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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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C Varenhorst

xTalks spring schedule

February 13, 2014

We're excited to share our spring schedule of xTalks. We have an exciting roster of events. Some sessions explore education’s impact in broader social contexts; some focus on pedagogy.

All events are free, and refreshments will be served. We hope you will join us. For more information, please visit and

J. R. Hildebrand – Energizing STEM Education Through the High Speed World of Motorsports
Monday, February 24 @ 12:00-1:00 pm, Bush Room (10-105)
In this session we’re taking a slight departure from our traditional approach by featuring a talented race-car driver whom some of you might know. J. R. Hildebrand will talk about his career and about STEM opportunities in racing technology. This session is our first ‘xTalks – Off the Cuff‘ event and will be more informal. Hildebrand will talk about auto racing and its implications for engineering education and how to energize STEM education through high speed motor-sports.

Sanjoy Mahajan – Teaching Modes of Reasoning: Redesigning “The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering” Course Around Transferable Ways of Thinking
Thursday, February 27, 2014 @ 1:30-2:30 pm, Koch Institute Auditorium, 76-156
In former lives, Sanjy Mahajan was a faculty member in the Physics Department at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Associate Director of the Teaching and Learning Laboratory at MIT. He helped found the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Cape Town, where he was the first Curriculum Director and taught the first courses in physics and computer science. This event is hosted by the HHMI Education Group.

David Mindell – Technology and Education in the Age of Film
Wednesday, March 5 @ 3:00-4:00 pm, Bush Room (10-105) PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE
This talk traces the history of educational technologies in the age of film, from roughly 1920-1990. It focuses on what became known as the “audiovisual” industry: slides, filmstrips, and sixteen millimeter sound motion pictures. These machines and their materials were introduced into classrooms in the 1920s and draw on larger trends in technology and industry. Educational technologies blossomed during World  Who War II and took on new forms during the Cold War.  Though the industry disappeared in the 1990s, it provided a foundation for today’s digital technologies and offers instructive perspective on today’s debates. This talk traces a history of the teacher-student-hardware-software nexus that came to characterize instructional settings (in both schools and industry) from the twentieth century to today.

Tom Kochan – A Conversation with the Next Generation: A New Social Compact
Tuesday, March 18 @ 2:00-3:00 pm, Bush Room (10-105)
What can the next generation of Americans do to reverse the declining standards of living they are inheriting from the baby boomers who benefited from the Golden Era of the American economy following WW II?  This talk will lay out the challenges and opportunities facing young Americans, with a particular emphasis on education and recent innovations the enable widespread lifelong learning. From pre-school to life-long-learning programs, all institutions of learning need to be active contributors to a new social contact.  This includes providing affordable early childhood outreach educational opportunities, working collaboratively to reform elementary and secondary schools, building alliances with employers and labor groups to enhance professional development and lifelong learning, and transforming professional schools to ensure the next generation of leaders has the skills to build and sustain a social compact for the future. We will also discuss what is needed from leaders of other institutions—business, government, and labor—to support efforts to build and sustain a new social compact.



Office of Educational Innovation and Technology
Building NE48-308, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Phone: (617) 252-1981; Fax: (617) 452-4044