Education for Innovation
Our training and experiences early on shape the people that we become. Fostering freethinking, critical appraisal, and the generation of ideas and solutions opens doors that we may never have dreamed of. Innovation doesn’t stem from inspiration alone; rather it is the culmination of one’s opportunities (both created and offered), one’s diligence, and one’s hard work. Novel pedagogical methods that stimulate creativity and experimentation lead to big solutions; and yet, these opportunities are often scarce and only available a select few. While university should be a place to learn the theory of our respective field, it should also be a breeding ground for inspiration and innovation. Students and teachers alike need to shift their focus from learning to pass exams and publish papers, and instead devote their time and energy to passionate creation for social good. Rather than prescribing solutions for what we deem to be a population’s problems, we need to immerse ourselves fully and seek out those transformative, lived experiences in order to be truly competent Makers. This type of exposure is at the core of related fields like anthropology and sociology, but is so often overlooked in traditional science. Innovation in science education requires thoughtful and purposeful contextualization of our methods and our impacts on society.
Dr. Christopher Charles is a clinician, inventor and scholar. He has worked as a nutritional epidemiologist and has extensive experience in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of large public health and nutrition projects aimed at improving the lives of poor rural women and children in Asia. Christopher completed a PhD in Biomedical Science & Population Medicine from the University of Guelph. He is the inventor of the Lucky Iron Fish, a novel at-home fortification device that provides dietary iron to anemic women and children. Christopher has worked as a public health and nutrition consultant for various NGOs and UN agencies, and advises the Cambodian Government’s Ministry of Health in the development of national nutrition policy. His research interests are related to food-based approaches to improving nutrition, maternal and child health, and innovative methods of improving food security. Christopher is currently completing his clinical training as an MD candidate at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University. Christopher is also currently serving as Vice President, Global Health for the Canadian Federation of Medical Students – a national advocacy organization that represents the 7000+ medical students in Canada.
"Education for Innovation,"
Discussions on University Science Teaching: Proceedings of the Western Conference on Science Education: Vol. 1
, Article 5.
Available at: https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/wcsedust/vol1/iss1/5