Learning Innovation Showcase
The Learning Innovation Showcase uniquely presents the voices of learners and enables diverse groups – educators, entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers – to see a wide range of edtech tools applied in real learning environments. Our inspiring showcase is an opportunity to learn about innovative programming that personalizes learning for students of all ages through access to effective, cutting-edge edtech.
Twenty teachers and student teams have stepped forward to showcase emerging models of teaching and learning in Secondary Ed (6th – 12th grade), Higher Ed, and learning programs outside of school.
Note: At last year’s Across Boundaries conference, the “Classroom of the Future” drew hundreds of interested participants. This year, we have renamed the showcase the “Learning Innovations Showcase” in order to attract out of school and post secondary learning innovations. 2016 Classroom of the Future
The Smart Garden
Andover High School – Andover, MA
Lead Educator: Shelagh St. Laurent
In the spring of 2016, a group of Andover High School students began a project based on MIT’s Open Agriculture Initiative. Since then, the Food Computer team has conducted research on how to create a hydroponic system, then use technology to support the system. We are now in the process of building a Food Computer, a device that essentially allows you to grow crops anywhere in any environment. It is composed of a giant box fitted with custom sensors and actuators that measure and change a variety of variables, like pH levels, humidity, and temperature, and can change the amount of each element to optimally grow the desired plant. This allows for a system that can be used globally, and predominantly, in areas noted as “food deserts”. These places are known to be unable to grow crops on their own because of their inability to sustain plant life. Additionally, a current worldwide issue is food distribution along with the desirability for fresh produce, as food trucks are having a stacking impact on the environment nationwide and produce are continuing to add more chemicals and other inhumane methods of preservation. We are continuing to work on our “Smart Garden” and look forward to sharing more information soon.
Learn more: Augmented Reality Sandbox Video
The Anatomy of the Wired Classroom
Beaver Country Day School – Chestnut Hill, MA
Lead Educator: Yolanda Wilcox González
What does it mean to be a wired classroom? Now into our eighth year of practicing hardwired innovation in a 1:1 environment, we have learned a few things and are excited to share our insights. Our goal is to dissect wired classroom experiences and lay on display good daily rituals, collaborative projects, and final products. In doing so, we will be highlighting practical tools that allow teachers and students to become designers, tips for classroom teachers wherever they may land on the technological spectrum, and concrete examples of how to make technology work for you, for the students, and for the educational process.
In the Middle of Design Thinking
Blake Middle School – Medfield, MA
Lead Educator: Diane Horvath
In the Middle of Design Thinking showcases the quick impact design thinking has already made at Blake Middle School since it’s introduction to the faculty this fall. Teachers are combining the power of 1:1 iPad technologies and Design Thinking to reframe student learning across many content areas. Design Thinking has become the glue or guiding principle for teachers to engage students to collaborate in solving a design challenge. Where, the iPad has been invaluable in offering a variety of mobile tools for students. It provides ways for students to capture and record their process, to collaborate and share their ideas and gain feedback, or to develop a video-pitch of their solution. This combination has resulted in moving towards more student-centered, open-ended learning to explore and possibly solve real-world, authentic problems . This showcase will give you a look into a couple of examples of how design thinking is incorporated into the Makerspace, Ancient Greek History (7Gr Social Studies), and Genius Hour of 8th Grade Science and how you can bring the power of DT to your school too.
Math Music Videos
Chelmsford Public Schools – Chelmsford, MA
Lead Educator: Matthew Beyranevand
One way to increase students’ interest and engagement in mathematics is to create music videos with them. Using popular music as a foundation, students and teachers work collaboratively to create songs to teach concepts as well as inspire kids to love math. As featured on WCVB Chronicle and WBZ Eye on Education, creator Dr. Matthew Beyranevand and 7th grade students will share about the importance of girls taking STEM courses as well as the benefits of having a growth mindset.
Learn more: Math with Matthew
Exploring the Student Experience in Online, Competency-Based Higher Ed
College for America at Southern New Hampshire University – Manchester, NH
Lead Educator: Jake DeSchuiteneer
College for America (CfA) at Southern New Hampshire University is a regionally accredited, nonprofit university dedicated to developing low-cost, online, competency-based degrees specifically for its diverse population of working adults. The student experience at CfA is unique—students work at a flexible pace to complete workplace-relevant projects in an online format in order to demonstrate mastery of the competencies in their degree program. Rather than attending courses taught by faculty members, students engage independently with the projects and are well supported by Learning Coaches (who guide students through the learning process) and Reviewers (who review and provide detailed feedback on all project work). This Learning Innovation Showcase, which will be presented by a CfA student and two of CfA’s Curriculum and Assessment Developers (CADs), will demonstrate the online learning experience we have created for all students in our degree programs, including the student-facing dashboard, the project-based curriculum model and how we use technology to facilitate project submission, feedback and communication with Coaches and Reviewers.
Competency Based Professional Learning Opportunities
Colorado State University-Global Campus – Greenwood Village, CO
Lead Educator: James Meredith
By providing high school teachers with competency based professional online learning opportunities Colorado State University-Global Campus is able to support the local needs of Colorado teachers, students, schools, communities and local businesses. This specific professional learning opportunity is designed around concurrent or dual enrollment credentialing for teachers based on new accreditation requirements. This competency based professional online learning opportunity eliminates barriers to credential acquisition by providing self-paced competency with a fully online, asynchronous system that allows for access anytime and anywhere. Schoology was used as the Learning Management Platform to align more seamlessly with LMS platforms most often used in K12 schools. As a direct result of this teacher competency based online professional learning opportunity, high school students now have increased opportunities to be more competitive with their peers, especially students in rural schools, by providing them with expanded college and career pathway programs. This specific competency based professional learning opportunity has created more affordable, accessible and sustainable options for teachers and students within their local communities.
EcoMUVE: Using an Immersive Virtual World to Learn Ecosystem Concepts and Causal Reasoning in Middle School Science
Diamond Middle School – Lexington, MA
Lead Educator: Allison Kugler
For the past several years, my 7th grade life science class has been involved in a two-week inquiry-based ecosystem unit called EcoMUVE. EcoMUVE was developed by Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and uses immersive virtual environments to teach middle school students about ecosystems and causal patterns. EcoMUVE allows students to develop a deeper understanding of ecosystems and causal patterns with a curriculum that uses Multi-User Virtual Environments (MUVEs). MUVEs are 3-D virtual worlds that have a look and feel similar to videogames. They are accessed via computers and recreate authentic ecological settings within which students explore and collect information. Students work individually at their computers and collaborate in teams within a virtual world. The immersive interface allows students to learn science by exploring and solving problems in realistic environments. My students always have positive things to say about EcoMUVE. They enjoy the collaborative nature of the unit, and they love doing the work of real scientists!
The Mathematics Classroom of the Future
Duxbury High School – Duxbury, MA
Lead Educator: Stephanie Iacadoro
We will be showcasing the integration of Project Based Learning in a 1:1 Learning Environment in the Mathematics Curriculum. Projects will include technology, writing, and student choice and include the work of a wide range of courses including College Prep, Honors, and AP courses. In our curriculum, performance assessments that are supported through technology are infused into our curriculum vertically and thus sustainable.
VR – An Educational Game Changer
Hamilton Wenham Regional High School / Miles River Middle School – South Hamilton, MA
Lead Educator: Johanna Wilson
Have you ever wished you could take your students to places beyond the classroom or farther away than a school-day field trip would allow? Maybe to the top of Mt. Everest or perhaps, on an underwater adventure? Using virtual reality in the classroom allows teachers to make real connections that enhance and enrich the content. For students, virtual reality provides a learning experience previously unimaginable. Learn how one school district is using virtual reality in new and unique ways to engage students and break down the classroom walls.
Igniting the Maker Mind-Set
John F Kennedy School – Somerville, MA
Lead Educator: Lindsey Tosches
The Maker Mindset is alive and well at the John F. Kennedy School! By incorporating the maker-way-of-knowing into our standards based science curriculum, students have the opportunity to expand and apply their knowledge in unique, hands-on ways. Modeling problem solving using the engineering and design process provides the framework for students to test, evaluate, and redesign all aspects of their work. Some of our past projects have included 3D design in TinkerCad, 3D printing, and Stop Motion Animation, as well as other hands-on learning experiences. Our showcase will demonstrate that making does not have to be done separately from science curriculum; making can be a meaningful (and FUN) extension of learning that engages all students through a variety of technologies!
Gravity: The Interactive Gaming Rock Wall
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA
Lead Educator: Arlette Reyes
Gravity is a product designed by a 17-member team of MIT’s 2.009 Product Engineering Processes class. Teams were given one semester and a set budget to create a product, from ideation to pitch and prototype, with numerous design reviews and mentor feedback along the way. Gravity is an interactive experience that introduces gaming to rock climbing, and allows students to learn, improve, and compete in active and gratifying ways.
Learn More: Product Engineering Processes Course Website
Product Design at MIT: Strum
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Cambridge, MA
Lead Educator: Brandon Corts
With only three months and a limited budget, MIT mechanical engineering seniors produce astounding products ready for market as part of their capstone class. A product produced this year is Strum, a tool for transcribing music played on a guitar to tabular format. Come see how this product went from a vague idea to physical product.
Learn More: MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering Website
Using Innovative Multimedia Engineering Curriculum in Middle School STEM
Mohawk Trail Regional Middle School -Shelburne Falls, MA
Lead Educator: Lauren Binger
Seventh-graders in Lauren Binger’s STEM classes at Mohawk Trail Regional School (MA) used Through My Window (TMW), an NSF-funded engineering curriculum created by Smith College and Springfield Technical Community College. TMW is a multimedia learning environment designed using cutting-edge learning theory. The curriculum includes three components: a young adult novel called Talk to Me–available as an e-reader, audiobook, and paperback; interactive online learning modules, and offline enrichment activities. Engineering topics such as artificial intelligence and the design cycle are featured. Ms. Binger, several of her students, and TMW developers will share results and experiences.
Summit Personalized Learning: The Why and How to Personalize Learning for All Students
New England Basecamp – Providence, RI
Lead Educator: Wendy Espinoza Cotta
Learn about the Summit model of Personalized Learning. Did you know that there are 13 schools here in New England that were selected from a competitive, national application process to bravely transform teaching and learning using the Summit Personalized Learning model? Did you know that this model includes access to a free digital learning platform that includes 100’s of Common Core-aligned projects and lesson units developed BY teachers FOR teachers? Personalized learning empowers teachers to customize instruction and content to meet students’ individual needs and interests, while putting students in charge of their own learning. Come learn how to bring the Summit Personalized Learning Model to your school and gain access to FREE grade 6-12 curriculum and free training.
Newton North High School – Newton, MA
Lead Educator: Adam Peloquin
Greengineering is a design engineering course at Newton North High School in which students are challenged to think outside the box. The Greengineering curriculum offers students opportunities to develop solutions for today and tomorrow that will enable the human species to live in harmony with the planet. From soap to skateboards, students become environmental advocates who follow their passions to create innovative products that offer environmental solutions. With the help of the design process students work through complex projects that teach them about marketing, sales, chemistry, economics, biology, and mechanics.
Learn More: Greengineering Website
Mission to Mars
North Reading Middle School – North Reading, MA
Lead Educator: Kathleen Dasho
In this session participants will learn about how students in our after school robot club used STEM concepts to build and program a Mission to Mars simulation using LEGO EV3 robots. They demonstrated their enthusiasm and determination in hands-on problem solving completing the assorted challenges with the robots in activities that promote creative problem-solving, communication and teamwork skills. Students creatively adapted and applied programming and problem-solving skills to make the robots solve challenges related to space exploration, such as programming robots to gather rocks on Mars, rescue stranded astronauts, retrieve a Mars rover, launch a satellite and a communications station. Students worked in groups to solve these problems, and explored the necessary strategies to complete the challenges. The showcase will show the robots in action, as well as a video in the background showing the challenges as if you were on Mars watching this take place. Using laptops with the EV3 software, students programmed, tested robots and completed the challenges. Key goals were having robots autonomously carry out and complete each challenge successfully, as well as working collaboratively with a partner to complete the task.
Learn More: Mission to Mars Video
Spark your Teaching with Digital Tools
Northeastern University – Boston, MA
Lead Educator: Nina Araújo
Many factors can play a role in how students engage with various types of information, such as depth and breadth of new content, its organization, and visual design of materials as well as media elements. This is not a one-stop shop environment. It has become crucial for pre-service students in the education department at Northeastern University to access information via multiple entry points to learning. The use of engaging and innovative digital tools provide experiences that promote sustained student engagement, in and out of the classroom, in the cloud, or in their hands through mobile devices. The integration helps students solve problems from a variety of different angles using different technology. This showcase will illustrate to participants what teaching and learning look like within an innovative and integrated digital environment. The key goal of this showcase is to promote student engagement and sustain it over time as a model for future students in k-12 schools.
Reflective Learning Mindset: Developing Self-Directed Learners in STEM
St. Mark’s School -Southborough, MA
Lead Educator: Kimberley Berndt
For students to become life-long learners they need to develop the habits of mind requisite for being a reflective learner. This presentation will share the story of how students in a lab-based Biotechnology course experienced the power of personalized learning as they practiced habits and developed skills necessary to truly “own” their learning. A gradual release of responsibility and deliberate scaffolding enabled learners to develop self-efficacy in the lab, learn deeply about science, creatively communicate their learning, and follow their own curiosities.
Robots on the Run!
The Met High School – Providence, RI
Lead Educator: Dan Berman, Arthur Baraf
Rhode Island Computer Museum is partnering with the MET school in Providence to provide internship opportunities for their students. The hallmarks of a Met education include internships, individual learning plans, advisory, and a breakthrough college transition program. RICM works with the students to build a personalized project tracking (GANTT Chart) plan around the students’ interests. In one past project, students learned about electronics and basic circuits using the Arduino microcomputer, the Raspberry Pi, and software. These budding engineers learned about electronics through explanation of basic circuits and instructions given on how to build a simple circuit. Students learned about programmable electronics and how to make lights blink, motors run, create sounds, build robots, and more using the “Arduino” microcomputer and software. We provide information on the components used to make the robots for adventurous students who want to build their own robots at home.
Stormgears FRC – Devens, MA
Lead Educator: William Kazman
STEAM Splash was created by a high-school robotics team in 2014. We came together after being inspired by the 2014 FLL World Championships. It was a life-changing experience for us, but we realized that not everyone has this opportunity. There are many barriers to becoming involved with FIRST and enjoying STEAM, such as money and time commitment from adults. With STEAM Splash Jr. FLL In-a-Box, we greatly lower the barriers of getting children from ages 6-10 involved with team-based showcases that celebrate STEAM education and progress. STEAM Splash Jr. FLL In-a-Box reformats the Jr. FLL season into eight 60-minute activity sessions and is complemented by our STEAM Splash Showcase. The STEAM Splash Showcase is an online platform which contains our entire curriculum as a downloadable PDF. Along with this it allows the kids to display their work and interact with high-school mentors to continue to inspire them.Already we have reached 10,000 kids through over 10 local events and 2 events overseas. We want to spread our passion to the next generation of science and technology leaders using STEAM Splash.
Learn More: Stormgears Website
Personalized Learning in Math: Using Technology to Design Custom Math Curricula for Each Student
TechBoston Academy – Boston, MA
Lead Educator: Alia Verner
In our efforts to continue offering our community a world class education that prepares students for success in college, TechBoston Academy added an innovative personalized learning model called Teach to One: Math.
Teach to One: Math helps our teachers tailor instruction to the unique learning needs of each scholar at TBA. Each day students receive a customized schedule that indicates what mathematics skill they are ready to learn, the best way for them to learn it, and with which teacher and peers they will work with that day.
In Teach to One, students explore math with teachers, collaborating with other scholars on projects, and working with high quality computer software. By meeting each child where they are, we expect our scholars to deepen their understanding and discover the beauty and power of mathematics.
Creating Smart Phone Cases Using 3D Printer Technology
Whitman-Hanson Regional High School – Whitman, MA
Lead Educator: Julie Giglia
Students worked in teams of two to complete the design and development of the smartphone case project using 3D printer technology. Students learned and applied the steps in the design process. Students created a project plan that outlined the steps needed from inception to the final cell phone prototype design. It was my job to ensure collaboration with students on the design solution ensuring all steps in the design process are well thought out and completed. Students would have to research target customers’ needs to determine attributes cell phone users want complete 2D and 3D sketches of the prototype and use CAD software called Sketch up. They drew the right dimensional designs to ensure the design prototypes measurements were precise. Teams participated in the design of the cell phone case cover using the CAD software and 3D print final physical cell phone case prototype. This was a learning curve for my students. Often, we had to create many prototypes because the cell phone case ergonomically did not fit the physical cell phone. Students would get frustrated if the case did not fit with their first prototype, it was a learning curve for all involved. Overall, this project enabled my students to learn 3D printer technology.
Learn More: 3D Design Challenge Video
Many Stories, One Project: 1:1 Learning and the Multi-Genre Research Project
Wilson Middle School – Natick, MA
Lead Educator: Eric Fries
What are you passionate about? What would you study if you had the choice? Every spring, 8th graders in Natick Public Schools create a “Multi-Genre Research Project” encompassing multiple weeks of research and the creation of several small projects to create a cohesive presentation on a topic of their choice. This process, however, is one they work towards throughout the year through a 1:1 laptop initiative and a variety of project-based learning experiences in many of their classes. In this showcase, 8th grade students will present examples of projects in core content areas that display the sort of individualized learning that builds towards this research project. In addition, a 9th grade student will explain and present the process of choosing a topic they’re passionate about, researching it and creating and end-of-year Multi-Genre Research project on it. Exemplar work from these and other students will be displayed. These projects will show how a 1:1 blended learning environment can foster individualized learning and encourage the sort of inquiry and technical skills that lead to an end-of-Middle School capstone project.
Learn More: Wilson Middle School