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Learning from MIT on STEAM Education

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About the Entity

Offered jointly by the MIT School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, MIT Integrated Design & Management (IDM) is a master’s degree program that caters to early to mid-career professionals.

 

Its mission is to “enable the learning and development of extraordinary, innovative leaders who will bring new levels of creativity, vision, and integrity to business and society”. Its curriculum combines “the inspired, intuitive methods taught in the world’s best design schools, with the systematic, analytical methods of the world’s best engineering and business schools”.

 

We interviewed Matthew S. Kressy, Founding Director of MIT IDM to distill more insights about the work at IDM and its implications for the K-12 space:

 

Setting the Vision

Learning Principles

 

Interdisciplinary learning is at the core of the IDM program. When asked about why the Program aims at integrating business, design, and engineering, Matthew believed it is where the three intersects that “new business paradigms, great products, and the creative courage to solve complex, hard-to-define problems” can be generated. Though exposure to these different fields, students learn to incorporate the power of the other disciplines into their perspectives.

Underpinning the program is a human-centered design process, which is the foundation of the Program in ensuring that work is thoughtful, meaningful and meets the needs and emotions of stakeholders. By going through the program, it is intended that students learn “how to navigate unchartered waters”, and have the “space to explore a problem area, and explore a solution for the problem”, according to Matthew Kressy.

 

There are four major features of the Program: Firstly, the student body is composed of equal parts of business, design and engineering students. Project work is done in integrated teams so that they can learn from and inform each other. Secondly, there is an integrated faculty with business, design and engineering professors as well as experts of the design process. Thirdly, there is an integrated design (ID) lab where there is dedicated team space for teams to work together, and surrounded by a maker space where there are facilities and tools to enable creative thinking and design. Fourthly, there is an integrated curriculum in place where a variety of activities will take place, including design workshops, guest lectures, user-centered research etc.

Food for Thought for K-12 Educators:
How can we create an integrated learning experience for students, in which all learning experience from different subjects revolve around a project/problem, so that they learn with a context? It has been proven that students learn more effectively when they see meaning in what they learn.  
 
 

Enabling Cross-disciplinary Learning

 

 

Scheduling

 

IDM’s program schedule reflects its belief on how students learn most effectively. For each week, 2 days are dedicated for IDM-required activities, while the remaining 3 days is for students to take on engineering and management foundation courses and electives, as well as work on projects in the Integrated Design (ID) Lab.

 

As seen from this ID daily schedule diagram below, most of the time is dedicated to allowing students to work on their projects in integrated teams, so that they can take what they learn into practice. The lecture, workshop and guest lecture each day revolves around a topic that equips students with the soft and hard skills required in enabling success in their projects.

 

 

Food for Thought for K-12 Educators:
How can time be carved out every day so that students can take more time taking what they learn into practice? Can a schedule similar to IDM’s be adopted as a normal school day in middle schools?
 

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