Collaboration and Mentorship

Fostering collaboration and mentorship among participants

Designing collaboration into the Makeathon is essential to its success, as it helps to build a strong sense of community and allows participants to learn from one another. Here are some ways to promote collaboration and peer mentorship among participants:

  1. Team formation: Encourage participants to form teams with diverse skills and backgrounds. This can help to foster collaboration and promote peer mentorship among team members. It helps with knowledge sharing and upskilling and introduces the students to new ideas they might not have encountered if they had simply stuck with their friends.

  2. Icebreaker activities: Start the Makeathon with icebreaker activities that help participants get to know each other and build trust. This can help to create a positive and collaborative environment and it can also build empathy among students.

  3. Mentorship program: You could create a mentorship program where more experienced participants can mentor and guide newcomers. This can help to build a sense of community and promote peer mentorship.

  4. Collaboration spaces: Set up collaboration spaces where participants can work together on their projects. This can help to facilitate collaboration and peer mentorship among participants.

  5. Work-in-progress sessions: Organise regular show-and-tell sessions where participants can share their progress and get feedback from others. This can help to promote collaboration and peer mentorship among participants.

  6. Group Mentoring: This is something that we always do in MTF Makeathons and is a great way to build a whole team culture. Assign each group to mentor another group (for instance, Group 1 mentors Group 2; Group 2 mentors Group 3; and Group 3 mentors Group 1). Arrange times during which each group can present to their mentor group, remembering that you cannot mentor while you are being mentored, so these have to be scheduled at separate times. The task of the mentoring group is to listen to the group that they are mentoring and learn about their project - then do whatever they can to improve their project. You should emphasise that this is not a competition and that everyone wins when all projects are as good as they can possibly be.

  7. External games and activities: If possible, it is a great idea to organise activities for the students outside of the Makeathon. This can include field trips, visits to a science museum, games and picnics or an evening meal together. This helps build a great team culture that creates a positive atmosphere and improved results during the makeathon itself.

By fostering collaboration and peer mentorship, you can create a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages participants to learn from one another and work together to create innovative solutions.

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