What We Do
The X-Media Lab is a research hub at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. We work at the crossroads of education, media, digital technology, and prevention science- leveraging the power of stories. We translate research into practice through pilot programs in several schools around the world; offer professional development workshops; produce educational resource guides; and publish online articles and reports about our work. This year, we introduced the X-Media Lab Incubator, where course-related projects with potential for long term impact are identified, cultivated, and coached on the path to becoming sustainable ventures.
The X-Media Lab seeks to provide answers to two essential questions that challenge educators and researchers every day:
- How can we promote a “love for learning” through formal and informal schooling?
- How do we facilitate the full development of children while helping them prepare themselves for the future?.
What's Behind All This?
An underlying premise of our work in the X-Media Lab is that one’s individual or shared experiences and analyses of a given story rest upon our developing abilities to navigate trans-media contexts (both deeply and broadly).Given the continuing advances in communications technologies (e.g. streaming, 5G phones, interactive media), today’s humanistic-oriented educators are continuously afforded an expanding range of ways to use selected stories (fictional and factual) in their work with students. Therefore, the X-Media Lab selects meaningful story content from a creative canon within the arts and humanities to help students and teachers, doctors and patients, to reflect on the academic, ethical, and aesthetic importance of stories to promote humanistic values across cultures, phases of human development, genres, professions, and historical periods.
We think of cross-media as looking at what happens when popular stories (generally appearing first in print) move across content platforms --books to movies, comic books to movies, graphic novels, and even biographies, to musicals or podcasts. Because technology is continually evolving, sparking new ways for stories to be told, it also makes such "twice-told" stories widely accessible and consumable. While this is true for students, we find that cross-media stories are rarely --and warily-- used by educators. The X-Media Lab strongly believes that a close cross-media comparison of a story across content platforms can yield much in terms of a deeper understanding of the important messages within the story, particularly when the stories are examined through the lenses of academics, aesthetics, and ethics.