The Empirical Educator Project (EEP) is launching the year-long EDwhy initiative to leverage Carnegie Mellon’s massive contribution of tools to democratize the science of learning, as well as other contributions from EEP members. Higher education needs to learn how to improve faster and at scale in order to meet the needs of 21st-Century students and the 21st-Century economy. To do this, it needs not only to develop innovations on the scale of Carnegie Mellon’s but to quickly metabolize them into educational practice across the sector. EDwhy is an effort to accelerate the pace of innovation in education through collaboration
Contributions will be broken down into “seeds” that provide educational insight while also inviting further exploration. By organizing the tools, methods, suggested questions, and expert support into these seeds, the EDwhy initiative will enable the EEP network participants to self-organize into empirical education “hackathons,” where they try to answer a question that will help them to improve the way that they support their students. During the course of the year, hackathon groups will interact with each other and with experts, sharing what they are learning and asking each other for help as they go.
“We are trying to build a culture in which educators are always challenging their own assumptions about how they educate,” said Empirical Educator Project director Michael Feldstein. “The ‘ED’ in ‘EDwhy’ stands for ‘Educational Design,’ as in ‘Why is that aspect of your educational design the way that it is?’ The breadth and depth of Carnegie Mellon’s contribution represents a huge opportunity for us turn that academic capacity for critical inquiry toward its core mission, if only we can learn how to take advantage of it. It is also a wake-up call. Because although there are few institutions that can make contributions at the scale the Carnegie Mellon can, there are many that have their own seeds to contribute which have significant educational value. Every one of the institutions participating in EEP is on board because they know they have something to offer and something to learn. EEP itself is a seed out of which we intend to grow a movement.”
The Simon Initiative’s Executive Director, Norman Bier, is very excited about the EEP partnership. “From our earliest conversations, we really viewed the toolkit as a foundation for building a larger community that was focused on the continuous, iterative improvement of teaching and learning. We know that this is not a problem that CMU is going to solve by itself — we need a larger community of educators and learners, with interventions and experiments focused upon specific contexts,” said Bier.
He continued, “Our collaboration with EEP provides an intersegmental testbed that can really hope to gain traction in better understanding the complexities of how human beings learn. And our close relationship with the EEP cohort will insure that we can learn from these early projects and scale up to effectively support a larger community of learners, educators and researchers.”
Matthew Rascoff, Associate Vice Provost for Digital Education & Innovation at Duke University, said: “I’m excited by the potential of CMU’s
contributions of learning science infrastructure to the open source commons, and the catalytic impact it can make on teaching and learning. Higher education needs to be more evidence-based in the ways we pursue our missions. But that change can’t happen from the top down. We need a movement, grounded in shared principles and a vision for collective impact. I hope the Empirical Educator Project can be the gathering space for that movement.”
““EEP has supported the formation of cross-institution partnerships to address the complex, but common, goal of learning improvement,” said Sara Finney, Associate Director for Student Affairs Assessment at James Madison University. “Just one year after the initial meeting, several collaborations are well underway. The next summit brings promise of even greater progress. At JMU, we feel fortunate to be part of this esteemed group.”
The EDwhy initiative will be officially launched at the second annual Empirical Educator Project summit, which will be hosted by Carnegie Mellon University on May 6th and 7th.
The Empirical Educator Project is a network of people and organizations dedicated to the proposition that our institutions of higher education must and can transform themselves from the inside to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. We can do this by drawing on the historic academic strength inquiry embedded in a community that provides peer review, by turning that strength to core institutional task of enabling students to learn and thrive, and byevolving academic cultural institutions and processes to support these ends.For more, see http://empiricaleducators.net/
EEP is made possible by our 2019 participating sponsors:
Soomo Learning SmartSparrow