I personally love the concept of hacking around with friends and making new things by tinkering with existing stuff. It is essential for engineers to be able to break things apart and find new ways of putting them together. That's creativity to me in short.
"Maker Culture" is a term associated with a movement taking place all over the world that recognises the fact that Innovation requires an ecosystem of nurture and collaboration. One of the things that I had promised my volunteers at Maker Party Kochi Learning stations was to set up such an environment at CUSAT.
An excellent opportunity soon surfaced where Mr Sijo Kuruvilla, founding CEO of Startup Village, Kochi expressed his willingness to guide myself and my friend Meher in setting up an open Learning space in CUSAT. The idea was to enable the participants to become independent learners by taking part in MOOCs and then go on to collaborate and build on new ideas, a creative space for learning and sharing.
The activities of the space began with an inauguration by Sijo where he discussed on the importance of online learning and 21st century skills. In the following days, the "tinkerers" interacted with Entrepreneurs from Kochi and Bangalore.
Jibin Jose, Founder Flip Technologies talked on How to get selected and get exposure from programs like the SV Square, NASA Mars Rover Challenge and Flat6Labs, the accelerator program his company has been selected for. He advised the students to apply for all opportunities and learn from the mistakes made in the application. He also added that asking for feedback is an essential skill to be picked up quickly.
The students took part in a couple of curated MOOCs on Web Development and Mobile App development. We even assembled together a 3D printer thanks to DIYHacking's Aravind Sanjeev. The students got an opportunity to get a hands on feel for rapid hardware prototyping.
We formed a couple of clubs within the community, a Reader's club and an Algorithms club. A particular discussion on various means of consuming content apart from books lead us into talking about the effectiveness of alternative media like audio-books, blogs, and applications like FlipBoard.
More talks on Entrepreneurship, skill development and technology followed with the likes of Akash Mathew, CEO of CIED Technologies, Safwan Eroth, CEO of Tridz, a software development firm based in Bangalore and Midhun Sankar, CEO of Verbitio as speakers.
With the end of the academic year and onset of exams, we closed doors with a promise to reopen a much bigger learning experience in the coming months.