S1-CT3-3 - The Kista Mentorspace; A Novel Method for Knowledge Sharing in Engineering Education

1. Innovative Practice Work In Progress
Mark Smith1
1 Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, KTH

     This is a Work-In-Progress short paper. It describes a novel, knowledge sharing environment that addresses many current problems in technical education. This environment is called the Kista Mentorspace, and is hosted by the Swedish Royal Technical University, KTH. Although the problems it addresses are many, this paper focuses on the following areas.

1. How to provision applied learning and practice to support technical theory as it moves to on-line sources.
2. How to do this in a way that provides convincing value from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
3. How to provide this value and contribution in a very broad sense.

     Item 1 is a problem because current methods, often associated with the makerspace movement [1], tend to focus on access to tools or fabrication skills not necessarily connected to specific courses. The Mentorspace solves this by combining students from different schools during their courses in order to share their knowledge with engineering students. Knowledge sharing then leads to applied practice including tool use, but that aspect is secondary. Item 2 is a complex problem that affects HEIs. communities, and nation states. If one can easily earn a college degree in a digital classroom from a very prestigious university, there may be little reason to go to the local HEI. The Mentorspace solves this for engineering education by tying applied practice to local needs and opportunities within the community. Item 3 is a related problem in that for a HEI to have broad value, it must extend beyond the school itself and include a diversity of schools, local industry, and community government. The Mentorspace solves this by bringing in business and community developers to add local economic and social opportunity to the engineering curriculum. They participate directly in the classroom activities whenever possible.

     In addition to the above, the Mentorspace furthers the role of digitalization and how it changes the operation of schools. The need for such methods has been implicated in a recent report on global education from the World Bank [2]. It also addresses the expectations for Computational Thinking in the educational processes of Nordic countries [3], but does it in a very unique way. Long term mentoring by all participants regardless of age or social position is a cornerstone of the Mentorspace. Success of the space is measured through academic and personal accomplishment, business creation, and contribution to community and social development.


[1] Heath, Carl, Makerskola A project to enable makerspaces in schools that ran from 2015 to 2019. http://makerskola.se/ Last accessed, February 9, 2020.

[2] World Development Report 2018, Learning to Realize Education’s Promise, World Bank Publications, The World Bank Group, ISBN: 978-1-4648-1096-1, 2018

[3] Bocconi, S., Chioccariello, A. and Earp, J. The Nordic approach to introducing Computational Thinking and programming in compulsory education, Report prepared for the Nordic@BETT2018 Steering Group, 2018, https://doi.org/10.17471/54007 Last accessed, February 9, 2020