Stanford University’s MediaX program is designed to bring together academic figures and industry insiders. Throughout the year, business leaders come to MediaX to gain insights from Stanford’s research and staff, and to hear about emerging media and how to leverage it.

MediaX brings together educators and technological innovators on the campus of Stanford University to share ideas on improving education.

This year, DMA was at Stanford’s MediaX conference and we gathered some great insights. This year’s conference focused heavily on STEM learning disciplines and the use of game systems in learning. Another interesting topic: analytics, i.e., statistics tools that are helping educators personalize education.

Full STEAM Ahead
STEM stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” However, several educators are now including an “A” in the acronym for “Art.” Educators predict STEAM jobs are “the future.” However they also indicated that most classroom spaces have not yet evolved into STEAM-friendly environments.

Unfortunately, this works against logic. Because if you want to teach music, you need a band room. If you want to teach swimming, you need a pool. And if you want to teach STEAM disciplines, you better build a lab. And Stanford’s FabLab@School is trying to put those very environments into K-12 education.

The “Gamification” of Education
Another key point of the MediaX conference involved games and how they can be used to enhance education. It’s true. “Gamification,” as it’s called, is a way to make kids more engaged by giving them achievement awards, for example. But these aren’t merely “Good Job!” stickers; these are digital awards and other bits of technology that help bring personalization to the classroom.

By leveraging mobile and Web tools, educators can now track students’ progress precisely, and on an individual level, then adapt their teaching around the students’ way of learning.

This is not simply a matter of making educational games (although it could include that), but rather, using game elements in activities other than games. For example, leaderboards and trophies can create competition, and progressing systematically through quests and subquests is an engaging way to wrap up curriculum.

For an example, the next time you sign up to join a new social network or game, notice the progress bars that are being used to motivate you to explore all the features of the website or app. Also pay attention to how the sites and apps adapt to you whenever they can collect data about you. That’s “gamification.”

The Future of Education
Considering the technological advances of the past couple of decades, it is no longer acceptable to teach students of all levels and learning types in exactly the same way – a concept that’s one of the foundations of DMA’s tech camps.

At DMA we believe that technology can inspire kids to create awesome things and all of our tech camps based on STEM offer incredible hands-on learning experiences…and some even include STEAM. No matter what you want to create, DMA offers a world-class technology experience on the cutting edge of education.