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Everyday Learning


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Title: Everyday Learning

Everyday Learning Computational objects and
environments to provoke curiosity, support
construction, and sustain engagement with
powerful ideas and varied perspectives
Carol Strohecker Media Lab Europe 2004
The Media Labs
  • Atelier style, interdisciplinary, international,
  • Including 160 corporate and government sponsors

Media Lab Europe Dublin, Ireland founded July
2000 6 principal investigators 2 adjunct
investigators 50 students actively growing
MIT Media Lab Cambridge, MA, USA founded 1985 32
faculty and senior research staff 150 post
graduate students 100 undergraduates
MLE Everyday Learning
Everyday Learning concerns how people learn
through life -- meaning through the lifetime
and through day-to-day living, in everyday
Everyday Learning
We call these informal learning situations.
They differ from formal learning situations
as youd find in schools and professional
training programs where, typically, someone
external to the learner says not only what the
learner should learn, but how to go about
learning it.
Everyday Learning
Instead, we are interested in situations where
learning is based on the learners curiosity,
where learners come because they want to rather
than because someone tells them they should, and
where learners have the freedom to pursue ideas
in their own ways.
Everyday Learning
Therefore we are interested in settings like
homes, museums, zoos, clubhouses, community
centres, airports, shopping areas, and
workplaces, and how we can help to shape these
settings as informal learning environments that
are welcoming, engaging, and productive.
Everyday Learning
An important aspect of such environments is that
they provide material and social supports for
people to pursue creative activities centred
around some core idea. For us this core is
often a basic idea in math or science, because we
are interested in how more people can develop
thinking that will enable them to participate
fully in our technological society.
Everyday Learning
In order to design learning environments that
will be welcoming and meaningful for many
people, we need to consider the broad
diversity that characterises human thinking and
Everyday Learning
This leads us to the design principle of
representing ideas in multiple ways and at
multiple scales. It also leads us to arrange
unusual learning partnerships, such as between
members of different cultures and different
Everyday Learning
We invent tools and environments with and in
which people can experiment with ideas, create
things using computational materials, and make
their creations public. Project focuses
varying approaches to building supports for
thinking about ecology, probability, time and
expressive movement
Everyday Learning
Computational objects and environments to provoke
curiosity, support construction, and sustain
engagement with powerful ideas and varied
Dino Stable
Bony creatures that balance as they move
A microworld-style construction kit for exploring
the role of center of mass in balancing Unearth
RF-tagged skeletal parts for virtual assembly as
whimsical creatures that can walk and run Number
of legs, location and mass of centre, and
selected speed determine whether the creature can
balance as it moves or crash into a heap of
bones Gait patterns from literature on
biomechanics and locomotion
A flight of learning about songs and sensors
You hear recordings of birds from speakers along
the walls Sensors detect your rate of movement,
proximity to birds, and how much noise you
make Inputs form a degree of disturbance that
triggers sounds emulating the birds natural
reactions to squawk or fly away
A microworld for learning about ecosystems
every action has a consequence
Sensors and actuators in a miniature greenhouse
connected to a simulation environment Multiple
representations of invisible quantities and
abstract relationships Ideas of acceptable risk
and projections in time
Amble Time
A map with a sense of time
Can I stroll to the park for lunch, or would
it take me all day? Uses GPS and your average
walking speed to create bubble indicating
everywhere you could walk in an hour Slowly
shrinks and morphs as your position changes and
time ticks by, eventually highlighting the
shortest path to your destination
Nature Trailer
Stories for environmental exploring and managing
Aids hikers in deciding which way to go, where to
rest, and when to turn back before darkness
falls Uses weather sensors and metadata to
filter content and describe locations through
story Hikers peer down trails, seeing glimpses
of what to expect through snippets of
media Saves a trace of their walk for later
reflections with full videos
A collaboration with the Weather Stories project,
MLE Story Networks group
Smoke Rings
Monitoring and modeling smoke exposure for
understanding risk
Mobile sensing device detects chemical components
of environmental tobacco smoke Logs readings on
a 12-hour clock to visualise conditions of
locations and patterns in daily routine Coupled
simulator projects long-term consequences of
sustained exposures, supporting thinking about
acceptable risk
Dimensional Reading
Electronic books supporting co-constructed
Pages emit sounds to accompany pictures and
text Additional sounds play according to
properties of the physical environment As the
readers voice and ambient light conditions
change, the music and effects adjust to help
connect the readers world to that of the story
characters Adults and kids read together
Citizen Journalism
Uncovering unconventional issues and perspectives
Expressive learning to empower individuals and
communities with tools, skills and partnerships
necessary to relate and interpret their own
experience Ultimately could help change
practices of professional journalists and
Developing archives, opinions and literacies with
public photos and SMS texts
Large-scale installations for developing and
expressing opinions at individual and collective
scales Public debate of low-income urban housing
renovations, tensions among factions in a rural
community, legislation restricting smoking in
public places Emergent archives of collective
photo essays and public opinion Text-image
combinations as deliberative short forms
Polymorphic Letters
Reflecting voice through expressive movements
and writing
Handwriting attributes mapped to comparable
attributes of images and sounds Rich meanings
emerge through modal combinations Structured
short forms Expression through movement New
kinds of constructive literacies via dynamic
Moving Minds
Leveraging kinesthetic senses for developing
broadly useful spatial understandings
…from the first days of life a child is engaged
in…extracting mathematical knowledge from the
intersection of body with environment. …whether
we intend it or not, the teaching of mathematics,
as it is traditionally done in our schools, is a
process by which we ask the child to forget the
natural experience of mathematics in order to
learn a new set of rules. - Seymour Papert
1980.Mindstorms, 206-07
Movements from Fine-motor to
gross-motor Involving fingers and hands to
whole-body movements Simpler to more complex,
requiring shorter or longer times to learn or
What Louis Armstrong was to jazz, Shannon is to
the electronic, digital information age … For
some time his…interest has been juggling,
continuing a life long fascination with balance
and uncontrolled stability. Shannons
theorem…defines relations that must exist among
the times that the hands are empty or full and
the time each ball spends in the air. - Sloane
Wyner 1993, Beek Lewbel 1995
Empowering Minds
Self-determined teacher learning
Provocative, engaging and challenging
computational materials Immersive atelier-style
environments Embedding teachers learning in
their own practice and making this an object to
think with Addressing each individual teachers
needs, interests and experiences A supportive
community with a diverse range of
backgrounds Adequate time for changes to occur
A collaboration with Deirdre Butler et al., St.
Patrick's College, Dublin City University
Everyday Learning
Tools and environments for learning that is
creative, curiosity-based, self-motivated,
personalised Tools reveal something about
themselves, their domain of operation, or their
users everyday settings become informal learning
environments that are welcoming, engaging, and
productive for members of different cultures and
Computational tools and environments that support
and reveal conceptual development objects to
think with Collect and reflect Individual
and collective creativity Multiple learning
styles, intercultural and intergenerational
partnerships Environmental awareness and
actions "Body knowledge" joining dance,
architecture, maths, physics…
People are …
… carrying devices such as phones, cameras and
Internet access tools which let them capture and
share records of their lives
… realising that traditional styles of schooling
stem from industrial modes of production and
societal organisation, and are inadequate for
todays information society
... becoming skeptical about physicians roles as
authority figures, bureaucratic control of
personal health records, and high insurance
… shifting from …
centralised societal systems that operate on a
mass scale … … to systems that are manageable by
individuals and their relevant proximal or
extended communities with this shift comes a
shift in responsibilities
Everyday Learning Elucidating and supporting
diverse learning processes as individuals and
communities increasingly take charge of -
their own health care and wellbeing, and that of
the environments in which they live - their
own accessing and generating of information, and
forming and expressing of opinions - their own
development at personal and collective scales
Thank you stro_at_media.mit.edu
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