Science Education Tourism

I was talking with a friend a while back about this group called Exosphere LINK, and he brought up the idea of “Science Education Tourism”. That is, traveling to places where people have an awesome setup and getting hands on experience. This was when he was on his way down to Grindfest, which is a bi annual meetup of diy bodyhackers and future tech enthusiasts. I think you guys know about it.

The revolution in online education happened. It came and went and nobody really cared. Not the way that we wanted, not the people who mattered, like the person who is going to hire you. Even proponents of the system will be hard pressed if you walk in to your interview with a stack of Mozilla badges and no formal education or bench experience. So experience is really the best thing you can acquire. Then you have the other issues with self education, like sometimes you miss the breadth of background necessary to move forward because it never occurs to you to study a certain thing. To be fair, these same issues can be attributed the current educational system. People come out with a degree and no experience, or a degree that is so specific it can’t be applied to other areas.

Exosphere does that new future tech type stuff (AI, 3d printing, blockchain tech, etc) that we all get all excited about, except they have money backing them and focus. Basically Grindfest, but with backers, and a theme every time everyone meets up. They call in people from the field that they are currently excited about and then you show up and do a hands on bootcamp about that thing. You live at the site, you do workshops everyday. You do this more multiple weeks.

Right now there is one on artificial intelligence. People from Singulartiy U and Turing Inc (and some others I can’t recall) are there and they’re doing hands on (keyboard) mentoring with people. In January they are doing an incubator. A bunch of people will be there talking about various technologies (3d prinitng, blockchain, synthetic biology) and everyone is working on coming up with an idea to bring to the table and actually crank out in the 8 weeks of time available.
Next summer is a 3 month synthetic biology workshop. Not much info about that right now.

The thing is, all of these happen in various locations. Now this is just one part of it. Then you take Grindfest and add that to the mix, add a couple of conferences in for variety (like the bodyhackingcon in Austin) and string it all together with a visit to the various maker, grinder, and diybiolabs and you can basically take half year and get a pretty awesome hands on education in emerging technologies.

What’s even better is even though you are bouncing all over the place, the cost of doing this is probably less than 2 quarters at… well just about anywhere here in the United States that’s a ‘proper’ university.

It keeps coming back to the same things.
Access to tools, access to information.

Currently, people are still in a position where they don’t get these things unless they are already in a University or in Industry. Basically, the people who should be developing the future, are being denied the tools to do so. Programs like this allow people to get access to the tools and the education, without all the hoops to jump through that come with the university experience.

So, what do you think? Travel the world and get hands on experience programming, 3d printing, and biology? Does this sound like the type of thing y’all are interested in?


6 thoughts on “Science Education Tourism”

    1. is in the link in the above post. If you poke around on, you can find more info about Grindfest.
      You can search around for a local maker or diybio space.

      Let me know what you are looking for 🙂

  1. agreed that this is an enticing option to access the tools/info (and agreed that academia/industry are for the most part hogging those [as a taxpayer, i can’t imagine why i’d have to pay for journal article once for the researcher to research, again for the journal to publish and once more to access it myself!]), but i think it still comes down to organizing all these things in a digestible way “for the masses”.

    e.g. the half year vision you laid out sounds exciting, but it’s only feasible because you said it was… i.e. i have to trust your instinct and see if i should be able to make it happen myself. for those of us without enough of your background, it might be more difficult to wrap our mind around logistically pulling off such a hiatus.

    regardless, why don’t you put up a roughly sketched yet more detailed spreadsheet of such options (at least so that we could see the fields you include, i.e. your considerations, in a venture like that, i.e. cost, time, location, expected benefit, totals to show for each… couchsurfing suggestions?? haha); this way we could “jump in” at a level where it’s more difficult to screw up the outcome and thereby get a better feel for the details that inform the vision itself and/or what we might want to customize to our own…

    …is what i think. haha to be candid, i’ve got to finish my degree before i can think about anything else, but i like to stay posted here sometimes, and thanks for your thoughts.

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