Myreach Posts

When the mentor is mentee!

img_20160924_122541September Neev workshop, I again had the privilege to work alongside my mentor Mr Atul Pant and see the magic he weaves silently. This time around, apart from my grade 8th and 9th students, we were also helping grades 6th and 7th tinker along. We tested their knowledge by giving them some challenging builds of electronic circuits. We guided them and gave them clues to solving circuit problems while they struggled to work together and accomplish the set objectives. The workshop was filled with excited students scurrying around to use the various parts and components at their disposal and become the first to solve a tense puzzle.

Nurturing Tinkersteers at IT’s Magic

It is fun to call ourselves as Tinkersteers– musketeers of new age who are engaged in self learning through tinkering.  And I am happy to be part of this community. July workshop at IT’s Magic, computer center for Neev seemed well received. I found the children who came for the workshop, most of them from VIII and  IX grades, eager and keen enthusiasts. They wanted the workshop to go on. Many of them asked when next?

In August workshop we explored

Sowing the foundations for tinkering at IT’s Magic

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Tinkering with electronics and robotics visits IT’s Magic!

Saturday morning on 23rd July began with an introduction to simple circuits and what electricity is all about for these kids.

Day 4 – Bhuj Workshop

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The students of the schools  were to exhibit what they made in a school exhibition. The exhibition began very slowly for me. I had only three students of grade 11th exhibiting what they made during their workshop with me.

After looking at other subjects- English, Biology, Physics, Chemistry… and their exhibits, the exhibits of robotics and programming looked kind of dry and empty.

This was my first exhibition at another school for which I had trained the students of that school on a subject in which they had gone in for the first time. It made me realize my workshop had trained them for robotics and all but I had forgotten to plan for the exhibition.

Soon students of other schools began pouring into the exhibition of student work at White Eagles’ School but were walking past our exhibits. It made me feel as if the robotics and programming was least interesting of all. Nonetheless, one curious little tot walked towards the exhibits.

Day 3 – Bhuj Workshop

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Today, I learnt how to do a jugad: a workable, spur of the moment solution. I decided to teach MIT’s Scratch to all classes today but of course, I had no idea how to begin – how to begin to teach coding to children who have not done coding before.

I looked up to the God of Jugad (if there is one) for an invocation. Soon enough, my prayers were heard and a clever idea came to my head of teaching those modules in Scratch that I used the most myself.

Day 2 – Bhuj Workshop

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I disassembled the robotic kits that I made yesterday so that they could be used again today. This has been a big learning for me. It may have be easy to take as many kits as the number of children but many children in other schools await such opportunity therefore it is necessary that the same resources be spread to cover more children hence the kits had to be reused. This added resource management angle to the workshop which is a learning!

Some of the robotic kits, I realised, were not used to making durable robots so after yesterday’s workshop, I was left with 2 out of 4 robots of each type as remaining were either malfunctioning or had parts that were missing.Even though robotics kits in the scheme of  Line Follower or Obstacle Avoider were selected with assembling and reassembling in mind but they could not stand the test of handling and tinkering.

People who are conducting such workshops should remember  that these kits at the end of the day are parts curated from China, India or some such tech manufacturing hub where eye is to manufacture to scale and not to quality.

Day 1- Bhuj Workshop

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I would be working with grades 9 to 12 of The White Eagle School, Bhuj over the next four day period, starting 11th April. I was anxious as well as excited. Anxious whether I will able to handle it smoothly and initiate the students into electronics and robotics with as much engagement and excitement as I myself have. Excited also I was – to see how the dynamics of self learning, to see how tinkering with robotics will take students like myself into a whole new world.

Charging the Power to Learn

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The flow of electricity churns the spirit of invention in me. Electronics is so simple to understand and manipulate; the first time I made a light Theremin using light sensors, a resister, a piezo and a button cell, the glee I felt when the music of my own creation played was beyond this world. The power to bend electricity through wires and LED’s make me feel as if I am in possession of an intangible power that resembles that of Jedis.