January Term, or J-Term, at HGSE is intense. At least, for the 104 of us who took HT-123 Informal Learning for Children, it was a whirlwind, but a worthwhile one. HT-123 is a four-credit class spread over two weeks, instead of a full semester, like all other 4-credit offerings. Yes–a one semester class in two weeks.

It was incredible, though, and I loved it all.

We had class every day from 10am to 6pm, followed by group meetings every day (3 to 5 hour ones as the class progressed). Professor Blatt brought in guest lecturers everyday who are experts within the field of informal learning–these experts included the Executive Vice President of Sesame Street, the CEO of Rockstar video games, the Executive Producer and one of the writers from Glee, the Knowledge Manager and Program Director of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the programming and directors of learning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and various others I’m forgetting. Also, every day, a group of students were randomly selected to have lunch with one of our visiting guests, and I got to have lunch with the VP of Sesame Street Global! So cool.

For the project component of this class, we worked in teams to develop our own informal learning intervention and we had to develop a formal grant proposal and then pitch our idea to several industry heads for feedback. Our group’s idea was the Media Mobile, a mobile digital studio (ie. a media bus!) that taught digital ethics and citizenship through the process of digital media production.

In some ways, it was really freeing to only have to think about one class and one commitment for those two weeks. But yes, it was definitely intense! Had a lot of fun and learned a ton–such a worthwhile experience.

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