Today marks the launch of the Learning Sciences Exchange, a unique cross-sector and international fellowship program designed to address a key problem: insights from the science of how children learn are not making their way into policies and daily practices that affect teachers, parents, and anyone working with young children. This new program will bring together 12 fellows spanning science, policy, journalism and entertainment whose work will foster broader understanding, widespread dissemination, and better application of insights emerging from the science of early learning. The program is led through a partnership with New America, the International Congress of Infant Studies, and the Jacobs Foundation.
“Breakthroughs and insights now emerge regularly from the learning sciences. Yet they are slow to make their way into schools, family support systems, and the social consciousness in positive ways,” said Lisa Guernsey, deputy director of New America’s education policy program, which will administer the fellows program. “Too often, new findings are either left to wilt in inaccessible academic journals, contorted by splashy headlines, or too complicated to lead to real policy changes. This program aims to help change that.”
“Journalists, storytellers (such as movie producers), policy influencers, and learning scientists have no incentive to take the time to listen to each other, grapple with problems together, and gain a deeper understanding of the other’s mission and work,” said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinkoff, president and secretary, respectively, for the International Congress of Infant Studies. “This dampens prospects of good translation from the world of science to the mainstream media. It also causes difficulties in the other direction: learning scientists rarely have a chance to hear the journalist’s perspective on the creation of scientific stories. Many scientists don’t interact with policy leaders, or with storytellers who are in more regular contact with parents, educators, and the general public.”
“LSX fellows will be charged with bringing ideas in learning science to fruition and experimenting with new ways to communicate those ideas with the greatest influence,” said Urs Arnold, director of operations for the Jacobs Foundation. “With fellows and advisors hailing from countries around the world, this exchange will inspire mid-career scientists, journalists, entertainers and policy makers to solve problems in key areas related to how children learn and develop in their early years.”
The Learning Sciences Exchange (LSX) will bring together 12 fellows, three each from four sectors (science, policy, journalism and entertainment), who will participate for two years. At the culmination of the fellowship, the participants will give a series of LSX Talks broadcast widely through international media channels.
About New America
Founded in 1999, New America is a think tank and civic enterprise committed to renewing politics, prosperity, and purpose in the Digital Age. We generate big ideas, bridge the gap between technology and policy, and curate broad public conversation. More information is at newamerica.org.
The International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS) is a not-for-profit professional organization devoted to the promotion and dissemination of research on the development of infants through its official journal and a biennial conference where researchers and practitioners gather and discuss the latest research and theory in infant development. More information is at infantstudies.org.
About the Jacobs Foundation
The Jacobs Foundation is active worldwide in promoting child and youth development. It was founded in Zurich by entrepreneur Klaus J. Jacobs in 1989. The Jacobs Foundation allocates a budget of approximately 45 million Swiss francs per year to fund research projects, intervention programs and scientific institutions. It is committed to scientific excellence and evidence-based research. More information is at jacobsfoundation.org.