MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2017 Activities by Category - Educational Technology

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Designing Games to Affect Social Change

Richard Eberhardt, Studio Manager (MIT Game Lab), Mack Cameron, Facilitator & Instructor, Sam Liberty, Facilitator & Instructor

Jan/14 Sat 01:00PM-04:00PM E15-3rd Floor - CMSW

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/13
Limited to 40 participants

Hosted by the MIT Game Lab

Facilitated by Mack Cameron of MegaGames United and Sam Liberty from the Engagement Lab at Emerson College:

Due to the current events, many gamers have been asking how they can be more involved in affecting positive change in our new political climate. You can volunteer for worthy causes, you can contact your representatives, and you can design a game.

Games are unique mediums for story-telling. We love them because they are immersive and because they are interactive. Those same qualities allow them to have potent qualities in delivering a social message.

We’ll present some games that have been successful in this regard, talk about common pitfalls serious game designers encounter, start the ball rolling on having you design your own game to make a statement and have a positive impact on your society.

Registration is required at

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Contact: Richard Eberhardt, 617 324-2173, REBERHAR@MIT.EDU

Exploratory Programming Workshop

Nick Montfort

Jan/17 Tue 01:00PM-05:00PM 4-257

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/16
Limited to 15 participants

This workshop is for beginners — people new to programming. This will be a true introduction to computer programming and how it can be used for inquiry and creativity.

The workshop is based on Montfort’s book Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities. The workshop will cover the initial, core concepts of the book.

Nick will lead participants in exploring computer programs through modification and as they start learning the fundamentals of programming, covering:

•  Writing programs is not intimidating; materially, it’s just editing a text file.

•  The difference between valid code (a program that runs) and code that does what you intend, along with how error messages are actually helpful to programmers.

•  The true fundamentals of programming – looping and iteration, bundling code together in functions, and using data of different types.

•  How to undertake small-scale projects and see that computer programming is not an abstract mathematical exercise, but part of our culture.

Although we will be working with JavaScript and Python, the fundamentals you will learn in this workshop will not be specific to a particular programming language.

We will be approaching programming as a cultural activity that is accessible to everyone.

Sponsor(s): Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Contact: Nick Montfort,

Festival of Learning

Molly Ruggles, Senior Educational Technology Consultant, Sheryl Barnes, Manager of Residential Learning, Anindya Roy, Learning Engineer

Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: none


...for a two day feast of learning: national thought-leaders, MIT innovators, student hackers, food, fun, and more. Experience the catalyzing power behind initiatives which transform the way we look at education and revolutionize how we teach and learn.

Festival is FREE, but Registration is required at all events.

Learn more and register.

Sponsor(s): Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE), Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education
Contact: Molly Ruggles, NE49-2081C, 617-324-9185,

Chancellor Barnhart; KEYNOTE Satya Nitta

Feb/01 Wed 10:00AM-11:15AM 10-250

Introductory remarks, Chancellor Barnhart

Keynote address: Satya Nitta of IBM Watson Education explores the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and cognitive computing.

Sheryl Barnes - Manager of Residential Learning


Feb/01 Wed 12:30PM-02:30PM Lobby 13

Learning Expo, featuring the broader MIT community, including departments, initiatives, and other groups involved in innovations in teaching and learning. Register for buffet luncheon:

Interested in participating as an exhibitor? contact

Molly Ruggles - Senior Educational Technology Consultant

KEYNOTE Andrew Sutherland

Feb/01 Wed 02:30PM-03:30PM 10-250

Andrew Sutherland of former MIT student now successful entrepreneur of a popular online learning tool. 

Anindya Roy - Learning Engineer


Feb/01 Wed 03:30PM-11:00PM TBA
Feb/02 Thu 09:00AM-02:00PM TBA

Student hackathon. Registration required. Visit for more information and to register.

Feb 1

3:30 (Bush Room, 10-105) Hackathon Kickoff


12:00-1:00 (10-250) Hackathon presentations to panel of judges.

1:00-2:00 (TBA) Community luncheon.

2:00 (10-250) Hackathon winners announced. Closing remarks.

Anindya Roy - Learning Engineer

Introduction to

Heather Anne Harrison, Knowledge Management Team

Jan/31 Tue 01:00PM-02:00PM 4-159

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/30
Limited to 35 participants

Learn how to get up and running with your own collaboration space on the web. All MIT community community groups, projects, and organizations are eligible for these free web spaces that can be restricted to your group or opened up for the world to see. This introduction to will cover requesting spaces; creating/editing pages; formatting content, using macros to structure your site; sharing attachments; and permissions control including touchstone collaboration accounts and moira groups. 

Sponsor(s): Information Systems & Technology
Contact: Heather Harrison, W91-219B, 617 253-8969, AURORA@MIT.EDU

iOS Development with Swift

Nina Kominiak, Apple Consulting Engineer

Jan/30 Mon 01:00PM-03:00PM 2-105

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/15
Limited to 40 participants
Prereq: Basic programming knowledge

Join us to learn about Apple’s new Objective-C based programming language with one of Apple's consulting engineers, Nina Kominiak. Fast, modern, safe and interactive — Swift has been proven to be more efficient at complex object sorts and more reliable for RC4 encryptions. In this seminar, we will be going over the basics of Swift and sharing resources that can help you jumpstart developing your next iOS application.

Reserve your spot at

Sponsor(s): Information Systems & Technology
Contact: Amber Bennoui, W92-254G, 617 324-6573, BENNOUI@MIT.EDU

LabArchives: Electronic Lab Notebook

Lisa Robinson, Manager, IS&T Release Engineering

Jan/17 Tue 10:00AM-11:00AM 14N-132 DIRC

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/16
Limited to 35 participants

Learn about LabArchives, a cloud-based electronic lab notebook (ELN). 

- Share information within the laboratory and beyond.

- Store data securely on the LabArchives servers.  Multiple redundancy ensures 24x7 availability.

- Create standard ELN formats and templates for your lab or research group.

- Available at no cost to MIT departments, labs and centers


Please register here

Sponsor(s): Information Systems & Technology, Libraries
Contact: Courtney Crummett, 14S-134, 617 324-8290, CRUMMETT@MIT.EDU

Mapping with Drones: UAS for Data Collection and Research

Daniel Sheehan, Senior GIS Specialist, Mike Foster, GIS/Data Visualization Specialist

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: None

This is a two-session workshop that will introduce the requirements and protocols in utilizing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS… aka Drones) for research and projects to collect data and create detailed models and maps. 

Day 1: Intro to Drone Flight

We will cover the rules and regulations of UAS flight, go over requirements and protocols for flight planning and piloting, introduce flight maps, planning, and the associated language, discuss the data you can collect, and talk about what you need to do to get off the ground.

Day 2: Mapping and Postprocessing

This session will discuss data collection and introduce methods for postprocessing. Attendees will be introduced to processing software like ArcGIS Drone2Map and Agisoft Photoscan. Students will get a chance to process some collected data using Photoscan, which mosaics images to create orthophotos, and, using photogrammetric methods, create point clouds that can be turned into 3D elevation models.

Register here:

Location: Room 2-105

Sponsor(s): Urban Studies and Planning, Libraries, Geographic Information Systems Lab
Contact: Michael Foster, 9-522, 617 324-8234, MJFOSTER@MIT.EDU

Jan/19 Thu 09:00AM-12:00PM 2-105
Jan/20 Fri 09:00AM-12:00PM 2-105

Joe Wright - Specialist, Daniel Sheehan - Senior GIS Specialist, Mike Foster - GIS/Data Visualization Specialist

Printing with Light: A classroom science project

Nick Fang, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Fee: $50.00 for consumables

This activity demonstrates the basic challenges and opportunities of nanoscale engineering and manufacturing as an outreach effort to high school science teachers and students using digital projector as a fabrication platform.

A regular video projector provides enough UV light to initiate a photochemical reaction by cleaving a molecule to form free radicals when white light is emitted. The free radicals will polymerize a monomer through an addition polymerization reaction. It will polymerize the solution, becoming solid, only where the white light is projected. It will remain an unreacted liquid elsewhere.

Successive layers are made by lowering the polymerized shape into a beaker of the solution. A thin layer of fresh solution flows over the top and light is again projected to solidify portions of the fresh layer. This is repeated, creating a 3 dimensional object layer by layer.

In the past, the proposed activity has led to development of a 3D printing educational module that engaged students and teachers from more than 10 high schools, showcased at the Illinois State Capitol Educational Fair and the St Louis Science Center. Several student projects from the 2.710 and 2.719 courses at MIT are emerging from this objective, and we expect the students and teachers participating in this proposed IAP activities will develop more projects to accessible educational kits.

Contact: Xuanlai Fang, 3-435B, 617 253-2247, NICFANG@MIT.EDU

Hands-on 3D Printing using projectors

Jan/23 Mon 09:00AM-11:30AM 3-434
Jan/24 Tue 09:00AM-11:30AM 3-434
Jan/25 Wed 09:00AM-11:30AM 3-434
Jan/26 Thu 09:00AM-11:30AM 3-434

This activities contains 4 class periods. The first period is for the PowerPoint presentation, and the rest are for designing and ¿printing¿ the three-dimensional objects. 

Nick Fang - Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

What playfulness can change

Scot Osterweil, Creative director

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

This class is about exploring playfulness and its business applications. 

Playfulness is a very human value proposition that empowers people doing all kind of things. In this class, I'm offering to discover the Playful and all its possibilities: From the empowerment of your employees, your processes or your learning, the Playful design methodology can be a real leverage of empowerment.  

The class is open for all and divided in 3 workshops that are independent from each other but you are encouraged to follow all of them to have a better overview! 

Sponsor(s): Game Lab, Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Contact: Laure Dousset, +33681756009, LDOUSSET@MIT.EDU

Serious games co-design

Jan/12 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM E15 - 315

Serious games are games that have another purpose than just pure entertainment. In this class, we will test a serious game about Blockchain, and try to assess it and find guidelines for when you're developing that kind of game. After that, I will share tips with you to design your serious game! Don't hesitate to come with a topic in mind.

Laure Dousset, Scot Osterweil - Creative director

Playfulness and your project

Jan/19 Thu 02:00PM-04:00PM E15 - 315

When you're designing something, it's important to take the user experience into account. What I'm offering you in this class is to come with a project you have in mind (a technology, a product, a service) and to empower the experience with the playful methodology. You will see how you can use the playful value proposition, and if you don't have an idea in mind, I have several interesting ones for you. 

Laure Dousset, Scot Osterweil - Creative director

Playfulness and your team

Jan/26 Thu 10:00AM-12:00PM E15 - 315

We'll see how to use playfulness in a team. How can you empower them using playful levers? Together, we'll practice by taking examples and try to use the playful design methodology to do this. We'll choose together practical use cases you can encounter in your daily routines at work and try to make a change in order to make them more playful!

Scot Osterweil - Creative director, Laure Dousset

You Can't Spell API without IAP - An Exploration of MIT's Many APIs

Amber Bennoui, Systems Analyst, Steve Billington, DevOps Engineer

Jan/25 Wed 01:00PM-02:30PM 2-105

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/01
Limited to 45 participants

APIs are everywhere these days, powering your favorite websites and mobile applications. APIs are great for integrating and updating data in a more streamlined way and can be made relatively easily with the right resources.  While using an API may seem like a daunting task, it can be as simple as visiting a website.  

In this seminar, we'll learn about what APIs are available, both within the MIT community, and in the larger Internet.  Techniques for integrating these APIs into your websites or other projects will be discussed, and some sample code will be provided.  If time permits, we'll also talk a bit about how you would go about writing your own API to make your data or service available to the larger MIT community.

Reserve your spot at

Sponsor(s): Information Systems & Technology
Contact: Amber Bennoui, W92-254G, 617 324-6573, BENNOUI@MIT.EDU