Dec. 13, 2019
UPDATE 3/16/2020: The Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) is still seeking applicants from the entertainment and policy sectors to join the next fellows class of our groundbreaking fellows program. We have extended the deadline for those two sectors to March 31, 2020. More information can be found at learningsciencesexchange.org and the application portal is here.
The summer of 2018 ushered in a new way to inform parents and policy makers about the latest science in early childhood. Up until then, most professionals lived in silos where scientists conducted experiments in independent laboratories without thinking about how to disseminate the collected findings for more public consumption. Policy makers would adopt well-meaning and sweeping changes without consulting the scientific community; journalists would struggle to communicate the nuances; and entertainers rarely used their vast talents to share evidence-based information that could support their viewers.
The Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) Fellowship—launched by New America, the International Congress on Infant Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation in July 2018—has sought to burst the silos and allow mid-career members of learning science, journalism, policy, and entertainment to pioneer new methods for establishing influential networks and collaborate on joint projects. The fruits of their efforts will be showcased at the first-ever LSX Summit, on June 17 in Washington, D.C.
Given the success of this initiative, LSX is thrilled to announce that it is expanding its reach. We are now calling for a second cohort to join this pioneering group. The next class of LSX fellows will include representatives from a fifth sector—social entrepreneurship—which will amplify the program’s ability to foster collaboration and creative ideas. The goal is to disseminate insights on the early years in appealing, accurate, and efficient new ways. Fellows will ideally be at a stage in their career in which they can bring the insights and experience gathered during the fellowship back to their own sector to enable cross-sectoral collaboration on a wider scale.
LSX was formed to bring the latest evidence-based information on early childhood—once trapped in inaccessible journals—to the doorstep of parents, practitioners, and children and into daily life. As we wrote in 2018, “Even scientists themselves will often admit to not having time to read and understand each others' work. How do we expect our parents, teachers, child care providers, and health care workers—not to mention our policymakers and those in industry—to possibly be able to process what we are learning about human potential and apply the lessons from it?”
LSX offers a creative way to break through barriers, leading to both improved processes for communication and improved products that communicate the science. To the scientist, it is about learning how to create edible science that is accessible, digestible and usable. To the policy leader, it helps bring important nuance into discussions of education and practice. To the journalist it offers connections to scientists and their labs, and to the entertainer, it offers a new challenge to use entertainment for social good.
The current class of fellows has been working on the design of products and messages that will appeal to parents with newborn children. One of the groups, for example, has produced a Hollywood-quality public service announcement that addresses the necessity to read early and often to children, but, mainly to choose the right books at the right time. Science is showing that books with characters who are named generically (e.g., “elephant”) or not named do not increase learning in infants under 9 months. Communicating this research-based message to caregivers not only encourages naming during reading, but fosters a culture of book reading in the home that can be incorporated into family routines and builds quality parent-infant relationships, later language development, and emergent literacy.
This public service announcement and two other prototypes will be showcased at the LSX Summit in Washington, D.C. on June 17, 2020, where we will also announce the next class of fellows. We hope you will join us via livestream or in person and help us spread the word about our current Call for Applications.
LSX is a partnership between New America, the International Congress on Infant Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation, with a steering committee that includes Kathy Hirsh-Pasek of Temple University, Roberta Golinkoff of the University of Delaware, Lisa Guernsey and Sabia Prescott of New America, and Urs Arnold and Cathrin Jerie of the Jacobs Foundation. For more, including bios for members of our advisory group, see learningsciencesexchange.org
Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates on what’s new in Education Policy!