E-teams in D-lab: Promoting Invention and Innovation for International Development

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-lab is a four-part series of courses and field trips that focus on international development, appropriate technologies, and sustainable solutions for communities in developing countries. In the fall, students focus on issues of international development and appropriate technology and partner with community organizations in developing countries to apply what they have learned. During the winter Independent Activities Period (IAP), students travel to their partner organizations to implement their projects and identify other possibilities for collaboration. In the spring, students learn about the design process and apply it to create solutions to the problems identified on their field trip. Over the summer, students return to their field sites to implement their designs, conduct field tests, and get user feedback.

NCIIA funding helps to expand the design portion of the class to include E-Teams. 10-15 E-Teams work through the design process and construct prototypes using design methodologies and rapid-prototyping tools presented throughout the term. Guest speakers talk about their successes and failures, providing insight into project implementation strategies.