Ed Tech Fair Showcases Diverse MIT Talents, Student Ingenuity

By Molly D. Ruggles, Educational Technology Consultant, and Toru Iiyoshi, Senior Strategist, Office of Educational Innovation and Technology

ESG Students at Ed Tech FairOn October 14, the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, the Teaching and Learning Laboratory, and the Office of Faculty Support co-hosted the MIT Ed Tech Fair 2009: Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Learning. The four-hour passion-filled event enjoyed a huge turnout, with a lively panel discussion featuring four MIT professors doing pioneering work in visualization and simulation, the student winners of the iCampus prize demonstrating their winning projects and over 25 presenters and exhibitors.

Ed Tech Panel 2009

Pictured on the left (from left to right), Professors Dava Newman (Aeronautics and Astronautics), John Belcher (Physics), Graham Walker (Biology), and the director of HyperStudio Dr. Kurt Fend shared their ideas and insights about how the use of visualizations and simulations can make learning more engaging, effective and meaningful. The pedagogical tools and resources, developed by them and through their educational projects, have been integrated into the classroom experience, as well used for supplementary study.

The range and depth of educational innovation at MIT was demonstrated by projects that promote collaboration across departments and schools, projects that find and incorporate digital content in meaningful ways in research and learning, and projects that feature open educational tools and resources. Throughout the event, both the participants and presenters across different departments, offices, and projects generated engaging discussions around their shared interests and issues as well as possible collaborative efforts in the future.

Attendees to the fair included interested individuals across MIT's demographic: faculty interested emerging technology-enabled initiatives, undergraduates absorbing new perspectives on educational innovation, and technologists and researchers looking for grist and inspiration.

During an onsite interview at the event, Professor Daniel Hastings Dean of Undergraduate Education commented: “As I was walking around The Ed Tech Fair today, What I saw was a great deal of innovation and enthusiasm for learning and teaching, which is great, but I also see this is part of something bigger which is the idea that we are moving towards what we call “hybrid mode of education” which uses web-enabled and computer-enabled technologies and actual physical classroom learning, and this is part of that exploration of what we can actually do to improve student learning.”

2009 iCampus winners

iCampus winners (pictured on the left) Chris Varenhorst '09 and Justin Cannon '08 demonstrated their Lingt Language website, an interactive tool for language learning. Second place winner Sacha Zyto 'G demonstrated his PDF Communal Annotation Site. Drs. Kumar and Ivanova of the OEIT administered the prize competition and presented awards to the winners.

The highlights from the event as well as some related information and resources--including the program, posters, photos, and videos--are available at:

http://oeit.mit.edu/community/edtechfair2009