Interview

Virtual Solutions, Immersive Physical Experiences and Hands-On Learning Experience would be Significant in 2018

Tarun Bhalla

Belives, Tarun Bhalla, Founder & CEO, Avishkaar Box. Bhalla in an interaction with Education Technology…

Please tell us something about Avishkaar Box, Its concept, and uniqueness.

Avishkaar Box is an EdTech startup working on an ecosystem to create engaging educational experiences that spark imagination and fosters innovation among young minds. At Avishkaar Box, our goal is to make products that make Learning Meaningful, Joyful and Insanely Addictive. We truly believe that creating is always more fulfilling and enjoyable than consuming. And we continue to empower our users to just do that. At Avishkaar Box our ideology is to Make the Makers by creating interesting and engaging educational experiences through Robotics that spark imagination and fosters innovation.

Tarun Bhalla

Our in-school Robotics program for children have been taken up by over 500+  Schools across Asia. Avishkaar Robotics –is a flagship program of Avishkaar Box that has inspired thousands of students to take a career in the domain of science and technology over the years. Robotics pedagogy encourages students to make connections across several disciplines rather than learning topics in isolation as it combines Mechanical, Electronic, Electrical and Programming Skills.

Avishkaar Box support and offer prerequisite equipment and solutions to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs as envisioned by NITI Aayog. NITI-AAYOG, Government of India, has taken an initiative for setting up the ATAL TINKERING LABS, where students can work together on innovation projects. It is a flagship innovation promotion program for encouraging the idea of innovation and entrepreneurship among the students in India.  Avishkaar Box has successfully set up Atal Tinkering Labs so far in 80 plus schools pan India.

Some of the benchmark products by Avishkaar Box that has created buzz in the market are: Robby and Bonny- interactive robots for children to encourage them to learn programming and logic building. RobotronicsLITE Kit – is India’s most popular assembly kit that can be used to create different kinds of Robots. Robotronics Full Kit – most advanced programming kit for schools that can be used to create different kinds of Robots like Line Follower, Obstacle Avoider, and the newly launched product is Robotronics X. More information can be found at www.avishkaarbox.com

Tell us something about IRC

Avishkaar Box has been conducting the International Robotronics League , popularly known as the IRC League – a league that aims to celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) since 2009. The league is in its ninth year of challenging young and creative minds by giving them problems and challenges that not only stretch their imagination but also are burning issues. IRC League invites students, coaches and all stakeholders of the society to come together and build a better world for tomorrow using the tools of Science and Technology. The National Finale of IRC League – season 8 was held on 16th December 2017 at The Thyagaraj Stadium, Delhi. Considered as South Asia’s biggest Robotics Competition, the competition brought more than 5000+ students in 130+ teams and 250+ volunteers together to celebrate the passion and achievements of young makers.It was an intense, action packed and amazing event as shared by all who attended it. Team Tech Panthers, the Junior Level team from The Shri Ram School, Aravali was declared the overall champion and has won a sponsored trip to Dubai for participation in the IRC Internationals in June 2018.

What are your Expectations in 2018 from the EduTech Sector

When every other startup is springing with an idea to disrupt the edutech sector, we can expect great improvements in near future. We are hopeful of 2018 bringing significant change in the domain. The Edutech Sector would keep on growing in two extremes. On one hand, virtual solutions would gather further steam whether it is Apps, Desktop softwares or the virtual classrooms. On the other hand, immersive physical experiences like project based, activity based and hands-on Learning experiences would become more mainstream.

For the apps sector, we expect augmented reality to make it big. This is the right mix of immersive and personalised virtual learning. People have already got a taste of Augmented reality in the gaming world and its extension in education a very reasonable ask. Digitisation of study material and presenting the same to a student in an acutely personalised manner to enhance learning and retention will make great progress.

The usage of technology in this pedagogy is fairly straight forward and well known. However, it is the usage of technology in the second kind of educational methodologies (project based learning) that’s a bit counter-intuitive. It has always been a well known fact that hands on learning is more engaging and exciting, but lack of any measurement tools have not been able to lead to its rise. Innovations in the domains of IoT, sensors and embedded electronics allow us for the first time to record and measure learning improvements amongst children while they work on various kinds of projects. Therefore it is this aspect of technology: Hardware, Sensors and the associated AI that shall embed into physical educational solutions and an end to end measurable product will allow for easy adoption.

Another key trend that will become a new norm would be the deep integration of technology in the K-12 sector. Signs of this are ample, whether its adding technology as a core curriculum in various State Boards within India or abroad or setting up Maker Spaces in various schools across the world (or Atal Tinkering Labs closer home in India). There is a tremendous focus in the education system to ensure that the children grow up to be well versed with the usage and creation of technology.

We can also expect a slow but steady downfall of lecture based or single directional learning engagements. There is ample evidence of the same in the colloquial conversations that you may have had within your family or with your younger cousins – the next generation is just not getting engaged with the methods of the past. The completely outdated pedagogy of our schools is producing rote learners who might find it difficult to compete in the contemporary world. A lot of research and experimentation is already underway is more progressive institutions to involve children more the teaching process. So even here we look up to technology to provide innovative solutions.

The prophets of the financial world are also betting on these trends – what can justify the unbelievable valuations attributed to the app companies like Byjus and thumbs down to proven brick and mortar businesses like S Chand. With the big initiative of the the Indian government to promote the tinkering based education in 2017, it is only fair to think that 2018 will become the real harbinger of edutech sector’s phenomenal growth.

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