edith (at) media.mit.edu

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MIT Media Laboratory.

With Future of Learning Group. David Cavallo, Seymour Papert. Learning in a digital world. Kids designers. Constructionism. Website: http://learning.media.mit.edu/projects.html/ or www.media.mit.edu/research/56


RoBallet (2003) - Kids designers, dancers, choreographers

David Cavallo, Seymour Papert, Arnan Sipitakiat, Shaundra Bryant Daily, Cynthia Solomon, Edith Ackermann, Jacques d'Amboise, Dufftin Garcia and National Dance Institute

Visit the web log: http://weblogs.media.mit.edu/roballet/

RoBallet is a project that brings together the arts, learning, and technology. In RoBallet, children extend the joy and creativity of expression through dance. They are encouraged to set their own stage by programming interactive robots, animation, music, light, and images in their dance space. The children are both dancers and choreographers. They outfit their bodies and the environment with small mobile computational devices and sensors so that their bodies can generate the activity of the space. Central to our vision is that children should control technology to serve their imaginations, and not be driven by it. The experience results in a deeper understanding of arts as expression, technology as a means to serve expression, and learning as "hard fun"—creative and enjoyable yet disciplined and mindful.

Alumni Contributor(s): Anindita Basu, Luke Ouko and Larissa Welti-Santos


The City that We Want/A Cidade que a Gente Quer (2003-2007)

Agencia Estado, Bradesco Foundation, Municipal Education Secretariats of Curitiba and São Paulo, David Cavallo, Alicia Cavallo, Luke Ouko, Shaundra Bryant Daily, Edith Ackermann, Ron MacNeil and Arnan Sipitakiat

Visit website: http://learning.media.mit.edu/projects.html

In this project, learners create tangible models of the cities they dream up. The basic premise is that students will engage in a critical inquiry into the life, culture, and functioning of their cities, and imagine desirable improvements. Students can either address something they perceive as problematic (waste recycling, transportation, energy generation and consumption, violence), or they can propose a working model for a playful utopia, a humorous intervention, or a grand new idea (public entertainment spaces, instant playgrounds, a chocolate factory). The teams work in a variety of computational and traditional media. We are facilitating their process, providing them with the support and tools they need to achieve their goals, and building new technologies for distance support and collaboration. The project also serves as a model for alternative-learning environments and for teacher development.

Alumni Contributor(s): Georgina Echániz Pellicer, Anindita Basu, Paulo Blikstein and Luke Ouko


Learning Hubs (2000-2007) - Living apart, growing together

David Cavallo, Seymour Papert, Arnan Sipitakiat, Jacqueline Karaaslanian, Edith Ackermann and Alice Mello Cavallo.

Visit website: http://www.media.mit.edu/research/56

We are creating a network of initially small entities called "Learning Hubs." Local Learning Hubs will serve as public access technology and learning centers, schools, centers for community development, incubators for small technology-based businesses, sites for professional development of educators, and centers for intellectual and political discussion. Initial sites include locations in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Ireland, and Senegal. The form differs in each country but the network provides a means to learn from each other. This international network of projects and activists is an essential part of the project, allowing the leveraging of each other's projects and the constitution of a critical mass of concrete examples and instantiations of innovative learning environments.

Alumni Contributor(s): Georgina Echániz Pellicer, Anindita Basu, Paulo Blikstein and Luke Ouko

Mega-Change in Learning? (2002-2007) - Sustainable development

Seymour Papert, David Cavallo, Shaundra Bryant Daily, Arnan Sipitakiat, Cynthia Solomon, Edith Ackermann, Laura Nichols and Mel King.


Rethinking learning is important. Sustainability is vital. Yet what can we do, as a group, to help tap into the potential of children worldwide and provide opportunities for every child (and adult) to enjoy the living and learning conditions they deserve? In our projects, we develop very low-cost digital solutions in areas that unlock possibilities otherwise not achievable, and we favor platforms that can be owned and shaped for local uses. We develop content and support materials that combine low and high tech, and take advantage of access. We create demonstration projects to explicate new ideas for practice, we show what is possible, and we facilitate the process.

Alumni contributors:  Georgina Echániz Pellicer, Anindita Basu, Paulo Blikstein

My role as a collaborator of the Future of Learning projects:

I focus on children’s learning and development. I am interested in how any person's epistemological believes (deeply held convictions on what it means and takes to be smart, or grow as a person) inform their ways of learning and teaching. I tap into my experience as a psychologist to rethink learning in specific domains. I imagine and design engaging tools and activities. I help facilitate teamwork, and I serve as a mentor to many graduate students.