Three Labs at the intersection of innovation, technology and learning analytics

Academic Innovation Labs Leverage Technology to Transform Teaching and Learning

Erin McCann, Associate Director of Marketing 

Onawa Gardiner, Marketing Specialist
@onawanna

With the start of the new academic year we are excited to showcase the Academic Innovation Labs that individually and collaboratively enable academic innovation on a local, national and global scale. The Digital Innovation Greenhouse, the Gameful Learning Lab and the Digital Education & Innovation Lab facilitate large-scale tech solutions, new modes of learning, and empowerment of students, faculty and staff in order to unlock new opportunities to redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university.  

Check out what the three labs have accomplished, to date, and their goals to further facilitate academic excellence, inclusion and innovation for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Digital Innovation Greenhouse

Drawing wireframesThe Digital Innovation Greenhouse (DIG) is dedicated to seeding projects and growing them to maturity in order to foster educational software innovations. DIG works with user communities to establish and grow pathways to scale across U-M’s digital ecosystems and to translate digital engagement tools from innovation to infrastructure. Currently, DIG houses a portfolio of innovative tools, including ART 2.0, ECoach, GradeCraft, M-Write, Michigan Sustainability Cases, Policymaker, and Student Explorer. In the past year, these initiatives have joined the DIG portfolio, received recognition for innovation, conducted real-world simulations, and rolled out new software to students. With DIG as an on-campus education technology accelerator, U-M is playing a leading role shaping the next stage in the evolution of U-M’s leadership.

Gameful Learning Lab

User interface drawingsThe Gameful Learning Lab (GLL) is focused on leveraging inspiration from good games to explore how learning environments can motivate engagement and effort in learning.

The seeds for GLL can be sourced to the successful development of the GradeCraft learning management system. Developed on the U-M campus in 2012, GradeCraft harnesses technology to enable instructors to add gameful elements into their courses and promote a personalized pathway for students. In this semester at the U-M Ann Arbor campus, 33 instructors are using GradeCraft in 71 courses across 18 disciplines.  

Through collaboration with instructors, GLL aims to create engaging courses, conduct research on learner motivation and develop tools to facilitate gameful learning through a range of scaled initiatives. Additionally, GLL encourages a community of practice on gameful pedagogy at U-M, and developes MOOCs to promote and assist in gameful learning. To complement this, GLL also is establishing a faculty advisory committee focused on providing feedback on ways to help Michigan go gameful. Finally, GLL plans to develop and implement a summer institute to bring together K-12 teachers and  instructors in higher education who are interested in going gameful.

Digital Education & Innovation Lab

Video camera and green screenThe Digital Education & Innovation Lab (DEIL) supports knowledge-sharing across U-M in order to enrich the community and accelerate collaborative experiments on the cutting edge of teaching and learning. To date, DEIL has developed over 60 initiatives. This academic year, the pace of innovation will continue to increase as DEIL scales up individualized pathways to learning through the creation of new programs, courses and content.

Two exciting new courses in progress are the Leading Change with Gameful Learning and Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning MOOCs. In partnership with Microsoft and edX, DEIL is developing these two MOOCs to empower education leaders and teachers to serve as catalysts for change in educational environments in the US and around the world. The Leading Change with Gameful Learning MOOC, developed by in partnership with the GLL lab, equips school leaders and teachers with tools that foster personalized, engaged learning through the facilitation of a gameful environment. The Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning MOOC aims to develop the capabilities of change leaders in order to drive systemic change across school systems. Combined, these two upcoming MOOCs provide education leaders and instructors with the framework, tools, techniques and knowledge base to reshape the future of teaching and learning for the third century.

These three Academic Innovation Labs combined, create and facilitate pathways to explore and pursue academic innovation for all members of the U-M community as well as learners around the world. In doing so, they illuminate opportunities for curricular innovation and transform teaching and learning in order to shape the future of learning and redefine public residential education at a 21st century research university.