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MIT meets IVE learning unlimited!
Aug 2011

For two weeks in June, a selected group of IVE students from the Applied Science, Engineering, and Information Technology Disciplines were given the chance of a lifetime. They attended a series of workshops designed and led by nine student-teachers from the Massachusetts institute of Technology (MIT), they are Rebecca GOULD, Elizabeth KIMBALL, Kyle KNOBLOCK, Vibin KUNDUKULAM, Nicholas LEONARD, May LIU, Emily SHAO, Danielle WANG and Danielle WHITED.

Stars in China

The programme, the China Educational Technology Initiative (CETI) is a student-initiated team teaching programme with the goal of promoting both knowledge and cultural exchange between MIT students and their Chinese counterparts. Kyle KNOBLOCK, Student Teacher, MIT explained, “CETI was initially started to help schools in rural China connect to the internet and give them the opportunity to experience the benefits of MIT’s courses via OpenCourseWare. These days, the programme also sends MIT’s brightest students to teach classes in a wide variety of disciplines. This is gives students from both countries the chance to experience and learn from immersion in different cultures.” The programme is aimed at students in secondary schools and universities, and its MIT student facilitators have become ‘stars’ in some of the more remote rural areas – attracting people of ages who show up to learn from the foreign mentors.

IVE students on the two-week programme attended a number of workshops based on their own disciplines, including: Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering and IT and experienced the MIT culture firsthand. James LAU, Senior Project Officer, Vocational Training Council pointed out, “The nine MIT students also took part in a three-day “International Student Seminar” jointly organized by VTC and the Singapore Institute of Technical Education at IVE (Tsing Yi) Three hundred students from both schools attended the seminar, and the nine MIT students acted as advisors. This year’s seminar was focused on energy and sustainability.”

Bro culture and the awkward turtle

The MIT student teachers were not in Hong Kong solely to conduct workshops on science, engineering and IT principles, they also gave daily classes on MIT and American culture, which were a big hit with the students. Rebecca GOULD, Student Teacher, MIT explained, “We talked about food, American culture, movies, TV shows, and even conducted a lesson on Bro culture.” Elizabeth KIMBALL, Student Teacher, MIT added, “The classes also gave the students a chance to share their culture with us. I remember we were talking about the various hand signs kids use in Hong Kong, and we ended up teaching them the Awkward Turtle [a hand sign used in the US to indicate an awkward situation] and the next day, in class, one of the students had an awkward situation and the rest of the class did the Awkward Turtle sign. This class was a great way for students to connect with each other, share their cultures and form a bond far beyond traditional education.”•

After the lessons many of the students continued to hang out with their MIT peers. Vibin KUNDUKULAM highlighted his favourite moment of the programme, “l enjoyed coming to IVE for the second time this year, and am extremely thankful for the warmth and hospitality with which my teammates and me received. My best memory was celebrating my birthday with cake and food in class and a very memorable experience of a hot pot later that night!”

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes…

The MIT student teachers gave some advice to IVE students, “Don’t be afraid about not having the right answer, being wrong and making mistakes; this is all part of learning, but be sure to learn from your mistakes.” This programme showcases that while there are differences between students, there should not be fears about barriers, as all students have one goal: to have fun, or should I say, to learn!

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