Preparing to “drink from the fire hose”.

Last year I applied for a professional fellowship from my school and was lucky enough to be successful with my application and I was awarded a fund to pursue an area of education I was passionate about. Now, 9 months later, I am preparing jet off to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend a short course on technology and innovation at MIT. I knew that with this great opportunity I wanted to study at a leading educational establishment and MIT seemed to be the perfect fit for me as my passions include learning, technology and STEM education. I have visited MIT before as a tourist in 2015 (see pics below) and I felt incredibly impressed by its grounds, buildings, museum and facilities. The campus had a real buzz and energy, it felt like a place brimming with great ideas, knowledge and people doing amazing things.

Me at MIT campus September 2015
Image from the MIT Museum

Cambridge and Boston are also lovely places to visit and spend time. The chance to return and be a student at MIT for a few days was too good an opportunity to pass on, so I applied to the course in December last year and was soon accepted. In a few months I would be on my way to MIT!

Aerial view of MIT campus, Cambridge, MA

Since being accepted onto the course last December I have been busy organising flights, hotels and other travel arrangements to get me there. I have had tremendous support from colleagues at school which has made the process a whole lot easier.

A little bit more about the course…

The course is titled ‘Innovation: Beyond the Buzzword’, it is centred on design thinking and will consist of lectures by MIT faculty staff as well as guest speakers. We shall also discuss case studies, go on learning expeditions around the campus and Cambridge, have hands-on experiences with some cutting-edge technology, participate in group work and finally a class hackathon. We aim to emerge as more critical thinkers, more knowledgeable about what innovation is (and what it is not), how it happens, how to discern meaningful trends in design and technology and how to identify opportunities and propose innovative solutions.

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So, what is innovation and why it is important? Innovation is changing the way you do something, doing something new and different. To discover why innovation is important think about where we would be without innovation. Innovative people and ideas change and shape the modern world. Innovation is progress, it means we move forwards as a society, as a country as a human race. Innovation means we enjoy a higher and sustainable standard of living and that we are secure and healthy. I am excited to learn more about innovation and participate in new and exciting learning activities at a world class education organisation.

MIT has many notable alumni, a few names you might recognise are:

  • Kofi Annan
  • Salman Khan
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Ben Bernanke
  • Benjamin Netanyahu
  • Richard Feynman

Further, 29 MIT alumni have won a Nobel Prize and more than one third of the nation’s space flights have included MIT educated astronauts and 4 of the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon during the Apollo missions were MIT alumni. Basically, a scary amount of exceptional people have passed through MIT over 100 years of education!

So, with less than 2 weeks to go I am starting to get very excited! I still have a few things to organise, to pack, and plan some fun activities to do during the time away from the course. During my trip I shall continue to blog and tweet so please keep coming back to read and see pictures from my trip.