In this episode of My TechDecisions Podcast, Host and TD Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Blackwood interviews Nick Swayne, Executive Director of 4-VA, about the X-Labs at James Madison University that Nick oversees on behalf of 4-VA.
JMU X-Labs is a model of education specifically designed to teach innovation with intention. Its transdisciplinary programming challenges students to take ownership of their education, pivot creatively, and confidently tackle problems that resist easy solutions.
At a time when higher education is trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs in industry, it is increasingly important to provide students with skills that go beyond traditional expectations. With its transdisciplinary courses, JMU X-Labs challenges students to investigate all aspects of a problem, collaborate with industry professionals and peers from different majors, iterate ideas and welcome meaningful failure to solve real problems. Courses are shared across departments and in collaboration with experts in various fields across the country. The program has won two Governor’s Technology Awards for innovative use of technology in education.
Nick discusses some of the specifics of JMU X-Labs, especially when it comes to technology. We first discuss the program itself – how it brings together students from disciplines as diverse as engineering and nursing on the same team, and posits a particular problem in an industry for them to attempt to solve using the X-Labs equipment. We then discuss the specific technology being utilized in the X-Labs, focusing in on a collaboration systems that uses touch-enables projection to create a large videoconferencing wall for students to connect with teachers and mentors in the industry.
Any technology manager in education should give this interview a listen to learn about some of the state-of-the-art ways technology is changing education.
This interview was recorded using Deltapath with Dolby Voice to deliver an in-person experience with stunning audio quality. Click here to discover how Deltapath can deliver an immersive communication experience for your organization.
Listen to this podcast using the embedded player below.
Jonathan Blackwood is the Editor-in-Chief of TechDecisions. Jonathan joined TechDecisions in 2014 and writes about technologies that help to innovate and improve practices for companies of all sizes, K-12 and higher education, government, healthcare, hospitality, retail and large venue spaces. He is especially interested in the future of work and education and the Internet of Things. Follow him @BlackwoodTweets.