_education
_media and cinema



Stanford University

FabLab@School

Funded by Euan Baird, the SEED Foundation, and Stanford, 2008-2012

FabLab is a small-scale digital workshop equipped with computer-controlled tools, such as laser-cutters, routing machines, 3D scanners, 3D milling machines, and programming tools. In a FabLab, you can "make almost anything,", in other words, create different types of projects and products. FabLabs were invented by Prof. Neil Gershenfeld at MIT, and despite the potential impact of FabLabs in education, they are mostly focused on adults, entrepreneuruship, and product design. The FabLab@School, created by Prof. Paulo Blikstein at Stanford University, was created to address that issue. It is a new type of FabLab especially designed for school and children, with several special characteristics. We are taking cuttting edge fabrication labs and adapting them to schools, establishing a worldwide network of labs to share ideas and projects. The first of such labs just opened in June 2011 in a public school in Moscow, and more are underway.

More information:

Lemann Center for Entrepreneurship and Educational Innovation In Brazil

Funded by the Lemann Foundation

Few analysts agree on what makes education systems effective, but on one point there is near unanimity: improving education is extremely complex—no single solution suffices. The complexity of this landscape leaves an emerging country with two options: to blindly import models from a foreign country, which rarely works in education, or to invent its own model, selectively incorporating the best practices in the world into its own cultural and socio-economic reality. The success of Brazil’s efforts in promoting a quantum leap in its educational system is tied to attracting the best and the brightest in all of those fields of activity to the educational ecosystem. We need to reach out to economists, MBAs, engineers, social scientists, and neuroscientists, give them world-class training, connect them with a strong sense of purpose, and inspire them with a robust vision about educational change. The Lemann Center will offer MA, MBA, and PhD scholarships to Brazilian students, as well as host visiting scholar, promote events, and conduct cutting-edge research on educational policy, technology, and educational innovation.

NSF CAREER Project: Bifocal Modeling

Funded by a National Science Fundation DRK-12 Grant, 2010-2014 and a NSF CAREER Grant, 2011-2015.

In Bifocal Modeling, learners build a model of a device or phenomenon in the real world and attach sensors to it, and they build a virtual model (on the computer) of the same device or phenomenon using one of several modeling platforms. They run both models, and explore and investigate the function and behavior of the device or phenomenon using both models. The approach is designed to help learners construct explanatory mental models of phenomena and devices they encounter. The need to reconcile the differences between the models focuses learners on details they might not have noticed if working with just one model. As they engage in bifocal modeling activities, learners encounter issues concerning the purpose and veracity of models, human error, sensors, and science practice. Thus, in addition to facilitating learning of the science behind the phenomenon they are exploring, learners have opportunities to learn about the roles of models in science and how to design, construct, and use models scientifically. Engaging for a sustained period of time is necessary for such learning, and the approach has learners engage in bifocal modeling in the context of exploring phenomena and devices that they have grown curious about in the context of science or technology activities. The approach has potential to be used in school or out of school, and it might be used to cover targeted science or to supplement classroom activities. The project has phases that include investigating the efficacy and feasibility of bifocal modeling in a variety of circumstances, identifying the ways it might be productively used in school and to supplement school, understanding how learning happens when learning in the context of bifocal modeling, iteratively designing curriculum modules based on findings (and testing them), and iteratively refining the software and hardware that goes with those curriculum models so as to come to better understand of how to use them to promote learning.

The proposed work has potential to help young people (and perhaps others) learn the science behind phenomena of interest and become better scientific reasoners. Citizens who understand the roles of models in science and who can design, construct, and/or use them to reason scientifically will be able to take part in the discussions of our democracy and be ready to prepare for scientific careers.

Project's old website

Gogo Board

Funded by a Google Faculty Award, 2010-2011
With Arnan Sipitakiat, Chiang-Mai University, Thailand

Linux and the Open Source movement proved that there are other ways to provide technology to people. The commercial, corporate, centralized model is not the only one. Departing from our experience working in developing countries such as Thailand and Brazil, we envisioned a new way of putting technology in the hands of students at a low cost. The Gogo Board framework is a concrete step towards providing sustainable, low cost computational technologies to low-income areas. The Board itself, designed by Arnan Sipitakiat at MIT, costs approximately 5 times less than most commercial products, and can be assembled locally with components found in local stores in Brazil, USA or Thailand. In more than 50 Brazilian schools, we are providing  low-cost, open-source digital equipment to children, schools and non-formal learning environments. Co-developing technologies with local partners is one viable alternative for introducing digital technologies without creating even more dependency.

Official website: http://www.gogoboard.org
Documents in Portuguese:
Comandos da Placa GoGo para o Imagine Logo
Como fazer sensores

EcoAgents

Funded by the Levin Fund, Stanford University, 2010-2011

Climate change is one of the most challenging and complex events in human history, potentially affecting every aspect of our lives. However, a major impact has gone mostly unnoticed: it brought mathematics and science back to the forefront of public discourse. Who would have expected, five years ago, that carbon dioxide would be a household name, or that results of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would be as anticipated as a sitcom season finale? Generation Eco combines environmental awareness, global collaboration, and innovation. Students will study the deep math and science behind everyday actions, design working solutions for climate change, and share their ideas globally. Using sophisticated computer-based tools, they will complete inquiry-based projects and develop prototypes with colleagues throughout the global GECO community.

The purpose of this project is to train K-12 students to develop the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to actively participate and understand the challenges of sustainability in the age of climate change, with a special focus on using computational technologies as data-collection and modeling tools – in other words, train students for computational ecoliteracy, in three steps: (1) collect data, (2) build scientific models, and (3) design solutions. Learners will use advanced technologies, such as electronic sensors, GPS-enabled devices, and data-loggers to rigorously measure and collect data about different aspects of everyday behaviors. Then, using computer simulation tools normally only available to college or graduate students, such as agent-based modeling and system dynamics tools, they will analyze and build scientific models of those behaviors and their environmental impact. Finally, using computer programming, robotics, digital media, and cutting-edge rapid-prototyping equipment, students will design devices, behaviors, or media campaigns to address the main issues emerging from their research.

Download the 1-page summary of the project (PDF)

Learning Analytics

Funded by an AT&T Fellowship, 2010-1013

Politicians, educators, business leaders, and researchers are unanimous to state that we need to redesign schools to teach the so-called 21st century skills: creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, among others. None of those skills are easily measured using current assessment techniques, such as multiple choice tests or even portfolios – and, as Lord Kelvin famously said, “if you can't measure it, you can't improve it.” As a result, our schools are paralyzed by the push to teach new skills, and the lack of reliable ways to assess those skills. One of the difficulties is that current assessment instruments are based on end products (an exam, a project, a portfolio), and not on processes (the actual cognitive and intellectual development while performing a learning activity), due to the intrinsic difficulties in capturing detailed process data for large numbers of students. However, new sensing and data mining technologies could make it possible to capture and analyze massive amounts of process data of classroom activities. This project investigates the use of biosensing, signal- and image-processing, and machine learning to explore multidimensional process-based student assessments.

The $30 Science & Robotics Lab: a Low Cost, Open Source Platform For Hands-on Scientific Exploration

Funded by a Google Faculty Award, 2010-2011

Scientific literacy requires exposure to hands-on scientific tools, but those tools are prohibitively expensive for most schools, particularly in high-need areas. The $30 Science & Robotics Lab project purports to give children and schools a low cost, powerful toolkit for hands-on science and robotics. Being open-source and inexpensive will allow students to even take home their own science lab and continue their school work throughout the day. Having a "take home" science toolkit will allow students to explore their own world with scientific eyes, and learn about physics, chemistry, environmental science, mathematics, electronics, programming, and more -- in real-life contexts. Universities in the US and Thailand will collaborate to develop a hardware platform, low-cost scientific sensors, learning activities, and a website for collaborative scientific projects. This project will use the GoGo Board framework, a hardware platform for robotics designed from the ground-up to be low-cost and user-friendly for children.

Learning Fabrication Lab and Stanford Makers' Club

Funded by Stanford University, 2009-2011

The main goal of the Stanford Makers' Club is to bring together researchers and students interested in education, cognition, product design and prototyping.

more information at the Stanford Makers Club website (here).
Also, click here to see a 3D rendering of the new Stanford Fabrication Lab.

SLATE (System for Learning and Assessment Through Tanglble and Exploration)

Tiffany Tseng, Coram Bryant, and Paulo Blikstein

SLATE combines tangible toolkits with an interactive display to engage children in hands-on learning. By arranging magnetic pieces in different configurations on the vertical screen, children solve challenges and create solutions that subsequent children can view and learn from. Designs are automatically documented using a rear-mounted image detection system, which enables post-hoc assessment and reflection. With our latest toolkit, Mechanix, children build Rube-Goldberg designs composed of simple machine components. We are in the process of developing new toolkits for other subject areas (from the SLATE website)

See slate-learning.com

Multiplexed Collaborative Learning

Funded by the LIFE Science of Learning Center (NSF), 2010-1014
Previously with With Bill Rand (University of Maryland School of Business)

Agent-based modeling has been extensively used by scientists to study complex systems. Participatory simulations are similar to agent-based models except that humans play the role of the virtual agents. The Bifocal modeling approach uses sensors to gather data about the real-world phenomena being modeled and uses that information to affect the model. In this work, we are interested in automatically extracting, analyzing and modeling group behaviors in problem solving. Combining these three systems into one unified platform would be useful for those purposes, since it would facilitate a synthesis of their main affordances: understanding the role of locality, mapping human action to emergent behaviors, and controlling embedded physical objects in noisy environments while receiving sensory feedback. We will demonstrate a technological platform based on the NetLogo/HubNet architecture that supports simulated agents, participatory agents and physical agents. We place this platform within a more general framework that we call Human, Embedded and Virtual agents in Mediation (HEV-M). We have run several studies using an instantiation of this platform that consists of a robot-car with four users who navigate a maze. We believe that this tool has potential for three main reasons (1) it facilitates logging of participant’s actions, so as to identify patterns, (2) it offers researchers in the field of computer-supported collaborative learning an easy-to-use tool to design engaging collaborative learning activities and, (3) it foregrounds the role of individual actions within the accomplishment of a collective goal, highlighting the connections between simple individual actions and the resultant macroscopic behaviors of the system.

Educational Repositories

Funded by a National Science Foundation EAGER Grant, 2010-2011
With Steven Cooper and Mehran Sahami, Stanford University

This project proposes to improve the ability for educators to effectively find and leverage existing curricular materials. While many previous efforts have attempted to build repositories of course materials, these efforts have been hampered by factors such as a lack of efficient search facilities, a dearth of available/stored materials, an inability to find quality materials, or the user perception of commercial interest in the repository. This project seeks to develop a conduit by which educational materials can be searched, rated, and archived. The overall goal is to create a framework to address four critical issues that have hampered the utility of such repositories thus far: a better search interface, easily usable by computing teachers (especially K-12 teachers), a critical mass of materials, a rating mechanism by teachers, and a system that will appeal to teachers. To reiterate, the goal in this work is not simply to create yet another repository of educational materials. Rather this project seeks to address the shortcomings of existing repositories by providing the appropriate affordances for search (easy accessibility from general search engines) and user feedback/ratings. Moreover, by proactively seeking an initial set of content, this project can help to break the lack-of-content/lack-of-usage cycle that plagues most existing systems. This Eager project proposes to develop a prototype along these lines with enough content to be a proof-of-concept for such a system. Based on initial results and usage profiles, this project can can lay a foundation for how to best proceed in making such a system more broadly used by the computing educational community.

 

MaterialSim

This project provides students and researchers with powerful agent-based simulation tools for a variety of phenomena in Materials Science, such as grain growth and solidification. Most commercial simulation packages in Engineering “black-box” their mathematical and physical models. MaterialSim is an attempt to address this issue, with "glass-box" models for crystallization, solidification, metallic grain growth and annealing. In addition, our research has suggested that the agent-based perspective may foster deeper understanding of the relevant scientific phenomena. A core feature of this design is that students, after understanding the very basic principles of the models, were able to apply that small number of rules to capture fundamental causality structures underlying behaviors in a range of apparently disparate phenomena within a domain.

Project's old website
Click below to run the models:
Grain Growth | Solidification [Beta] | Diffusion | The Monte carlo method

NetLogo (collaborator)

Agent-Based Modeling software for children and research, developed by the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (Uri Wilensky, director) at Northwestern Univesity
Website (free download): http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo

Old projects

Northwestern University Projects (2003-2009)

NetLogo
Agent-Based Modeling software for children and research, developed by the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (Uri Wilensky, director) at Northwestern Univesity
Website (free download): http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo

Bifocal Modeling (formerly Hybrid Modeling/NetLogoLab)
Putting together agent-based modeling, tangible interfaces, and real-world scientidic experiments.
More about: http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogolab
Papers: see publications page

MaterialSim
A set of agent-based microworlds to explore Materials Science.
Website: http://ccl.northwestern.edu/materialsim
Papers: see publications page

Robotics and simulators for medical education
Independent study with Professor Carla Pugh, from Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. We are investigating how expert and novice doctors perform medical examinations, using mannequins equipped with various sensors. Doctors are also interviewed and answer a questionnaire about their previous experience. From this data, we are trying to identify patterns in both profiles (expert and novice), and creating new technological tools and learning environments for medical students to learn how to perform medical exams.

Teacher's mental models of the learners' minds
How do teachers think that the mind of their students work? How do they imagine that learning happens inside the minds of their pupils?

Documents:
Book chapter in Evaluation in Online Learning. Ed. Loyola, Brazil (see publications page)



MIT Media Lab Projects (2000-2003)


The city that we want (A cidade que a gente quer)

This project, conducted together with the Secretary of Education of São Paulo, Agência Estado and the Bradesco Foundation, is introducing new ideas and technologies in the Brazilian public and non-profit education system, involving more than 50 schools. The main idea is to have children identify the problems in their community, design solutions using multiple expressive technologies and computational technology and implement the changes in partnership with the local government or community groups.

More about...
The Gogo Board (with Arnan Sipitakiat)

Linux and the Open Source movement proved that there are other ways to provide technology to people. The commercial, corporate, centralized model is not the only one. Departing from our experience working in developing countries such as Thailand and Brazil, we envisioned a new way of putting technology in the hands of students at a low cost. The Gogo Board framework is a concrete step towards providing sustainable, low cost computational technologies to low-income areas. The Board itself, designed by Arnan Sipitakiat at MIT, costs approximately 5 times less than most commercial products, and can be assembled locally with components found in local stores in Brazil, USA or Thailand. In more than 50 Brazilian schools, we are providing  low-cost, open-source digital equipment to children, schools and non-formal learning environments. Co-developing technologies with local partners is one viable alternative for introducing digital technologies without creating even more dependency.

Official website: http://www.gogoboard.org
Documents in Portuguese:
Comandos da Placa GoGo para o Imagine Logo
Como fazer sensores
Low-cost computation and robotics

How can we make technology available to all children? Expensive commercial toolkits are certainly not the answer, especially in developing countries, where they can cost more than the average salary of a teacher. Together with low-cost, open-source devices as the Gogo board, we developed new methodologies to work with found and scrap materials, broken electronic equipment, broken toys, and transforming them into new, expressive projects conceived by the kids and teachers. We have been working for more than three years with the Secretariat of Education of São Paulo (Brazil), as well as the Bradesco Foundation, within the "City that we want" project, where children are building models and solutions for their city using low-cost materials.
One of the results of this work, conducted together with Arnan Sipitakiat (the designer of the Gogo Board), is that it has made possible for more than 3,000 students from public school in Brazil to have contact with robotics and computer programming.

Learning Hubs (Centros de Aprendizagem)

Coordinated by Seymour Papert and David Cavallo, the Learning Hub project envisions to form a global network innovative educational experiences and build critical mass towards larger-scale change in educational.

Read the paper-manifest on the Learning Hubs: English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF)

Water Computer (Slashdotted on Oct/2003)

Could we make a device for people to build computation with their own hands? To compute, all we need are boolean operations: this project implemented them without electricity, but with water. This project appeared on Slashdot.com in 2003, and had thousands of pageviews at that time. It has been used in some universities across the US for teaching undergraduates about digital logic.
More about...


University of São Paulo (1995-2000)

Monte Carlo or the meaning of life (Monte Carlo ou o sentido da vida)
Undergraduate thesis
Two Provost Research Grants awarded
Special report on the University of São Paulo Newspaper

Multimedia project consisting of a thesis, 30-minute documentary, CD-ROM and website, about computer modeling of the behavior of materials (grain growth in metals).
Official website: http://www.pmt.usp.br/paulob/montecarlo


Other projects and endeavors

Engineer 2001 (1999-2000)

Anchor of the "Engineer 2001" TV series, a project funded by the Brazilian government and coordinated by the Vanzolini Foundation (USP) for reshaping the teaching and learning of engineering in Brazil. (Engenheiro 2001)
Official website: http://www.engenheiro2001.org.br/
Webkit (1999-2000)

Conception and direction of this distance learning course for professional website developers. This innovative product was the most succesful commercial product in Brazil in its field, with more than 6.000 students in just six months.

More about it at www.tecnokit.com.br


 
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