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Transformative Learning

HGSE’s new Education Innovation Studio is a space to design and experiment with novel technologies and creative approaches to teaching, learning, and research.

Education Innovation StudioIn a light-filled space in Gutman 320, a new hub of creativity and ingenuity is launching this fall, offering unprecedented opportunities for collaboration, tool-building, and inspired learning.

The Education Innovation Studio is a hands-on space for designing and tinkering, giving HGSE students and faculty the chance to invent and experiment with new kinds of educational experiences and technologies, and to explore the maker-based approaches now becoming common across all levels of education. The studio, with an airy view of Appian Way, will host several open houses for the HGSE community this fall and winter; it will be fully open and operational in the spring.

Among the studio’s offerings: Impressive new equipment for laser cutting, 3D printing, soldering, and sewing, in addition to basic craft supplies, hand tools, and workstations for electronic circuit-building. It also has full classroom AV capabilities, with two large monitors, a projector and projection screen, and whiteboard walls. It can be used for course instruction, coordinated lab activities, individual lab work, and research — offering a different lens on how students learn, through project-based assignments that are both low-tech and high-tech, drawing on problem solving and creative thinking.

“Having access to new tools and new materials expands one's palette for creative expression,” says Associate Professor Karen Brennan. “The Education Innovation Studio will make it possible for our students at HGSE to experience different ways of expressing ideas and exploring questions — and, in turn, different ways of thinking about teaching and learning.”

The studio “is a game changer for HGSE,” says Assistant Professor Bertrand Schneider. “It provides transformative learning experiences to students, enriches the repertoire of hands-on activities that teachers at the Ed School can use in their courses, and provides unique research opportunities for faculty to study the ‘making’ revolution in education.”

While the concept of a maker space is relatively new, especially at graduate schools of education, “people have been making things forever,” says Marc Raila, the studio’s administrator. “We hope this space will allow students and faculty the time and the freedom to spread out and rediscover the inherent maker/tinkerer/creator that’s inside of all of us.”

HGSE faculty can learn more at a workshop and open house on November 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — a chance to explore the offerings, do some tinkering, and think about how the space could support or expand their teaching and research. Potential uses for the space are limited only by imagination; the projects that the studio supports can change and expand, as research needs evolve. HGSE faculty and students will use the studio to explore as-yet-undiscovered pathways to learning and inspiration, and the space is flexible enough to respond to emerging needs, many of which will be uncovered as faculty engage with the space and consider its potential contributions to their work.

“As a learner, working in a digital fabrication lab was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I'm thrilled that students will soon be given the same chance,” says Schneider, adding that the space will open up new avenues for teachers and researchers, too. “As a teacher, I see the Education Innovation Studio as an exciting opportunity to equip students with theoretical and practical skills about making. As a researcher, it will generate much-needed knowledge on how to best foster an innovative, persistent, and curious mindset in students of all ages.”

In addition to the upcoming faculty workshop, the studio will host additional workshops this winter, seeking to reach out to other HGSE researchers, students, and staff to better understand their needs and how the studio could serve them, both in terms of maker-oriented programming and other uses of technology to improve learning.

The space will be fully open and ready for all comers in the spring semester. The formal dedication of the new studio will occur later in the spring, with details of a ribbon-cutting ceremony to be announced.

Inside the Education Innovation Studio: