Pods are micro-learning communities introduced to the Learning Lab in Fall 2019. Each pod consists of 2-5 undergrads who come into work at the LL at the same time and collaborate on a shared project that spans across disciplines and tools. In addition to the traditional Labs, which specialize in a tool or resource, pods are designed to be cross-sectional and leverage the synergy of LLUFs' diverse skillset to produce more encompassing final projects. Pods also are an organizational implementation, providing structure to a LLUF's workday in an environment that can sometimes feel "amazing but overwhelming" with the number of people, projects, colloquia, and speakers buzzing about. Moreover, pods produce a report on a biweekly basis, which could span from a podcast to a video to a written report, to document their progress and check in with Jordan. Thus, the purpose of pods is threefold: to foster internal connection among LLUFs, combine their interests and passions toward common goals, and provide a reliable interface with other LL staff.
Many thanks to the Podashians for compiling much of this information in their YearBOK project!
We are working with the Ableton Push to incorporate as many multimedia abilities as possible, such that the Push can launch video, audio, still images, documents, open links, even lighting cues all via MIDI inputs. The way we will cap off this project is to create our own fully immersive presentation that showcases all of the capabilities of the Push. We envision this to be a 5-10 minute long “lecture” on a fun topic that will include interactive elements for the audience.
Shivi is a Junior in Winthrop House (along with the wonderful Lila) studying Integrative Biology with a secondary in Economics. Born and raised in New Jersey, she has exchanged living by the Hudson River for the Charles River in Cambridge. At the Learning Lab, she loves thinking about intentional interaction and podcasts. When not at 50 Church Street, she can most often be found playing board games, trying new foods around the Square, or at the Harvard Ed Portal across the river where she is a mentor.
Lara is a Junior in Kirkland House (with the Sunshine also known colloquially as Sophie) studying Government and East Asian studies. At the Learning lab, she loves to acquire new skills and teach the fabulous folks around her what she’s learned! Her passions include photography and other visual arts, curling, as well as song & dance & sweet romance, and happy endings happening by happenstance. (Credits to Something Rotten)
Sophie is a junior in Kirkland House (along with her beloved roommate Lara!) studying Integrative Biology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, and Spanish. She loves to sing with the Pitches, write and edit for Satire V, and excite in rocks with the Geological Society. In the Learning Lab, she loves learning new skills in Photoshop, photography, and Final Cut Pro and gaining as much computational competency as she can!
Lila is a junior in Winthrop house studying Human Evolutionary Biology and Social Anthropology. She loves incorporating philosophical reflection and art making into her projects at the Learning Lab. Her favorite thing to do is sing with the Pitches (alongside Sophie and Sam!) and with Uchoir. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring at the Ed Portal. She is excited to be studying abroad next semester in Paris, but she will miss the fun, creative, chaotic energy of the Learning Lab while she is away!
One fateful day in September, we convened for the first time as a group and after about one minute of directed musing, we decided upon this name after Sophie exclaimed “Pod? As in Cephalopod?” and we were hence christened. So enamoured were we with this name that taken it upon ourselves to become the most spirited molluskan pod out there.
We are mapping the LL-- and all the ways in which it works. The fluidity of the space, as well as the diversity of people and activities, make for a rich landscape. From Color to Podcasting, we hope to create a theoretical framework for understanding simultaneously the big picture and the minutiae of the LL. This project takes the form of many mapping activities.
We started by mapping Color in the LL--its utility and its ubiquity in the Lab made it a helpful place to start. Traditional methods of mapping the color space have often involved circular shapes to describe a linear visual spectrum, and value and saturation force this color space to be three-dimensional. The reflections from our discussions surrounding the mapping of color space led to a workshop on Color in the LL, where we began making a Learning Lab Palette.
Next, we led a DesignLab workshop and mapped the relationship between the Physical and the Digital using cards, papers, and pipe cleaners. This was a fruitful workshop that allowed us to explore the merits and drawbacks of different forms of media, and contemplate philosophical questions about the nature of thought.
In addition to these and other narrowly focused mapping projects, we hope to create a “mega map” of the LL for the showcase. This map will encompass all of our previous maps, as well as offer a broader framework for conceptualizing the LL.
Juhee is a sophomore who loves all the sciences & engineering and ed-ucation. She is concentrating in Bio-engineering and Integrative Biology. She has lived in California and India for either halves of her life. On cam-pus, she is involved in the Learning Lab, research, Dharma, the Conser-vation Society, and CAing. She also loves to build and make stuff, inter-act with animals in all capacities, and plan and organize community build-ing events on campus. Going on long walks & bike rides and talking to old and new friends is her happy space.
Martin is a freshman at Harvard studying either mathematics, physics, and/or computer science. He is very passionate about education and wants to make an impact in educational systems around the world to educate students to become creative thinkers and problem-solvers. In his free time he likes to play instruments, learn languages, dance salsa, and hang out with his friends.
Explorables help students to learn more deeply by broadening the scope of empirical input to more senses. Explorables can have, for example, simulations, graphs, pictures, sounds, smells, textures, tastes, instructions, and interactive modules that help students internalize the content that would help them learn more deeply. In such ways, students can acquire more robust information not only to be able to understand it, but also to use it to develop higher-order thinking skills. In addition, explorables can help students develop intrinsic motivators towards knowledge by being engaging and providing flexibility as they have multiple dimensions through which students can acquire data. Explorables would not only benefit students as they would be more engaged in classes and understand the content better, but they would also benefit teachers as it would aid their teaching process. Explorable toolkits that can be used in and outside of class should be easy to use and readily accessible since the purpose of these is for students to better understand the content they are learning. For our project, we are going to become experts at designing and creating explorable toolkits. Interactive physical infographics, 3D and 2D models and simulations, augmented reality applications, and web-based interfaces are all resources that can function as explorables. Thus, we want to delve into the creation of explorable toolkits with multiple organized resources that would aid the learning process. The end goal is to make a sort of ‘guide’ to making and incorporating accessible explorables of all types and on potentially making ‘toolkits’ for classes to incorporate into their learning materials.
Yilan is a senior in Quincy House studying Applied Mathematics with a specialization in economics. Most of the time you can find her in the Learning Lab eating or working on Cinema 4D. In her free time, she likes to paint her nails, write about her food adventures, and lift weights. Please ask her about her senior sale. She has too many clothes.
Mushtaaq is a junior (the only one :’)) in Quincy studying Integrative Biology with a secondary in Environmental Science and Public Policy. She spends her time at LL learning things, particularly things that have to do with film, photography, and currently infographic design. If you see her around please ask her about YouTube and Twitter because that is where she lives.
Mario is a senior in Leverett House studying Environmental Science and Public Policy. He is the most senior LLUF (after Sam) and many consider him to be the Cinema 4D Master of the Learning Lab. In his free time, he likes to flip chickens and watch cars go vroooom. When lounging he only wears one sock.
We began as ll-monies, but then it was highly recommended for us to focus less on less...materialistic things. Like puns. And thus, the Fairly Pod Parents was born. We feel it encapsulates our childlike joy of learning as well as our devotion to pastels.
Samantha, Katherine, and Yasmin
Joyce, Elmer, and Rachel (feat. Snow!)
By Joyce By Elmer
Audrey is a sophomore concentrating in Psychology. She loves the Learning Lab because of her interest in education, and working on the YearBOK has allowed her to combine that interest with photography/design. Outside of the LL, Audrey enjoys co-directing PBHA's Chinatown ESL program and dancing with the Harvard Ballet Company.
Frances is a senior about to graduate jobless #HireMePls. She loves to write speculative fiction, short stories, and creative nonfiction. Although she's growing more fond of Boston, Los Angeles is a huge part of her heart, and she absolutely thrives under the sun. Frances spends most of her time in Winthrop, binge watching old shows on Netflix (in other words, doing senior year right).
Joy is a junior studying social anthropology and music! Originally from Dallas, Texas, she loves singing, theatre, comedy, and Vine/TikTok. She works at the Bok Center because it allows her to develop her craft in music and graphic design, and also because they have good snacks and good tea.
Ramona is a suffermore (sophomore) who just recently declared AFVS (not Art, Film, & Visual studies, rather America's Funniest Home Videos). When she's not on the 1-800-Existential-Crisis hotline asking if she should get bangs, you can find her on Instagram @yoharamona, or on Venmo is you're feeling extra generous ;)
The Podashians come from a regal lineage of women who have paved their way through the entertainment industry. Our name pays homage to the women that come before us, but we’re the upgraded version that presents itself as a pod, a new type of family. We hold the sass, the talent, the tenacity of our namesake but for infographics, design, comedy, and music.
The Podashians have decided to create a YearBOK to showcase each of the pods, their projects, and data that we thought was imperative to show you. In this Year- BOK you’ll find the beginnings of each of our design careers as we fiddle around with InDesign, Photoshop, and Slack data. This YearBOK is a culmination of all of our finest works and we bring it to you so that you can enjoy and share with others.
Shavonna & Shirley
Kathryn, Juliana, Nicole, Molly, and Sara
Alex, Laura, and Maribelle
Connor is a senior in Winthrop House studying Economics with a secondary in Neuroscience. Connor hails from the midlands of England, more specifically a city called Derby (which is why he sounds like Jon Snow). He is the Co-Prime Minister of the Harvard British Club. He is a veteran of the Learning Lab, having joined it his sophomore year. Outside of the class-room and the Bok Center, Connor enjoys playing football.
Jad is a senior in Winthrop House studying Government with a secondary in Economics. He is originally from Amman, Jordan (which is a fun little country in the Middle East). Jad was once heavily involved with extracurriculars like Harvard CBE and the Law Review, but has since decided to exclusively dedicate his time to the Bok Center. When he’s not in the Learning Lab, Jad is watching Hasan Minhaj on Netflix or working on his senior thesis (ask him about it).
Sophie is a junior in Cabot House studying History and Literature, with a secondary in Government and language citation in Mandarin Chinese. She’s from Croton-on-Hudson, NY, a small town an hour north of the city, and started working at the Bok Center during the spring of her freshman year. Sophie is involved with lots of organizations on campus, including the Harvard Radcliffe Dramatic Club, the Harvard Democrats, and the Harvard Advocate. The Bok Center has been one of Sophie’s favorite places on this campus, and she can’t wait to see where the next semesters take her work here!
When generating pod names, we developed one we thought was excellent, but was sadly rejected by Jordan in all her wisdom. Devastated from this loss, we struggled to come up with another, equally powerful name as the one to which we had to say goodbye. As we were brainstorming, another LLUF remarked that the three of us resembled three peas in a pod. The key word there being “POD,” we soon adopted that name as our own. Thus, Three Peas in a Pod was born!
Three Peas in a Pod have been working on two projects: Alexa, and Audio Peak GIFs! This semester, Sophie has worked with Marlon & co to create code that analyzes a video file to find the loudest few seconds and convert it automatically into a GIF! With that code finished, Sophie is now working on how to integrate that program into Slack and Airtable, so that those GIFs could be called with a Slack command, much like the /giphy command. The plan is to use Alexa devices / Amazon’s AI to help speed up processes within the LL and make them more convenient. This includes using code to allow Alexa to upload items to Slack, retrieve information from airtable, and even connect to local devices so that we can control some camera settings using our voices in real-time!