Weeks Oct/23 – Oct/30

Esteemed co-learners:

Blog post (please post by Oct/22) – Thank you for the wonderful slides and updates on your projects. And thank you Jason Haas for the Journey earworm that plagued me all afternoon. Please create a blog post with your slide and mini summary of your project. Assign it to the “Project” category

Readings – Justin sent us a list of blog posts that cover the ideas he presented during the seminar. We’ve added them into the Syllabus. We also added a link to JSB’s book “A New Culture of Learning” that was mentioned by Howard.
The plan for next week – Next week is member week at the Media Lab. No seminar! Please schedule project team meetings as well as meeting with your coaches and keep making progress. Progress towards what you ask? Read on:
Oct/30 IDEO session – It’s still a couple of weeks away, but please start planning your presentations for the Oct/30 session. Each team will have 5 min to present and get 5-7 min of feedback from IDEO, the instructors, and the class. The session is intended to help you -> use the presentation to get the feedback that you need to move forward. 
1 min – Introduce the context
  • What were your observations? What challenge did you decide to tackle. What was your “How might we … ” statement?

4 min – Tell us about your project

  • Use storyboards/ sketches, tell user stories, focus on the narrative (not the implementation details)
  • What will your project do and how?
  • Is there a particular issue you are struggling with and would like feedback on?


Week 4 – Assignment

Share a 90 sec video about yourself [Deadline Sun 29/Sep] 

1. Make a video (30+60=90sec max!)

~ 30 sec (about yourself – what do you want your team members to know about you?)
~ 60 sec (about your ideas/ interests for learning platforms – feel free to use the IDEO framework of environments, activities, objects, users, interactions to structure your thoughts)

2. Upload the video to youtube and send the link to Srishti (shrisakatux@gmail.com) by Sun 29/Sep.

A few related thoughts:

  • Don’t worry about details. Focus on the big ideas and themes that you are passionate about (you’ll have plenty of time to work on the details with your team members)
  • Feel free to refer to project ideas we mentioned in our presentations. All presentation files are linked to from the course syllabus (Mitch and Ethan coming today) and project ideas are usually on the last slide.
  • Recording on a smartphone is totally fine. A few simple tips: Try to be in a quiet room, with plenty of light, set the phone up sideways, and stay relatively close to the microphone. 
  • Don’t stress about getting this perfect. Have fun (feel free to hack the format)!

Find shared interests / Get to know your colleagues [Deadline Tue 1/Oct] 

On Monday morning we’ll send you an email with a link to the video gallery.

Please watch ALL of the videos of your colleagues. This will take roughly an hour. As you are watching, look for other students whose interests you share (or  complement).

More information about all of the students (incl. you) can also be found on the students page – If you picture is missing (so sad!) please email a link to Srishti.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Week 3 – Homework

Deadline: Tuesday 9/24

This week’s homework has three components.

Read & Reflect (aka write a blog post) Pick one of the following question sets and write a short blog post answer. Make sure to assign your post to the “Week 3” category. We added some background readings, and posted the slides from last week, in the syllabus to help with your reflections. If you don’t have a blog account yet, send an email to Srishti – srishakatux@gmail.com – ASAP.

Q1- How will/should learning change in an age when we are always connected? An age when we can get connect to any knowledge/expert in an instant? What should people still learn and what things can they delegate to their devices or the “hive” for? How do we make people smarter rather than dumber?

Q2- How can we inspire curiosity and passion for learning in more people, and help learners make progress towards their personal goals?  How might we use the web (or other tools) to do this? Start by asking yourself, how you developed the passion for the things you are interested in today (what are they?) and then generalize from there. 

Q3- What does an ideal teacher do? How could just-in-time technology be used to do some of the same? How can we motivate more people to act as teachers for each other? 

“How Might We…” Tweet? Considering your observations and interpretation from last week’s homework, formulate (at least) one “How might we …” tweet. Using the petrol station attendants example: “How might we facilitate on-the-job language mentoring between immigrant workers?” -> Use both #medialabx and #hmw hashtags so we can find your tweets. (If you don’t use twitter, this might be a good time to start – or add your 140 character answer into this week’s blog post).

Share a Resource. Have a look at the projects on the resources page. Try out at least two projects. Add a suggestion for additional projects in the comments of that page. Tell us and your colleagues “why” you think a project is interesting (or not interesting) and should be added. You are each others’ most valuable resource – be generous with your wisdom and expertise.

Office Hours Just a reminder for office hours on Tuesdays from 3-4pm in E14-445 (LEGO Lab).  No need to schedule an appointment, just drop-in or join the http://unhangout.media.mit.edu/h/medialabx


Week 2 Homework

Deadline: Tuesday 9/17

1 – Write a blog post (more info on this week’s assignment below) and assign it to category “Week 2”. Make sure you don’t forget the category!

2 – Give feedback. All posts categorized as Week 2 automatically show up on this page. Read your colleagues posts, and comment on 2 of them. We like a green/yellow/red approach to feedback because it nudges you to leave both positive encouragement and constructive suggestions.


IDEO presented a challenge for brainstorming: how do we build platforms for learning at the Media Lab that extend beyond the physical Media Lab community?

In class, IDEO divided you into five groups. Each group brainstormed around one aspect of our problem space: environments where learning occurs, activities people engage with in learning, interactions that lead to learning, objects involved in the learning process, and users. This brainstorm was the equivalent of the “discovery” phase, which is usually an ethnographic process.

Phase 1 – Discovery

During the class, each of you brainstormed about only one of these five aspects of the problem. In step 1 of this week’s homework, we invite you to think about all of the aspects. Identify three activities, three environments, three interactions, three objects and three users associated with our design challenge. Text is okay, but you’re especially encouraged to document these with images, audio, video or other forms of media. We call these your observations.

Phase 2 – Interpretation

In phase 2 we invite you to engage in the next step: interpretation. This involves considering the set of observations you made for each category, and coming up with some general statements about them – a sentence or a phrase that extrapolates from the observations of the discovery process and involves some interpretation.

For example: if I noticed that people are learning at the bus stop, on the T and in their cars, I might group those into one observation “in transit” in the environments category. When I reflect on my discovery process and enter the interpretation process, I might add the phrase “People learn when they have nothing better to do” as an insight, interpreting from my observations about learning in transit.

We also invite you to have some fun with this. Don’t worry too much about getting it perfectly right, but try to make the process work for you – to come up with new ideas that you may not otherwise have thought of.

In a nutshell > This week we want you to make observations in five categories (environments, objects, activities, interactions, and users); and to offer a sentence or phrase interpreting each of those categories.