Harvard Graduate School of Education | Project Zero

Current Projects

Agency by Design is a multiyear research initiative investigating the promises, practices, and pedagogies of maker-centered learning experiences.

Art Works at Work is an initiative to create and evaluate an art-based approach to organizational development in partnership with the staff at Independent Schools Victoria, a training organization for independent schools in Victoria, Australia.

Children Are Citizens is grounded in the belief that children are not just future or hypothetical citizens—rather, they are citizens of the city in the here and now, with the right to express their opinions and participate in the civic and cultural life of Washington, DC. As the world becomes increasingly connected and interdependent, knowledge of ourselves as individual learners and as members of a community becomes more important. People need to be able to listen to one another, to work together to identify and solve problems, and to acknowledge and respect diverse points of view. When children grow up in a culture and begin their schooling with support for thinking, feeling, and acting in groups, they are more likely to participate in and practice democracy as informed and caring citizens.

Cultures of Thinking is a collaboration with Bialik College in Melbourne, Australia. The project looks at the process of creating a school-wide culture of thinking that supports the development of students' thinking dispositions.

The Future of Learning: Preparing Professionals in Education for a Changing World[FoL] is a Project Zero-led Harvard Graduate School of Education Professional Education program designed to advance new conceptualizations of learning, explore their implications for educational practice, and nurture a generation of informed educational visionaries. A part of the Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching -- a catalyst for transforming students’ educational experiences across Harvard University, in Cambridge and around the world -- the FoL team is designing and piloting a novel professional learning environment.

The Good Project is an ensemble of research projects designed to understand the nature of various “goods” and, importantly, to promote their realization in our time.

Through its variety of components, the Good Project investigates realms such as work (Good Work), civic participation (Good Citizenship), organizational collaboration (Good Collaboration), family life (the Family Dinner Project), conceptions of quality (Quality), and the use of digital media amongst youth (Good Play). 

The Good Project has designed a range of public materials that concern and promote these “goods,” including toolkits, books, research papers, and other publications and events. The project welcomes inquiries and is open to possible collaborations.

The Good Play Project: Inspired by the Good Project, since 2007, our Good Play research group been studying the relationship between the new digital media and young people’s development and sense of ethics, imagination, intimacy, and other themes. The Good Play Project is focused on the ways young people think about, and manage, moral and ethical issues as they engage with new media, including online social networks, blogs, games, and content-sharing sites.

The Interdisciplinary and Global Studies
Project examines the challenges and opportunities of interdisciplinary work carried out by researchers, college faculty, secondary school teachers, and students in a variety of research and educational contexts. We work on a novice-expert paradigm: Building on an empirical understanding of the cognitive, social, emotional, and institutional dimensions of interdisciplinary work among experts working in exemplary institutions, our project develops frameworks and practical tools to understand interdisciplinary student learning and guide quality interdisciplinary education.

Leading Learning that Matters (LLM): Across the globe, nations, states, and school districts are attempting to shift the quality of learning and school leadership to better address changing workforce and community needs in the twenty-first century. The LLM project is a four-year collaboration with the Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), Australia to document rich cases of what leading learning that matters looks like in a variety of cultural, urban, and rural K-12 contexts in the state of Victoria.

Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA): Founded in 2000, Learning Innovations Laboratory (LILA) is a consortium of researchers and practitioners who are leaders in the field of organizational learning and change. They collaborate by sharing experimental work and emerging thinking in order to generate effective future practices. With the input of academic experts from a variety of disciplines, these leaders collectively become a ‘learning lab’ in which they learn with and from one another about the contemporary challenges of human learning and innovation in organizations.

Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn is part of the Worldwide Cultures of Thinking Project and aims to develop the ability of students at Mandela International Magnet School in Santa Fe, New Mexico as thinkers and learners.

Out of Eden Learn: In January 2013, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Paul Salopek set off on foot from the cradle of humankind—the Rift Valley of Ethiopia—to walk for seven years across the world along the pathways of the first human migration out of Africa. This journey, called Out of Eden Learn, will span 2,500 generations of human history and 21,000 miles of the Earth’s surface. While walking, Salopek will use our deep past as a sounding board for interpreting current events. With support from the Abundance Foundation, Harvard’s Project Zero will facilitate deep, authentic, and collaborative on-line learning experiences free of charge for middle and high school students based around the world. The multicultural, cross-border nature of Project Zero’s proposed learning model parallels the underlying philosophy of Salopek’s physical walk which draws attention to the interconnectedness of all human lives.

ROUNDS at the Harvard Graduate School of Education: All professions must address the problem of how their practitioners stay abreast of current developments in that field and continue practicing clinical skills. Medicine is distinguished by various forms of professional learning practices known as “rounds.” Education has far fewer opportunities of this kind for lifelong professional learning. At Project Zero we have been engaged since 1995 in an effort to create a powerful learning community based on this medical model. The intent was to create an opportunity for educators who shared an interest in the collaborative assessment of student work to gather voluntarily on a regular basis to discuss emerging issues in educational practice, to present their personal puzzles about teaching and learning, and to practice looking at student work together.

Talking With Artists Who Teach: Many artists, in addition to their artistic practice, maintain a rich and dedicated teaching practice. Though the popular notion is that artists teach to supplement their income, this study is premised on the understanding that teaching is, for many, an opportunity to think deeply about the nature of art, their own artistic practice, their own growth and development, and what and how others learn in and through the arts.
The Understandings of Consequence Project: Dealing with many of the world’s most pressing problems requires an ability to understand and reason about causal complexity. Yet paradoxically, students’ difficulties learning science have been linked to how they reason about complex causal forms. Understanding the nature of causality is critical to learning a range of science concepts from “everyday science” to the science of complexity.