xTalk: Interactivity & Connectedness in the Classroom: Digital Tools for Collaborative Learning

Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Building 3, 133
33 MASSACHUSETTS AVE, Cambridge, MA 02139

Dr Kyle Keane, with colleagues Ian Kim Riley, Andrew Ringler, and Mark Vrablic will introduce some digital tools and classroom management strategies to have students learn-by-doing through content creation rather than consumption. Keane's team has built a simple system that allows students to design, create, and publish gesture-based, videogame-like simulations using the Microsoft Kinect. These simulations can allow users to 'play and experience' scientific concepts in a more tangible and kinesthetic manner. For example, we have built a 'molecular dynamics' simulation that shows a cluster of interacting molecules; to 'play' with the molecules, the user closes their hand in front of the screen to select a molecule and then drags the molecule to see how it affects the other molecules. This type of simulation can be used to introduce scientific concepts to the general public and incoming freshmen, or it can be used to further clarify the fundamentals for students who have already learned about the concept in a more traditional way.

Keane and his team used this framework to run a nine-day IAP project-based workshop where students formed small teams with diverse backgrounds to collaboratively create their own simulation for the system. They documented and published the workshop on OCW for others to draw from. 

During this presentation, Keane, Riley, Ringler, and Vrablic will discuss their method of engaging students (some with no previous programming experience) in every stage of the ideation, design, creation, and testing of their team¹s project. They will discuss the importance of storytelling and collaboration while demonstrating how they use technology to facilitate this in a classroom. Part of the presentation will be an opprtunity to hear about the lead developer's own experience building this project as a UROP and running the IAP workshop. 

The entire simulation system will be set up for use after the presentation and there will be ample time for attendees to 'play' with the current set of simulations. 

Dr Kyle Keane is a lecturer in the department of Materials Science and Engineering. Andrew Ringler is an affiliate with DSME. Mark Vrablic is an MIT undergraduate majoring in EECS.

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Public, MIT Community, Students, Faculty, Staff


xTalks, VPOL, Digital Learning, Open Learning, Office of Digital Learning



xTalks: Digital Discourses


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