Return to Communications Center

Curiosity Driven Learning | Aya Sakaguchi

By Caty Rezendes

What are students curious about? And how can you leverage their natural curiosity to create a passion for learning?  Aya Sakaguchi’s research at MIT and Harvard looks for answers to these questions using smart phones to mobilize the classroom and increase student engagement.

Aya is Educational Technology Specialist with an interest in blended learning environments and Co-Founder of Curious Learning, a Resident Venture at the Harvard Innovation Lab. These projects aim to break down the four walls of a classroom using mobile technology, making the world a much more enticing learning environment and deputizing the devices 56% of high school students are already carrying to be legit learning tools (in addition to Fruit Ninja enablers).

In one sample lesson, students venture out to find tangible examples of abstract mathematical concepts like fractals in the natural environment.  Students learn to recognizing patterns in the real world by sharing photos of their findings with their peers and teachers.

With sobering US high school dropout rates of 3M students per year, this buoyant talk shares Aya’s optimism about tackling those numbers by fostering creativity and curiosity.


At Intimate Evening Talks, Aya sat down with TEDxBeaconStreet blogger Terence Homicile:

Q: Could you share with us what a day as a research assistant at Lifelong is like?

Sure, So what I do is help develop an online community called learn creative Learning Its a class about creative learning on how you. One i’m doing for them is helping them develop offline learning communities. So a lot of time when we imagine online learning communities we think that , group formation stay online, so I’m trying to take those groups and take them offline so how can global community groups meet together but watch this online platform at the same time.

Q: What mobile technology would you like to see implemented in classrooms?

I think any time of mobile device that has the capacity to take photos or videos and take audio and record it in whatever medium

Q: You mentioned you traveled to Japan, France, did you travels help influence how you believe mobile technology could help influence classrooms

Definitely, especially in Japan. A lot of people have mobile technology and aren’t really using them to interact in classroom. In France, I taught at a university where a lot of students would use their phones but is there a way that we could use those phones in a more constructive way?