The Transformative Learning Technologies Laboratory is a multi-disciplinary group designing and researching new technologies for education.
We understand new technologies not only as a way to optimize the existing educational system, but as a transformative force that can generate radically new ways of knowing and learning.
What does the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab do?
Our mission is to improve the teaching of science, technology engineering, and math (STEM) in schools. Everything we develop -- from low-cost robotics kits to full-blown digital fabrication labs -- is in support of project-based, student-centered learning in STEM. Unlike traditional science and math education, which places great emphasis on rote memorization of facts and formulas, our focus is on invention, innovation, and collaborative problem-solving. Students in our digital fabrication labs learn science by creating inventions to solve real-world problems, and by designing scientific experiments to examine their own theories about nature.
Why does this work matter?
Innovation and collaborative problem-solving are core skills for the 21st century. Traditional STEM education has not been optimal for teaching those skills. Putting students in small groups to build things and solve problems brings the classroom culture into line with real-world science and engineering.
Who is Paulo Blikstein?
Lab director Paulo Blikstein is an assistant professor in the Stanford University School of Education and (by courtesy) in the Computer Science Department. He is also the founder and director of the Lemann Center for Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Brazil, a 10-year effort by the School of Education and the Lemann Foundation to foster innovation in public schools in Brazil. In July 2011, Blikstein was the recipient of the prestigious National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Award, in recognition of his work to innovate STEM education. Blikstein is co-inventor of the GoGo Board , the first open-source educational robotics platform.
For the past decade, beginning as a Masters' student and then visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab, Blikstein has worked to bring new technologies and learning approaches to low-income schools in developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Senegal and Costa Rica. Blikstein completed his PhD. at the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling at Northwestern University (Chicago). He also holds degrees in metallurgical engineering and digital systems engineering from the University of São Paulo, Brazil.