Executive Fun(ctions)

Over the last decade, the fields of psychological and cognitive science have experienced a growing interest in executive functions, a collection of higher-order cognitive functions proven critical for adaptive, goal-directed behavior that contribute to one’s well-being. More specifically, executive functions (EF) refer to attention shifting, working memory, and inhibitory control (Miyake, Friedman, Emerson, Witzki, & […]

Beyond Dashboards

Game-based assessments (GBAs) have been shown to be a powerful context to measure students’ 21st century skills. By eliciting evidence of skills in an embedded, authentic and playful environment, they present the potential for assessments to go beyond measuring outcomes of content knowledge to shed light on thought processes. At the Playful Journey Lab, we […]

Playful India: Maker to Changemaker

India is home to 1/6th of the world’s population. It is a growing technology powerhouse and the largest democracy ever. At the cusp of a technological revolution, India brings with it unique problems of scale and inequity. To address the beautiful complexity that this country is, there is a growing movement to bring maker education […]

Playful Assessment

When we look at today’s schools as a system, it is easy to see that one important component of that system is assessment, and that in order to improve the whole system, we must have assessments that work well with all other components. In recent years there has been a push for instruction to become […]


In collaboration with the MIT Education Arcade, we are creating a game-based assessment system that gives students and teachers access to ongoing authentic assessments that measure multiple learner outcomes in a deep and robust way. We are working to re-envision the role of formative assessment in math classrooms using digital games as a vehicle to assess […]

Beyond Rubrics

While there are many benefits of making and makerspaces, one of the greatest challenges of implementing making in K–12 schools is the question of how to assess collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and iterative making practices and outcomes. We believe that it is crucial for educators to design and implement making activities with assessment in mind, to be [...]

Woodrow Wilson Academy Partnership

The Playful Journey Lab is co-designing curriculum and assessment for the Woodrow Wilson Academy (WWA), a new school in Cambridge, MA, that offers a competency-based master’s degree for middle and secondary teacher education. The WWA aspires to develop a model for next generation teacher education, and the Playful Journey Lab contributes to this mission through […]

Thrifty Makerspaces

This project conducts a design-based research to build a systematic approach for developing sustainable makerspaces in resource-constrained schools. These makerspaces aim to instill a maker mindset among the students, whereby they become productive risk-takers and develop a sense of agency over their own learning. The project produces a model for such contextually-relevant makerspaces that sustain [...]

Learning Engineering Project Blueprint

With support from Schmidt Futures, Playful Journey Lab collaborates with the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) on Project Blueprint to synthesize what Learning Engineering means within the MIT community and facilitate and guide working groups to produce work plans. The project will investigate the following questions regarding MIT’s perspectives about Learning Engineering: What are existing […]


Why learn about rubrics? Most people recognize the limitations of standardized testing, but may continue to rely on it because they’re not sure what to do instead. Personalized learning and project based learning allow for more creativity and can lead to deeper learning experiences, but diverse deliverables can be confusing to evaluate. Rubrics to the rescue! […]