Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
12 March, 2024

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration - Educational Insights The MIT NAE Collaboration

As Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) Shanghai, Pudong continues its commitment to enhancing student learning, the collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Nord Anglia Education (NAE) has grown to be a fantastic initiative to foster a dynamic and enriching educational environment for NAIS Pudong students. This partnership, bridging together the expertise of MIT’s faculty and students with Nord Anglia’s global school network, provides our pupils with a distinctive opportunity to develop essential collaborative skills, gain exposure to real-world problems, and participate in challenging competitions.

One of the main benefits of the MIT-NAE collaboration is exposing our students to real-world problems. Curated materials, selected by top MIT faculty and further enhanced upon by MIT masters and doctoral students, provide a unique lens for students to analyse global challenges. Exploring topics such as climate change, sustainable development, and technological advancements deepens students' understanding and cultivates critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Another key advantage is the cultivation of collaborative skills among students through project-based learning. Encouraging teamwork and utilising diverse perspectives helps prepare students for the future workforce and instills in them a sense of global citizenship which may encourage them to make a positive impact on the world. The collaboration emphasises experiential learning, which allows students to acquire practical skills in coding, engineering, and design thinking. This hands-on experience enhances understanding and equips students with valued transferable skills. From developing prototypes to building models, students learn to translate ideas into reality, fostering creativity and innovation.

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration - Educational Insights The MIT NAE Collaboration

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration - Educational Insights The MIT NAE Collaboration

The MIT-NAE collaboration focuses on two primary areas: termly challenges that progressively explore different facets of global issues, and competitive challenges which determine which Nord Anglia students from around the globe get the privilege to visit MIT.

The MIT termly projects are set up in a way where our students are presented with a specific problem or query facing the world right now, and which they need to solve in a collaborative manner. The solutions are driven by student curiosity and creativity, and evolve through a series of related experiments, culminating in the students' holistic understanding of the problem. If at any point the students get stuck, they are encouraged to record their questions to MIT, to which MIT staff will respond in fun and creative ways (many videos are both informational as well as very humorous).

This year, NAIS Pudong plans to draw on one of the previous challenges, collaboratively shaping it to align with some of the topics taught within our classrooms, as well as the broader UN Sustainable Development Goals. As MIT encourages Nord Anglia schools to adapt their challenges to fit the ethos of the individual schools, and maintains a resource bank of their past challenges to use without time or deadline constraints, we have decided to revisit the "Extreme Weather" project, tweak it to add issues such as global warming, and involve subjects classes such as Science, English, Art, and Geography in a week-long activity that aims to synergistically teach students about the issue's impact on society and planet.

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration - Educational Insights The MIT NAE Collaboration

In contrast to the termly challenges, the competition projects are more focused, and adhere to stricter marking guidelines, ensuring that only those students who are truly invested in the creative engineering that MIT demands will be offered a chance to visit their campus and experience first-hand why it’s considered one of the best engineering universities in the world.

Last year, NAIS Pudong had successfully participated in the regional competitions: Yoshiki S and Callum L, both in Year 10, worked tirelessly for two weeks to “Hack the Tube”; a competitive challenge set by MIT for 2022/23 which would decide who had a chance to progress to the finals in Massachusetts. Their determination and hard work paid off as both students managed to win the regionals, and both were extended a prestigious MIT invitation. When asked about what it took to secure that spot, Yoshiki explained that it was grit that got them through – they sacrificed lunch times and stayed after school to be able to complete their projects to a world-class standard. “Time management was key, and we learned how to utilise our time more efficiently,” Yoshiki concluded.

As regional winners, Yoshiki and Callum flew to MIT, and while there participated in additional challenges such as the ‘1/10th challenge’ and the ‘Mass Produce challenge.’ Callum mentioned that he particularly enjoyed the former, as that was an exercise in minimising packaging dimensions, which helped him understand and gain valuable insights into the engineering and design challenges faced by the shipping industry.

Educational Insights: The MIT/NAE Collaboration - Educational Insights The MIT NAE Collaboration

Both students emphasised their appreciation for the unique experience of working and interacting with MIT professors and MIT students who were involved in the NAE collaboration. As a testament to the power of this experience, the MIT visit fueled their passion for further learning and engineering, and led both students to participate in the "F1 in Schools” initiative at NAIS Pudong.

Our school aims to again participate in the regional competition for the 2024-2025 year; many NAIS Pudong students are eagerly waiting for MIT to release this year's competitive format, and we hope to replicate past successes with an even larger number of students this time around.

The MIT-NAE collaboration at NAIS Pudong highlights the benefits of combining global expertise with a focus on practical learning, collaborative skills, and exposure to real-world challenges. It not only shapes the educational experience of participating students, but also sets a standard for innovative and globally-oriented education. The collaboration stands as an extraordinary endeavor, paving the way for students to become well-rounded individuals prepared to navigate the complexities of the future, and we’re excited to see how it continues to develop and benefit the entire NAIS Pudong community.


Written by Mr. Pawel Fulmyk