Focus Areas

There exist three conceptual Focus Areas operating within the Center: (1) Learning Design, (2) Teacher Quality, and (3) Education Policy. The Director appoints a Head to each Focus Area for a renewable term of 2 years. Each Head shall report to the Director on a regular basis to present new funding opportunities or initiatives to pursue within each Focus Area. It is expected that members of the Center and the Advisory Board will be associated to at least one of these divisions. The Director will bring together associates of each Focus Area on an annual basis through summits or symposia to ascertain new trans-disciplinary projects.

These focus areas appear to be fairly traditional in style but it is the intention that they operate to attract people who normally think within one of those spaces but might not interact productively across these divisions. In bringing their work together we ask why these divisions exist in the first place. As a group we will look at opportunities and needs to intersect these divisions for innovative work, to enhance the skills and specific expertise of Kaput Center associates and to offer a safe haven to incubate new ideas. For example we might attract some legislators and associates to a think-tank meeting where they can tap into our network of expertise but at the same time conduct a focus group on new policy under development. This would be a safe environment to test ideas. Our present work in Learning Design has reached a level of maturity that it is in a position to guide policy on how mathematics is taught in schools today and the respective role of technology. These are conceptual divisions that are not meant to be physical.

The division structure of the focus areas will also help guide future conferences or symposia we might have at the Kaput Center. Our next symposium will be on Creativity and Learning. These divisions might help bring different populations of people together but then "creativity" crosses over each division. So with this structure we aim to cross-fertilize discussion and establish innovative new pathways of work.

The structure can also be used to focus our research design. So one might ask where does technology fit into this structure or at what border points do they intersect? Focusing on who is in front of the technology or is making decisions about the technology might structure our focus. For example, if it is students then the project might be in the first division; teachers the second; administrators the third. Within these focus areas our advisory board and research associates and scientists might be more ideally situated and so a new grant proposal (say) will directly connect members of that division to our established network of experts.

We believe it will be important in the first few years to identify where and why these divisions as focus areas exist and intersect. We expect that such intersections and the reasons for their existence will create the rationale for a new research project.

Please follow the links on the sidebar to each focus area and contact the Director if you wish to be affiliated with one or more of these groups. Please identify what ideas or proposals you would bring to that area.