Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

`Making Smart Kids' Smarter: Brian K. Smith

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

`Making Smart Kids' Smarter: Brian K. Smith

Article excerpt

Title:

Assistant Professor, Media Arts and Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Education:

Ph.D., Learning Sciences, Northwestern University; B.S., Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles

"At the end of the day, the product of good research is good people."

That's what Dr. Brian K. Smith shoots for, working at MIT's Media Lab. "I just want to make smart kids," he says. "Here, we try to figure out how to change human performance. How does all this stuff, this technology, impact the world kids live in?"

At the Media Lab, researchers like Smith, 32, are learning how computational tools capture, analyze and improve the quality of life. For Smith, it's about pioneering research that increases technology access to the social and economic underclass.

He hopes projects like "Image Maps" can improve children's critical thinking. He and his MIT colleagues have developed a camera prototype wired to a satellite receiver and digital compass. The camera lets people, after shooting pictures in a neighborhood near MIT, view images of those same places as they appeared throughout the previous century. This teaches children to think more scientifically about their urban surroundings, Smith says. "The historical images push them to find out what happened to the community and why it changed," he says.

Other projects aren't aimed at a specific age group. …

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