Jin Kuwata, Ed.D., helped organize a semester-long design thinking challenge for all Columbia students, culminating in the Innovation Awards 2017 ceremony and pitch event in the Learning Theater at Teachers College, Columbia University. The goal of this entire project was to solve one of the biggest problems in edtech today: the gap between edtech design and learning research.
Through mentoring, workshops, and prototyping, students learned how to develop an edtech product connected to academic research that also filled a learning need. After a semester of work, 14 student teams pitched their edtech products at the showcase, attended by students, entrepreneurs, and the college president alike, and taught others about the design thinking process.
Edtech creation is all about the journey, says Jin. Recently, Jin completed a journey of his own through Teachers College, graduating with an Ed.D. from the Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design Program. Now as a lecturer in the same program, Jin teaches subjects such as computer programming and interactive media. One of Jin’s main research interests involves studying how social behavior affects learning in online environments, focusing on how we can use this information to develop and design better instructional practices. He has used this research in his consulting work for both the United Nations and the tech training center General Assembly. Just as he helped students do for the Innovation Award event, Jin experiments with his own learning systems to improve online learning experiences. If online learning is a journey, Jin’s mission is to make sure students benefit from each step along the way.