With the aim to instil future skills in individuals to make India the global hub for talent on emerging technologies, NITI Aayog established Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), few of which are being supported by IBM India in Haryana by engaging SRF Foundation. The aim is to provide over 2 lac students from 6th to 12th grade dedicated workspaces, where they can learn about technology and create their own inventions. With an array of state-of-the-art equipment like 3D printers, Robotics and Electronics development tools, IOT sensors, and other mechanical tools, students are equipped to familiarise themselves with technology, spur creativity and develop 21st century thinking skills like computational thinking, adaptive learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
To put the skills of the trainees to the test, there were several competitions organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with IBM India and SRF Foundation, where the students develop inventions and display what they have learnt in the course of the program. This not only puts their knowledge into practice, but also helps them gain confidence in their abilities.
In the beginning of the year 2020-21, there has been a ceaseless march for accelerating the pace of digital education and virtual learning due to the pandemic. Keeping up with that, SRF Foundation as an implementing agency initiated a month – long ATL ‘Unbox Tinkering’ – Digital Summer Camp at PAN India Level for 500 teachers. Along with that, regular online Teacher training programs for 96 ATL In-charges across government and private schools in 28 States & 3 UTs were also organised by the Foundation. The initiatives enabled learning and exposure of teachers to various technologies like SCRATCH programming, animation, design thinking, ARDUINO programming, Raspberry pi, 3D printing, etc. followed by assignments, weekly competitions and expert guest sessions. A total of 400+ prototype ideas were submitted by participants from around the country out of which top 10 prototypes were chosen to give an introduction to their ideas in front of NITI Aayog officials.
Six days Online Artificial Intelligence Training Program in Basic and Advance Level were organised for 55 Teachers from CBSE and Govt. schools of Haryana where they learned about Basics of AI, its applications, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Design thinking, Computational thinking, Data Analysis etc. Teachers were also introduced to an intermediate level Python course to perform basic programs on AI.
Looking at the success of the program further taken forward promoting of Future Skills through Atal Tinkering Labs & Artificial Intelligence’ among students and educators in Haryana. The year-long program fosters creativity and curiosity among the students and allows for the development of skills through which they can find practical applications of Artificial Intelligence to solve problems of agriculture, health, and infrastructure, to name a few.
This year the program has nurtured 49,000+ students and 860 teachers through Online Trainings, and activities across Haryana and PAN India level, which has helped in the development of 500+ innovative prototypes. Quite a few stakeholders who have been associated with the program have done exceptionally well through the program. Master Paritosh Dahiya from DAV Multipurpose Public School, Sonipat received 2020 Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Shakti Purushkar for developing a ‘Child Friendly Safe Browser’ App from His Excellency Hon’ble Shri. Ram Nath Kovind, President of India. Ms. Noor Beniwal from Vidya Devi Jindal School, Hisar developed a product specially designed for people with hunch backs was declared ‘Tech Creation Champion’ among 50 others across the nation at the prestigious National Challenge for Youth – “Ideate for India – Creative Solutions using Technology” launched by Hon’ble Minister for Electronics & IT, Law & Justice, Shri. Ravi Shankar Prasad in January 2020. And this year, ATL In-charge from GSSS, Bhiwani, Ms. Mamta Paliwal received National Awards to Teachers on Teacher’s Day who wasfelicitated by Hon’ble President of India Shri. Ram Nath Kovind for her exceptional work to improve students’ learning outcomes and the quality of school education. The majority of her contribution has been associated with the Tinkering Labs that are supported by IBM India and facilitated by SRF Foundation.
Introducing children to technology at a young age not only develops technical skills in them, it also helps them in becoming more analytical & critical, makes them gain confidence, and sparks creativity and curiosity. Only a handful of children are exposed to this sort of opportunity early on, and NITI Aayog, IBM India and SRF Foundation are working towards changing that. The program is imparting knowledge and inculcating skills in children who will hopefully one day become pioneers in the technology industry and play a part in the development of the nation.