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A Constructive Assembly System with Kinetic Memory (Topobo)
Hayes Raffle, Amanda Parkes
This hands-on session, we will briefly discuss the development of Topobo, a 3D constructive assembly system with kinetic memory, the ability to record and playback physical motion, and we will overview our work being done in schools and science museums. Attendees will get to play with Topobo and begin to explore basic physics principles of animal locomotion. By snapping together a combination of Passive (static) and Active (motorized) components, participants can quickly assemble dynamic biomorphic forms like animals and skeletons with Topobo, animate those forms by pushing, pulling, and twisting them, and observe the system repeatedly play back those motions. The same way people can learn about static structures playing with building blocks, they can learn about dynamic structures playing with Topobo. More...
Achieving Wider Use of Innovations in Educational Technology : A Study of Five iCampus Projects
Steve Ehrmann, Steve Gilbert
What policies and practices can lead to widespread adoption of innovative educational uses of technology? We studied five outstanding iCampus projects, interviewing over 150 people and studying project documents, in order to analyze the factors that encourage, and discourage, institutionalization and widespread adoption of such innovations. This session will summarize our key findings and recommendations.
Archiving OpenCourseWare (OCW) Materials to DSpace, the MIT Libraries' Digital Archive System (DSpace)
Ann Wolpert, Mackenzie Smith, William Reilly
The mission of the Libraries to collect, make available, and preserve the content that forms the scholarly record is now, in the digital era, being widened to include teaching and learning materials. One of the premiere expressions of digitized teaching and learning materials is being created right here at MIT, with the publication of all course materials via MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW). Two related goals have been explored and realized by this iCampus project: 1) establishment of professionally managed curation of teaching and learning materials (courseware), by the Libraries, over archival timeframes, and 2) development of standards-based interoperable systems to enable the wider discovery and re-use of this content. This presentation describes these two major production systems here on campus: MIT OCW and the MIT Libraries' digital archive DSpace (an open source software platform in use worldwide, and developed at MIT). The newly established interoperation capabilities will be demonstrated, and we will discuss future applications of the technologies and approaches to other teaching and learning systems. More...
Classroom Learning Partner: Increasing Instructor- Student Interaction and Student Learning in Large Classes
Kimberle Koile, Howard Shrobe
In this talk and demonstration, attendees will play the role of students in a classroom equipped with Tablet PCs and software called Classroom Learning Partner (CLP). They will submit anonymous digital ink responses to questions; CLP will interpret and aggregate the responses, and present the instructor with a histogram of the aggregation results. Experimental results from classroom studies aimed at investigating the use of CLP's wireless presentation and immediate feedback pedagogy will be discussed. More...
Consortium for Writing Instruction (iMOAT)
Les Perelman, Chris Felknor, Marlene Miner, Irvin Peckham, Deborah Barrett
This session will explore the different ways iMOAT is being used and will be used in the near future. The third part of the session will discuss the current creation of a non-profit organization to ensure that iMOAT continues to be controlled by writing teachers for use by writing teachers. The final part of the session will explore iMOAT's immense potential as source of research data. Already thousands of essays from students who have given informed consent are stored within the system. More...
Cross-Media Annotation System (XMAS)
Pete Donaldson, Greg Dancer, Belinda Yung
In this session Prof. Donaldson will give a brief account of how XMAS grew out of his work building cross media archives for the study of Shakespeare and using Shakespeare films in class. XMAS allows students to combine text image and film materials for use in multimedia essays, presentations and on-line discussions. Using DVDs as a local video source, XMAS is especially helpful in making video materials available for analysis, annotation and remote sharing of insights in any course using film. Examples of student work will be discussed and there will be an opportunity for audience "hands-on" participation. More...
Developing Public Opinion Using Information Technologies (POSIT)
Eric Klopfer, John Durant, Eric Rosenbaum, Britton Boughner
POSIT is a networked augmented reality role-playing game for Windows Mobile devices. The goal of the game is to engage players in science controversies. Players move through physical spaces, gathering evidence from virtual characters and items in addition to their real surroundings. They develop a position on a controversial issue and compete for high scores on their arguments as they debate. In our first (fictional) scenario, players debate whether MIT should build a BSL-4 biodefense research facility in the middle of campus. Session attendees will be invited to try out a mini-demo of the game. More...
International Genetically Engineered Machine Competitions (iGEM)
Randy Rettberg
iGEM brings the power of design competitions to undergraduate education in a world-wide event. This summer, 400 undergraduate students at 37 schools from India, Japan, Mexico, Columbia, the UK, Europe, and the US designed and built simple biological systems from standard, interchangeable parts. One example project from the Edinburgh team was a biological Arsenic detector that could test wells in the poorest parts of the world for pennies per test. The undergraduate students learned engineering, biology, and responsibility in a world-wide scientific competition. See designs for pattern generation, banana and wintergreen scented bacteria, and many more. More...
MIT Online Assessment Tool (iMOAT)
Les Perelman, Roberta Crumrine, Chris Felknor, Louse Goldish, Marlene Miner, Irvin Peckham, Elisabeth Coughlin, Deborah Barrett, Andreas Karatsolis
This session will begin with a short overview of the current MIT Online Evaluation System (iMOAT) followed by a short history of the development of the prototype Online Essay Evaluation system and the subsequent development of the cooperative development of iMOAT by a group of writing program administrators representing a diverse group of universities. The session will conclude with the participants identifying some of the important lessons learned in the developing both the system and the community of users. More...
Natural Interaction: Gesture and Sketch Recognition Interfaces
Randy Davis
Drawings, sketches and diagrams are essential tools of engineering education and practice, providing a powerful way to envision, explain, and reason. Yet historically diagrams have been static, passive pictures, comprehensible only to human observers. Our work aims to create a whole new "intelligent" design environment, where people can sketch, gesture and talk about their design ideas using a computer, but in a way that feels completely natural. In work to date, we have developed novel sketch interpretation software that can understand free-hand sketches drawn on tablet PCs, active whiteboards, and PDAs, then animate them. The result is a sort of "magic paper" an interactive drawing surface that feels like paper but is considerably smarter. We will demonstrate its use in a variety of domains. More...
Online Learning through Technologically Enhanced Education in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science(XTutor)
Tomas Lozano-Perez, Chris Terman
Online tutor systems are experiments in developing the textbooks of the future; they provide a combination of multimedia lecture material and support for interactive problem solving. We have developed several versions of these systems to support the delivery of subjects at MIT as well as a number of other universities. These systems have been used successfully by thousands of students. XTutor is the most recent of our online tutor systems. Course content is embodied as a collection of XML documents called XDocs. These are written using tags that define common problem formats. The tag language allows users to define new tags and namespaces and provides handlers that determine processing rules for generating XHTML and for checking user submissions. We will demonstrate Xtutor as well as its predecessors. More...
Remote Online Laboratories (iLab)
Jesus del Alamo, Jud Harward, Steve Lerman
The MIT iLab Project has developed a software toolkit and middleware to support internet accessible laboratories ("iLabs") and promote their sharing between schools and universities. The project focuses on fast lab development, scalable access for students, efficient management for lab providers while preserving the autonomy of the faculty actually teaching the students. The ultimate goal is to establish an economy of shareable labs to enhance science and engineering education. More...
RoboCup: The Robotic Futbol Club of Cambridge
Kristina Haller, Jie Tang
The overarching goal of RoboCup is to build a team of soccer playing robots that will be able to beat the Champion WorldCup team by the year 2050. This goal pushes for the development of robust robotic systems with highly developed artificial intelligence. After every competiton teams must release information about their systems, allowing other teams to learn from the best, forcing creativity and rapid development of technology. The MIT Competitive Robotics and the Harvard College Engineering Society are collaborating and combining resources to make this happen. During this process, students get hands on experience outside of the classroom. This talk will discuss our goals, successes to date, and include several demonstrations. More...
Spoken Lecture Processing: Advances and Challenges
James Glass
Recorded lecture videos can be tedious to browse, making it difficult to effectively utilize the information they contain without expensive and time-consuming pre-processing. Researchers at MIT are developing speech and language rocessing methods that will enable content-based search and summarization, enabling educators and students around the world to more effectively create and disseminate recorded lecture material. This talk describes recent research developments in this area and includes demonstrations of publicly available web-based prototypes. More...
Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL)
John Belcher, Peter Dourmashkin
TEAL is an active learning environment for large enrollment freshman physics courses (more than 500 students). Classes are taught in two specially designed classrooms in a highly collaborative, hands-on environment, with extensive use of desktop experiments and networked laptops. In this workshop we will try to give you a feel for a TEAL class, including group experiments using two of the TEAL desktop experiments (a microwave transmitter and receiver experiment and an angular momentum experiment). More...
The Huggable: A Therapeutic Robotic Companion for Relational, Affective Touch
Dan Stiehl
The Huggable is a new type of robotic companion influenced by research in companion animal therapy and is being designed for healthcare, education, and social communication applications. It features a series of novel technologies such as a full body sensitive skin, an inertial measurement unit, video camera, microphones, and an embedded PC with 802.11g wireless networking. This talk will describe the design of the Huggable and outline the ways in which this robot will be tested in real healthcare facilities in the coming months. More...
Visualizing Cultures: Understanding the World Through Visuals of All Kinds
Shigeru Miyagawa
There is a fundamental shift occurring in the way people learn, from strictly text based to being informed as much through visuals. MIT's Visualizing Cultures ( has partnered with the Smithsonian, the Boston MFA, and others to make available on OpenCourseWare highly valuable images, both still and video. John Dower, a Pulitzer Award winning historian, brings these images to life through his exposition, and the VCID application makes it possible for the learners to carry out federated searches of images across collections at a variety of museums. More...
Web-based Wireless Sensors for Education (iDAT)
Ian Hunter, Serg Lafontaine, Andrew Taberner, Brian Hemond, Barbara Hughey
iDAT is an educational initiative for use in both University science and engineering courses as well as Middle and High School science courses. We are developing a large set of high quality, yet low cost, physical variable sensors and generators that are wireless and contain their own 32 bit micro-controller and rechargeable battery for use in a wide range of educational settings including universities, high schools, science museums as well as for personal (“home education”) use. Over 100 wireless sensors and generators are being developed to cover all of the major areas of physical sciences, engineering, psychology and biology. The main purpose of the wireless sensors and generators is to make it very simple for students to measure, analyze and then possibly control things of interest. More...
Topobo Moose

Topobo is a 3D constructive assembly system with kinetic memory, the ability to record and playback physical motion. By snapping together a combination of Passive (static) and Active (motorized) components, people can quickly assemble dynamic biomorphic forms like animals and skeletons with Topobo, animate those forms by pushing, pulling, and twisting them, and observe the system repeatedly play back those motions.

Classroom Learning Partner

The Classroom Learning Partner (CLP) is being built to support in-class exercises in a large class, while also enabling instructors to use the wide variety of exercises possible in small classes.

iGEM Freezer

Can simple biological systems be built from standard, interchangeable parts and operated in living cells? Or, is biology simply too complicated to be engineered in this way? The iGEM Project believes in the possibility of engineered biological systems, with the only way to test such an engineering hypothesis being to try it out.

TEAL Deskop Experiment

Professor of Physics, John Belcher demostrates a Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) desktop experiment. Students gather in groups of nine, with twelve groups in a common ares for five hours per week.

Natural Interactions

Drawings, sketches, and diagrams of many sorts are ubiquitous in engineering education and practice, providing a powerful way to envision, explain, and reason. Yet historically diagrams have been static, passive pictures, comprehensible only to human observers. We aim to change that: we want to create a kind of "magic paper " that understands what is being drawn.

MIT flagpole with strain gauge

Under the direction of Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Kevin Amaratunga, the MIT flagpole in Killian court is instrumented with a strain gauge so that it can be monitored over the Web from anywhere in the world, by means of the iCampus iLabs architecture (2001).

Visualizing Cultures: Black Ships & Samurai

Through Visualizing Cultures, an OpenCourseWare project about visualizing events and people in history, we have dealt with tens of thousands of culturally and historically significant images. The goal is to teach students to create compelling visual narratives.


The Huggable combines research currently being done in the Robotic Life Group at the MIT Media Lab on sensate skins and novel actuators into a portable robotic platform with the goal of relational, affective touch.

iDAT Sensor

The iDAT projects will develop a large set of high quality. yet low cost, miniature sensors and actuators that are wireless and contain their own rechargeable energy source (battery/super capacitor) for use in a wide range of educational settings including universities, high schools, science museums as well as for personal (home education) use.


Developed by Intelligent Engineering Systems Laboratory, InkBoard is a network-sharing Tablet PC sketching application. It enables design teams to interact with each other using real-time ink strokes, and it supports audio/video conferencing by using ConferenceXP technology.


iQuarium is a colorful, interactive aquarium display screen that features swimming fish and a visible flow field in their wake.