Transdisciplinary design collaborations are pioneering new and better ways to embrace the richness of learning diversity and achieve high-quality education for all. Learning differences effect everyone. Every learner is unique and our (dis)abilities fluctuate from moment to moment and context to context, throughout our lives. Engaging people with diverse learning abilities, as expert stakeholders, is essential to the design of successful technological breakthroughs for learning. This presentation will discuss how projects ranging from affective learning companions and social robots, to smart homes, and assistive technologies, are broadening participation in cyberlearning, advancing a more inclusive future. When society embraces learning differences as profound and fundamental assets—that, like most forms of diversity, contribute to opportunity, resiliency, capacity, and creativity—we will have taken a significant step toward succeeding at one of education’s most pressing grand challenges.
Dr. Winslow Burleson is a scholar, researcher, inventor, and educator. He has been recognized as a pioneering innovator of the digital age, by the Association for Computing Machinery, for his contributions to personalized cyberlearning. The National Academy of Engineering recognized him as one of the “nation's brightest young engineering researchers and educators.” He is an Associate Professor at New York University, where he is the founding director of the NYU-X Lab and has appointments in education, computer science, global health, and nursing. He earned his BA in Bio-Physics from Rice University, MSE in Product Design from Stanford University, and PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab. He has authored over 100 scholarly articles, holds eleven patents, and twice received Time Magazine’s Top Inventions of the Year Awards.