is bridges
connecting the areas. You can think of this as
a part of the connections like you have through
the hallways at MIT. As was described
yesterday, there’s two spines to this campus. One is called the
learning spine. It’s the infinite corridor,
where the students [? street ?] [INAUDIBLE] center on steroids. And one is the living
spine, going back to the living [INAUDIBLE]. Just another picture. This is our library. There are a few books in
the back, but not too many. Right? And this is the self-checkout. So if you want to
take something out of the library, a book
or a device or something, check it out yourself
in terms of doing it. And the library is
more a gathering space than anything else. So just as a summary,
we have embraced this notion of Big D, the
strong grounding in technology and design. The fundamentals are
really important. Unusual degree structure,
very multidisciplinary, a very different approach
to teaching in this sense, this notion of
curricular integration. I haven’t emphasized the
entrepreneurship and leadership in a wide variety of ways. Blending the East and West So hopefully, we see
this is an expression of MIT in a variety of ways. And it brings together the
MIT of 1916 in terms of doing and active learning and
these type of things. But it embeds that with the
great developments in MIT after World War II in bringing
science and technology and HASS to the table, alongside
these other things, and do it in a way
that’s refreshing. And I’ll just conclude with
saying that Olivia did make it. So she did come to SUTD. She was our valedictorian. right? So she experienced
this curriculum. She is a serial entrepreneur. This ring that was developed
is a ring she developed. It’s a 3D printed ring. With this ring,
you can go actually buy it in Boston
right now for $25. You can access
the subway system. So instead of having your
Charlie Card, you can do this. She’s disgustingly talented. She gave a speech
at her graduation. I gave a speech. The Minister of
Education gave a speech. She gave the best speech by far. She’s the poster woman, I
think, for this university, in terms of the type of
graduates we’d like to have. So I hope that
gives you some sense of this somewhat different model
of a residential education. But I think we’re going to
hear a lot later this morning about MOOCs and
digital education. But I think residential
education is here to stay. It’s important that
its here to stay. We’ve got to figure out how to
do it better than we do it now. Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. So I’ll start with
a few questions. Those were wonderful,
inspirational. So much things to think about. So I guess my first question
to the panel would be, how do you imagine
the integration of virtual and the
physical spaces to best facilitate learning in
your different environments? Well, I do think there are
lots of different ways. I don’t think there’s
any one answer. When we started these
after school centers called Computer Clubhouses, and
there a place for young people to come together in low income
communities after school. And there’s a real value
of coming together, feeling of working together in person. On the other hand, once we
had network of 100 clubhouses, the young people were part of
not just the local community they were working with, but
a community of young people around the world. And they were really
inspired and influenced by how young people
elsewhere in the world thought about things, worked
on things differently. So I think trying to always
look for integration. I think one of
our key issues now is how to make sure that we
can make the best use of each of those two environments. Again, I come back to my
four P’s of projects, peers, passion, and play. Some of those things can
be supported virtually. Some can be supported
more locally. And I think, how we can try
to make the best of both. I think for us we
have been obsessed with this whole notion of how
you can do studio-based project work in a hybrid mode. So especially now with
the work that we’re doing with a lot
of schools, it’s like, how we can use the virtual
as a way to basically connect with partnering schools
in a more meaningful way so that students can
basically upload their work. We can look at them from afar. We can leave a lot of comments. We can also get at least
a pretty good sense about the overall
culture of that place by looking at how the students
are documenting their work, how they are presenting it. So it’s becoming,
not just for us in terms of the residential base
and having that online platform here, but also it’s becoming
more of an important piece as we work with a lot
of partnering schools. Oh, that’s interesting. I would sort of take
two components of that. One is digital content. Like books, if we would
provide content in digital. And that’s clearly useful,
I think, for all of us. And the kids are pretty adept
at finding the digital content. What’s not as clear is
digital experiences. So could we or should we
provide digital experiences? And what are those
digital experiences? And do they enhance in
a wide variety of ways? The experience
that you might get in one of these
cohort classrooms or by going to a museum or other
things of that nature, which is a bit different than saying,
instead of having my textbook or instead of having a video,
I have it in a video form or I have a digital
form on the web. In some ways, I feel that people
growing up in today’s society are going to have
experience online. So I think what we need to do
is make sure there is support for the right types of
experiences, the type that I think came across
in all of our talks. So making sure that
the experiences online aren’t just about
browsing, looking. Because there’s great use of
accessing information online, the digital content. But we want to be
sure it’s not just that because we
want to make sure that there’s a wide range
of different ways of having that experience. I do think for the
online courses, which MIT is make a big investment in,
making sure that it’s not just about delivering
content, but making sure that it does support a
wide range of experience. And I think there is
this social experiences. But then you can think of
things like virtual reality and these type of
things as well, which I think are a bit different. Yeah. Yeah. So maybe I’ll ask a
provocative question that somebody asked me this week
in discussions of our project. They said, why do you
need a curriculum. Are we moving to a future
where there’s no curriculum. And so maybe you could
think about answering the role of curriculum. Do we need a curriculum? Are we moving to a place where
there is no formal curriculum? See, I guess for
me, I do think there is important ideas that we think
are important for everybody to engage with. So for me, what’s most important
is to have a sense of what are the important
things, important ideas that we want people
to engage with. But I don’t think we want to
have a step-by-step approach that is going to try
to guide everybody through this same process of
engaging with those ideas. I think we have to
provide multiple pathways. But there are going to be
common ideas that are important. But we really want to support
a multiplicity of pathways. I think that’s been
the real failure of a lot of
traditional curricula is that they have one
uniform pathway as opposed to a multiplicity of pathways. What is the alternative
of having a curriculum? What would you suggest? Well, people had suggested
to me just having a learning environment, that students come
in and chart their own pathways through, for example. There’s one example. Yeah. I would argue
that’s one extreme. It’s inductive learning. We’re going to
learn inductively. I think your
SCRATCH is inductive learning in many ways, right? It’s one alternative. And the traditional lecture
is at the other end, very deductive learning. And I think we need both. Part of the role
of universities is to understand structure
and codify knowledge and then disseminate that
in a variety of ways. And curriculum is
one way we do that. Now, there may be
other ways of doing it in terms of providing the
curriculum in different ways. But I think having a curriculum
is essential in some ways. I think there is
this misconception with a lot of schools that come
to us that they think if you want to do a
project-based work, it has to be completely
student driven. And the role of the
teacher is basically just being on the side helping
them with technical stuff. And we have to for them reframe
the whole discussion with them that the instructor is
still an essential piece because if you leave
the students to do stuff on their own, they can only
basically do stuff only within their own frame of mind. And they’re going to
basically expand beyond that. So we spend a lot
of time basically creating that context for
the students to operate on. So however you
want to create it, it’s really up to the teachers. But they really have to
create that context that will expand the student’s
way of thinking about things. I think what’s
important, too often there is this
dichotomy of either there is a top-down
structure, or do whatever you want for the learner. And clearly, neither of those
extremes is the right thing. And too often, we see structure
as in opposition to agency. And we shouldn’t see it the way. We should see how we can
put in the right structures to support people and
support people being able to make their own
choices and to find things. Like I do think there’s
a place for lectures. But I’d rather have people
go and seek out the lectures when they need it for the
things they’re working on. So there is a role
for the lectures. But having everybody sit at
the same time for the lecture, to me, doesn’t make sense. It’s more, you should have
access to it when you need it and when you want it. So you bring up another
interesting question that someone mentioned
to me this week about providing content just
in time versus just in case. Just in time is
when you access it when you need it
versus just in case is providing a holistic
structured curriculum. So love to hear your
thoughts on that. You can start. Do you want to start? Tom? They’re looking at me. Well, I’m old and old-fashioned. I think we need some structure. I think we need some structure. And part of hat
education does is it paces learning for the
students in a variety of ways. And I think there’s
some use to doing that. Now, we may be able to
provide variety in that. But I think having some
pace is quite useful. so I think some
structure is actually quite useful in terms
of the way we do things. I think, for us,
that we are starting to develop this even
more now, having these what we call buckets of
knowledge that are there when you need them. So as we are doing
different projects and the kids needed some
knowledge around gears and all of that. So we can give them the basics. But we send them
basically to that bucket. And just go investigate and
watch a few movies together, like with your team, and
then come back, basically, and integrate that. And I think having more of an
expansive collection of that would be amazing. One component of the this is,
we can think about doing things at small scale. But if you’re thinking of doing
things at a large scale, what do we need structure for? And we’ve evolved to a system of
structure in which we structure most of higher education
around the world in four-your curriculum, eight
semesters in the four years, 13 weeks per semester, of the
order of 40 hours of lecture material or
classroom per course, and 120 hours outside of it. That evolved over time
in part because we needed some standardization. If you’ve got a large university
that’s got 50,000 students, you need some structure
to deal with those 50,000. I think. Now, you may be
able to figure out how to do this
without any structure. It not so much as what
type of structure. So I really do think it’s
the type of structure that is there. But this relates
to Saeed’s comments that somehow we’ve gotten
this notion that a course, we do things as courses. Courses are 40 hours of
in-class experiences. If we just really thought of
concepts and modularization, you could think of organizing
the whole curriculum quite a different way. Now, how to do that
at scale, I think, is a real challenge for us. I mean, one of the challenges
when we talk about just in time, it sounds
like it makes it seem as though everything
can just be a little module you get just when you need it. And I think one
of the challenges is there’s certain
types of expertise that you need to build up
over long periods of time. You don’t want to
end up and you’re being asked to play the
piano at Carnegie Hall. And the night before
you say, now, I need a lesson in how
to play the piano, is not to be very successful. And so we need things. But I think the answer
isn’t to try to put everyone through the same pipeline,
but to put people in a culture where they’re going to,
in the case of the piano, want to learn to play the piano. If kids grow up
in a family where everyone appreciates
music, they’re going to want to play the piano. And they’ll want to put in the
time to build up the expertise. I think we need to do
the same thing here. Since we value certain
types of knowledge, we need to create
a culture where people see the
value of it and they want to be engaging with
because it’s meaningful to them. That’s a great comment. So as you’re talking, I’m
thinking of other things. So there’s been
this discussion, I guess, in recent years about
this drill 10,000 hours, drill to really perfect
the level of expertise that you need, that
you need 10,000 hours to be the world
expert in anything. And it’s quite the antithesis
of many of the things we’ve been talking about. So love to hear your comments
on that about this 10,000 hours. I think that’s about
the time for a PhD. But go ahead. Well, I spent 10,000
hours playing baseball. And I never made
it to the Red Sox. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I remember when I first
heard those things. At first, I saw
that as depressing. I thought it might
be the antithesis. But then I was able
to shift it around. For me, what it came to
was– because I believe there’s some truth to that. But it means that
you better choose to work on things that
you’re passionate about because if you’re
not passionate, you’re not to be willing
to put in the 10,000 hours. This is why I say to
my graduate students, it’s hard work doing
a dissertation. So you better choose something
that you really care about, or you’re going to be miserable. But if you find something that
you’re truly passionate about, then you’re going to want to
put in those 10,000 hours. So for me, if you’re told
to put in 10,000 hours, then it’s a chore. If you find something you’re
passionate enough about, it would be delightful to
put in the 10,000 hours. And then this is where we go
back to the structure base. How are you going to
spend your 10,000 hours? Are you just on your
own doing whatever training that you are doing? Or you have the right experts,
you have the right grouping, and all of that? And this is where
it seems like just doing 10,000 hours for the
sake of doing it is not going to get you anywhere. You need some sort of
something that will organize that a little bit. So I’ll give you an example. I was sitting with
a group of faculty and a couple students
who are always on these committees with us. And the students were
suggesting, well, we should outsource many of
these menial experimental tasks that we’re doing in the labs. And the faculty
were like, no, no, actually, by doing
it over and over and over again, you’re
actually learning. You’re creating a specific
type of scientist in the lab. And there’s value to that. So there was this whole
debate between the faculty and students. And so it’s very, very
distinguished faculty at MIT who are saying that,
who felt that this was a core part of the training,
that if you weren’t doing this, you’d be graduating as a
different kind of scientist. So just one example. I think Mitch’s analogy, though,
to a performing arts or sports. I mean, people shoot
a lot of free throws, right, to become good
at shooting free throws. They do it because
they enjoy it. I mean, but it’s quite mundane. It’s quite routine
on some level. And they do it when you learn
an instrument in some ways. Right? You spend hours and
hours at the piano. Right, right. Yeah. That’s great, interesting. OK, let’s see if I have any
more questions before we go to the audience. So all of you have thought about
and many of you had success– in particular,
Mitch– about scaling and having impact
transformatively across the nation,
across the globe. And from your experience,
Mitch and others, what do you think we can do
either as a university, as MIT, or as citizens in this country
to have transformational change on many of the difficult
things that you’ve said about education? I think the single
most thing that can be done here
that will change, I think, the face of education
is college admissions. I think every time we go to
high schools and we tell them, you need to change, or
go to middle schools, and you need to
change it’s like, oh, but we cannot send our
kids to high school. And then the same
thing with elementary. Oh, we cannot send
them to middle school. And then obviously, the biggest
button in this big chain is college admission. And there are a lot
of experiments that actually have been until K-8. And then suddenly,
everything freezes. And then suddenly, you
go into an AP track and you do all of that
because this is what institutions like MIT require. So imagine if we changed that. Within, I think, a
span of five years, our educational landscape
would look radically different if that happened. So another thing that
people have mentioned to me in recent years– do
you think that may come about through
partnerships between K through 12, between secondary
and post-secondary education and creating more
transferable pipelines? Yeah. Yeah. Well, we tried some
things a while back. So we created a portal called
Open Courseware Highlights for high school at one point. Right? And the notion was– it
wasn’t overly ambitious. But it was to take the
Open Courseware material and to map it onto some of the
curriculum in the high schools and provide easy access to it. So I think there’s
things like that that certainly
universities can do. And MOOCs clearly
provide an opportunity for doing those things. To me, the most
important thing is helping to shift people’s
mindsets about learning and education because you can
have the greatest partnership, but if it’s facilitating
the traditional approaches to education, it’ll just
become more deeply entrenched. So I think what’s most important
is to help people appreciate and understand the
importance of shifting to new ways of thinking
about learning and education for today’s, and more
so, tomorrow’s society. And that’s not an
easy thing to do. We were talking the other day. I said, I’m short
term pessimistic, long term optimistic,
because it’s really hard to change systems. So to really scale the type
of things we’re talking about requires systemic change. And that’s hard. We know it’s hard. We can’t expect it
to happen overnight. But I’m optimistic because I
think the forces in society at large really requires new
ways for people to thrive in tomorrow’s society. People will need to be able to
grow up as creative thinkers. So there will be pressures
to support people, to revise our institutions
and our systems so that we will provide
opportunities for learners to grow up as creative,
innovative thinkers. I mean, there might be a
role for our government to facilitate that
as well, right? Yeah. OK, so maybe we can start taking
questions from the audience. So happy to have
questions if you just step up to the microphone. There’s one on the
left side, too. Yeah, there’s one over here,
too, and one over there. Thank you. A question for Saeed. You mentioned the
university admissions process and the
effect it can happen on change in K-12 education. What role do you think
corporate or other organization hiring practices can have
on university admissions? I was having this discussion
with a few industry partners. And they were telling
me it would be actually easier to get these students
that we are graduating after senior year into the
industry so they can work. That would be easier than
trying to change the admission policies. The kids we are graduating, they
are ready for a lot of stuff. And I think the
industry, they can try to convince the
universities that they also need to change a lot of
these kind of practices because they need to
get kids after college who are ready for work. I mean, we know this
problem that a lot of kids who even finish
college have a lot of issues finding work and all of that. So I’m sure that
the industry can play a massive role in making
that process a lot better. So admissions is one thing,
but retention is another. So about 50% of all students
in the United States who enter engineering programs
complete those programs. And we as educators should
be very concerned about that. And we need to make changes
in our educational system that makes engineering more
fun, more engaging, so that if we can bring these
students into the university, they’ll find a rich environment
in which they can succeed and we can retain them. Work on meaningful projects. One of the things I really
liked in Saeed’s presentation was you really got this
sense of people work on projects they
felt meaningful. So I think trying to
make sure that people have the opportunity to work
on things they find meaningful. We’ll go to this side I’m a basic science researcher
in academia in biology. And it seems like all the
innovation in education is happening in the design
and engineering field. Is there nothing
happening for our field? Certainly, biology and
chemistry have become huge at MIT and across the world in
innovation and knowledge base. I mean, certainly, it’s a
different goal, having worked in pharma and in academia. So product-focused
versus puzzle solving. And so isn’t there a place
for that in a high school curriculum? And what kind of
things can you suggest that could captivate
that age group? Well, I think that the
things I talked about were really that cohort-based
instruction for the freshman year was really all
about math and science. So it was teaching math and
science in this engaging way, not in the big lecture way. But also, we’re working
with Chris Kaiser, the former provost at MIT. Our introductory
natural science course is a combined chemistry
and biology course. So as biology has become
more molecular biology, it becomes closer to chemistry. And so at least in substance,
we bring them together in a rather unusual way. But I think all these
pedagogical innovations apply throughout the curriculum,
not just to engineering. And I’d add, I really
am deeply committed to a design-based,
project-oriented approach. But that can be
applied to biology. There’s a growing amount
of work now, the same way that 20 years ago,
you went in and you saw community centers
with computers where people could do things. Now, there’s makers spaces. There are increasingly
places where people are doing biotech
things in a community basis, so bringing design-oriented
approaches to learning biological things
that is spreading and becoming more
accessible to more people. So that’s at least one approach
that I would see is applying. So but it doesn’t
sound like it’s possible in the NuVu model. Yeah, we are struggling
with that piece. So if you have an idea around
that, that would be great. I mean, that hands-on, the
more design and technology, they are more available. And that is what we
gravitate towards. And we’ve been looking a
lot at the other things. Biology and chemistry
is a big piece of that. And so we hope that we can
bring the same kind of mindset that Mitch is talking about
in terms of design into that. There’s no reason
why it cannot happen. It’s just it’s not as readily
available as the other stuff. Thanks. Thank you. Go ahead. Hi, good morning. My name Martin Gomez
from the Philippines. I was just wondering. A lot of the opportunities and
innovations that you actually talked about, especially for
basic education, a lot of them actually require
major investments in terms of hardware, as well
as in terms of infrastructure. So I was just wondering, for
instance, in the developing world, perhaps
access to software like SCRATCH would be easy. But creating robotics
projects, for instance, would be quite a challenge. So I was just wondering if
you have any ideas on how this can be addressed. A couple things first. You can do a lot of
the type of things we’re talking about, the
design-based, project-based approach, with
every day materials. I’ve visited great places. There’s a toy maker
in India named Arvind Gupta who has this
book called Toys From Trash. And he has kids
making their own toys from things they find on the
playground and in the yard. So there’s lots of things you
can do with everyday materials. But also, the good
news is, we’re fortunate that technological
trends are bringing down the prices of
digital technologies. So things that once
were inaccessible are becoming more accessible. There still is some access gap. But that gap is shrinking. And more and more types
of digital technologies are becoming accessible. So you don’t have to have
the advanced technologies. But new technologies are
becoming more accessible. So I think that’s
helping in this issue. I think talking about
that, when we started NuVu, we actually had no shop
at all in the first year, year-and-a-half. We had nothing. We had scissors and
snips and stuff. And I think the
educational experience was as valuable
as the experience that our kids are having. I think what’s happening
now with the whole maker culture is that a lot of these
things are becoming cheaper. A lot of the schools
that we work with, even the ones that don’t
have the means, I mean, they can buy a very cheap 3D printer. They can buy a
cheap laser cutter. They can get all these
robotic stuff very cheaply. They can recycle a lot of
these from previous projects. So within, I think, the
last five years, things have shifted a lot,
dramatically, even around the availability
of these technologies. Thank you. You’ve all talked about
these amazing new ideas. I’d like to shift your
focus to a place like India and how you scale in resource
constrained places like India. You know, the US has
this amazing history of higher education. And now that India is
coming out of the Dark Ages, Indian higher
education is trying to replicate what was done in
the US over the past 100 years. Tom, SUTD is, of course,
a fantastic model. But that requires
a lot of resources. How do you see
this kind of model working in a place like India? Again, I think it’s more
attitude than it is resources. What’s that? More attitude that
it is resources. I think that you want the
faculty and the institutions to say, we’re going to change
the way we’re teaching. We’re going to not do
this passive, traditional, lecture-based education. I think you can
do this at scale. I mean, you don’t have to have
three teachers in the classroom like we do. I think you can do
it in other ways. But it requires, I think, a
shift in the mental model. And the mental model is going
to be this new engaging way of teaching and thinking. The issue is that
most of the faculty have grown up and been
educated in another system. And now, you’re going to
throw them into this system. So it would take, I think,
a fair amount of education and sharing the things that some
of the more innovative places are doing. But I don’t think it
takes enormous resources. But I think it takes a
mental shift, and quite an important mental stuff. I completely agree with that. It’s really all about the
institution and the faculty and mostly about the faculty. And the resource issue
is a minor issue in this. I mean, you can,
yeah, have machines that are like a million
dollars each and stuff. But you can also do it
without having those at all. You just need to create
the right institution with the right
kind of leadership, and then train the
teachers in this new way. And then magic will happen. So I think we have time
for one more question. And then I apologize
to those waiting. They can talk to
our speakers after. But we’ll take
the last question. Go ahead. Hi, there. My name is Jay Helman. I often introduce myself as
an overeducated real estate developer. And the overeducation
is five degrees from MIT, three in
electrical engineering. So I don’t think like a
normal real estate guy. But when I saw the
title of this symposium, I was incredibly excited. I’d like to change
a word and tell you the question I asked in 1980. This is the campus
then, now, and next. I was developing office
buildings in Washington, DC. What I wrote in 1980 was the
office building, then, now, and next. Now, in 1980, the PC
wasn’t quite invented. But because of the MIT
education, I saw it. And the image in my mind was
a tractor and the C&O Canal. Before tractors,
everybody was a farmer. Today, nobody’s a farmer. And there’s a heck
of a lot more food. Office work before computers
was farming before tractors. The analogy to
education on the campus is virtual education
is only getting better. The question is, which Christina
was your first question, what’s the relationship
between the physical world and the virtual world? Well, the term I invented
to describe it in my thought process was virtual
adjacency, the ability to do something as
though you were there without actually being there. Now, I’m carrying in this hand
the iPhone, which in 1980, I could not have said “iPhone.” But if you look at what
I had been writing, you would see iPhone. So what I’d like to do
is really ask the panel, which I think you’ve all
been trying to do in the last day-and-a-half, to relate
the increasingly powerful, flexible, and individually
tailorable and responsive virtual adjacency world to the
experience of actually being someplace. I’ll give you one hint. My conclusion for
the office building is the future of
the office building is going to be more like
a club than a factory. Well, I would argue that
universities are largely a social enterprise,
a social enterprise. It’s a place where there’s
room for personal growth of young people. It’s a place of transition
for young people. Gerhard Casper, the president
of Stanford University, gave a great talk on this
many, many years ago. We tend to think of
universities as places where it’s just
knowledge dissemination. And that’s the wrong
view of a university. One of my nightmares,
and maybe the next panel will discuss this, is that we’ve
got kids all around the world taking all their
freshman classes, sitting at the keyboard,
looking like this, and never looking up, never
seeing another individual, no social experience at all. I’d rather have them
all go the Bali. And then we can do
this all in Bali so they have a social
experience together. But I think we
shouldn’t underestimate the value of that
social experience that happens at universities. And I think all the things
we’ve been talking about are a largely
social experiences. Right? Now, within those
social experiences, we do knowledge dissemination. But my own thought
on education is there’s a triad of attitude,
skills, and knowledge. Knowledge is just one part. But it’s a set of attitudes
we imbue in these young people that we develop and the set
of skills that they develop. And part of those skills
are interpersonal skills, their growth skills, et
cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So I think one
shouldn’t think of it as a factory in that sense,
in terms of knowledge creation and knowledge dissemination. I think the time is– So I think we’re out of time. But a great note to end on. Thank you very
much to the panel. It was wonderful. Thank you. Thank you. [APPLAUSE]

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