Thirty years ago, Media Lab founding faculty member Seymour Papert laid the foundation for a new theory of learning through construction. He created digital tools for children to be designers and creators, rather than just consumers of content. He understood that learning happens best when people are actively constructing knowledge through experimentation and the design of sharable objects. To this date, we continue to organize our graduate program at the Media Lab around similar principles of creative learning.
In order to share this particular approach to learning with the world, the Media Lab created the ML Learning Initiative, working with an incredible group of collaborators, including New Profit, the Joyce Foundation, Siegel Family Endowment, and the LEGO Foundation.
Today, the ML Learning Initiative is thrilled to announce our inaugural cohort of Media Lab Learning Innovation fellows for the 2016–2017 academic year.
This fellowship supports a community of graduate student researchers who are developing new technologies to cultivate creative learning in a variety of contexts — from early learning in public libraries to workforce development for adults. Our fellows represent seven different research groups from across the Media Lab, each bringing their own unique perspective and expertise.
The 2016–2017 Learning Innovation Fellows
Akito van Troyer
Research Group: Opera of the Future
Akito designs and implements creative learning environments where all subjects are learned through music. In particular, he builds tools that encourage learners to develop their mathematical, scientific, and engineering skills through music listening, composition, and performance. Akito designs meta-musical instruments that lead music learners to create their own musical instruments. These instruments are capable of turning our environments into always-renewed, always-magical musical instruments and materials for composition. They also assist the listening experience by enabling users to touch electronic music with their own hands.
I’m currently teaching a class at Colorado College, called ‘Introduction to Music Technology.’ I am the instructor but at the same time I’m learning a great deal from this experience via class preparation and through my interaction with students.