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Developing skills to solve problems from a young age (Update 3: June 3 - Videos, images and attachments added)

Prepare kids to solve problems from a young age so that they are ready to face societal challenges when they are older.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Background: The education system in India focuses so much on rote learning, that it exists in every level: primary schools, high schools, undergraduate, and graduate levels. This is more or less, a teacher talking about a concept, the student reading it in a textbook, and writing it in the exams by blatantly memorizing the concept. Such a method is the easier alternative when compared with the more effective project based learning, and hence widely used in India. For example, if you ask a student studying in high school what humidity is, their response will be the definition, quoted right from the text book. But when you ask where it applies, they do not know. This is because they are not exposed to a situation where the concept could be applied. The problem: The biggest drawback is that it limits the understanding to only what someone has memorized, and doesn't allow them to use these concepts in practice, in the real world. This especially pertains to school kids who have no way to approach a issue. If one is taught to solve problems from a young age using the concepts learnt at schools, it would make it easier to solve societal problems when they are older. This is crucial for the progressive development of the society. The project: Elementory The objective of elementory is to help nurture the creativity of kids so that they learn to solve real life problems. This works in two phases. Phase 1: The kids are shown how to use prototyping tools such as arts and crafts supplies, arduinos, simple block programming, and a bit of electronics. Through this, they work on a project that uses the concepts that they learn at schools. Phase 2: The kids participate in a open-ended design challenge. The problem will be something which is found within the society. The way to solve these problems is up to them. The technology used here is just a facilitator to help them understand the applications of the concepts they learn at schools.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Kids aged 11-13 years and schools within Bangalore.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

There are several studies which prove that the education system in India is inadequate: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Indian-students-rank-2nd-last-in-global-test/articleshow/11492508.cms There are many organizations which teach robotics to kids through workshops and some schools have included it in their extra curricular activities. However, there is no correlation between the robotics curriculum and what is taught in classes, without any focus on creative problem solving. Elementory focuses on giving kids the opportunity to solve real life problems with the concepts they have already learnt at their schools. By mapping projects to their school's curriculum, kids would be able to understand that what they learn are not just words inside a textbook, but have real world applications. After finishing a project, the kids participate in an open-ended design challenge giving them an opportunity to creatively solve a real life challenge

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Elementory focuses on delivering real life problem solving experiences to school kids in India. Website: https://elementory.in __________________________________________________________________ p.s. The website is constantly updated, and the update involving the recent change-- our focus on schools-- needs to be included. But other than that, it shows all the work that we have been doing till now.

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered company.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

There is a vicious cycle of rote learning in India: A teacher instructs theory from text books, the students memorize the text book, and write exams, the student grows up knowing only this and passes this along to the subsequent generation. This inhibits creative thinking -- the one important thing that every kid has. By doing so, we are deliberately pushing towards an unfavorable future. As someone who has lived within this cycle, I can say that it is time to end it for a better future.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Unfortunately, adults who are not able to solve problems of their nation will hinder its prosperity, and the world in general. Kids who don't understand that problems can be solved creatively in different ways, will be not able to represent various industries in the future, which could make them have the least bit of interest in dealing with social issues. This interferes with peaceful coexistence. There is a gap in the way kids learn in schools which inhibits their ability to effectively solve problems when they grow up. Education must use technology as a facilitator to solve problems and not necessarily as the final solution. The STEM curriculum used in India doesn't focus on creativity, when it is a fact that kids have it in abundance! The most effective way to bridge peace and prosperity is starting from when one is still young. In the long term: This idea leads to kids becoming empowered, responsible and rational citizens, protecting our planet, and bridging all three.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We conduct workshops in various neighborhoods of Bangalore. We are also working along with a school (Parikrama Center for learning) to test our ideas with the kids studying there. All photos at the beginning show the different workshops we have had till April of 2018. After doing enough primary and secondary research, we have been testing this idea since October of 2017. We initially began doing workshops in apartments in different neighborhoods of Bangalore. Currently, we still conduct workshops in apartments, but not with the frequency with which we began. Our primary focus has shifted to working with schools and the kids who study there. This allows us to have a bigger impact.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

We have been working with experts who have worked with CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education; defines and prepares the academic curriculum for 19,316 schools in India). We also have parents who have been spreading the word about our work and giving us feedback on what their kid had learned. We have school kids, who are genuinely able to relate the things they learn at schools with how they are used in daily lives. We are also partnered with local makerspaces to conduct workshops.

Geographic Focus

India. The current focus is on the schools in the city of Bangalore.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The estimated timeline is 14 to 18 months.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (3)

Elementory UX map.pdf

User Experience Journey of both phases

Use case- Weather Station Workshop.pdf

A use case during the workshops

Questions answered in comments -1 (June 3, 2018).pdf

Some of the questions in the comments section that were answered are collected into this one document.

43 comments

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Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Anne-Laure Fayard Elana Blinder Tuba Naziruddin Luz Gallo Borislav Zlatanov Charles Betterton, MSCED Genevieve Emily Kruger 

Thank you all for the questions asked, and the suggestions you gave. Your feedback was very valuable. It has helped us a lot and my team is moving forward with developing the MVP.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo thank you for sharing your idea. It's been really inspiring to see what you've been working on. It's great to see you embracing the human-centered design mindset to improve education in India. Please don't hesitate to reach out off line. I'd love if you could me updated on the next iterations of your prototype. Best of luck!

Photo of Tuba Naziruddin
Team

Rodney Lobo  it's great to hear this. All the best to your team . Looking forward to learn more

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Greetings Rodney and congratulations on your project to help youth learn successful problem solving skills! Similar to this BridgeBuilder Challenge, the MacArthur Foundation issued a $100 million dollar Request for Proposals to "address problems that affect people, places and planet." Based on decades of experience in the community economic development principles and practices of self-help, empowerment and capacity-building, we responded to the RFP and introduced our Expanding the Circle of Success Education and Empowerment strategy as "Bridging the access to creative-thinking, problem-solving and other successful living skills divide" (www.100millionsolutions.com/our-strategy/ ) The idea we shared here from our non-profit University for Successful Living is very similar to that campaign and is synergistic with yours "Facilitating Prosperity, Peace and Planetary Sustainability by Providing Expanded Access to Successful Life, Work & Entrepreneurship Skills!"

Perhaps some of the materials and resources we have developed and or obtained access to may be helpful in support of your programs. For example we have materials on: Creative Thinking and Problem Solving; Developing a Positive Mental Attitude; Harnessing the Power of Affirmations and Visualization; Using Effective Decision Making Strategies; Setting and Achieving Goals; Motivating Yourself and Others; Developing a Success and Prosperity Consciousness; Getting the Greatest Value Out of Self-Help Materials, etc.

We have developed Discernment Grids that help evaluate which of various possible actions should produce the greatest benefits and we also utilize a very powerful "Means End Problem Chain Problem Solving Formula" developed by Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri here in the US. If you would be interested in exploring possible collaboration, please send an email to ceo@universityforsuccesssfulliving.org. Best wishes on your project and congratulations for sharing it here!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hello Charles Betterton, MSCED 
Thank you for sharing about the resources. I would like to check them out, but I am not able to open the link to the website. It seems to be broken. Do you have any other links?

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Hi Rodney thank you for asking. I am away on an emergency family medical situation and will check into the issue as soon as possible. Our web development team is in the UK and I know they are working on making a major change in our hosting services. As soon as I have any information from them, I will be better able to ensure you can access the requested details. Thanks again!

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Hi Again Rodney, That web site is now working where we introduced our strategy "Bridging the access to creative-thinking, problem-solving and other successful living skills divide" (http://www.100millionsolutions.com/our-strategy/). If you are interested in more specific information, please let me know the details and I will find the best way to share whatever we have that might be useful in support of your programs.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you, Charles.

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Thank YOU Rodney! You MIGHT find some value in the information that was just shared with me about the possibility of "Humanizing the Blockchain" and an initiative that relates to Peace, Prosperity and our Planet! I am amazed at the ultimate blockchain opportunities that I have only recently been introduced to. As a community economic development specialist who resonates with Bucky Fuller's vision of "betterment for 100% of humanity", I especially appreciate how this initiative is dedicated "For the good of all humanity."

The founders and the organization are guided by and committed to the 17 Sustainable Development (SDG) goals that were established to bring peace and prosperity to all humans by 2030 by the United Nations and signed by 193 World Leaders in 2015. For a brief overview see the Unify Earth: Harmonizing the Blockchain Official White Paper and other introductory information at www.ultimateblockchainopportunities.com. There is also a beautiful free mini-ebook created by Christopher Lee Van Buren of Launch Moxie that was developed for Earth Day available at www.ultimatemanifestoforthefuture.com. #unifyearth

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Anne-Laure Fayard Elana Blinder Tanvi Sinha Luz Gallo 

Hi guys,

I have attached more documents, a link on the study to prove the inadequacy of the education system in India (in the How is your idea unique section, as there is not more space elsewhere), and some videos on previous workshops.The schools are reopening after the summer vacation on the 4th of June.

We have been discussing with the administration, and are planning a workshop at Parikrama by the 15th of June. This is going to be an introductory workshop.
We are planning to use something like the Grit scale to measure the effectiveness of the workshop, but do you have any suggestions that we could use?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thank you Rodney Lobo for all these updates. It was nice to see that you used the egg-dropping challenge in one of your workshops. Looking at all your videos, I think you have now enough materials to start thinking of doing a video that could show what your concept is about with small excerpts illustrating what you are offering. You could do a mix of footages and illustrations like what Adhish Patel and his team did for their Incubator idea last year. I find the slide with phase 1 and phase 2 very useful to understand your concepts. I might have missed the user experience journey. I really recommend having you adding this. It's great that you added the reference on the Indian educational context. Reading your idea again, I really can't prevent myself to think of all the work that has been done in the educational literature and I really encourage you to refer to this body of research as it will give more legitimacy to your work (see the references I provided as well as those provided by Elana Blinder ). You are really embracing their philosophy so it's just about referencing the work they have done and the theories they developed to ground your project.
Regarding your question about evaluation, that's a tricky question. Are you referring to A. Duckworth's grit theory? I'm not sure if that's the best way to evaluate the impact of your workshops in particular as you are making a claim that these workshops also allow students to better grasp and understand concepts they learnt in the classroom. Am I right? If it's the case, you can of course do a quick evaluation of their knowledge before and after the workshop but it might have a negative impact on your participants. A longer approach (but more powerful) would be to work with the schools and do a longitudinal study looking at the grades of students before attending your workshops and after. It could also include qualitative observations from the teachers. In general, I don't think you can really evaluate the impact of one single workshop. You can also try to assess how attending your workshop increases the creative confidence of participants but again I would avoid a survey. You might ask them a few questions at the end and also maybe have external observers looking at their interactions and evaluating the way they collaborate and what are the solutions they come up with in the design challenges. In all cases, I would invite you at this point to focus on qualitative data and work with the schools to develop a longitudinal data to assess the impact in terms of knowledge understanding and retention. I'm not an expert but from what I've read and seen, and from discussions with colleagues in the education realm, this seems to be the best approach Elana Blinder who has much more hands-on experience and knowledge in this field might have other ideas.
Good luck with the upcoming workshop and keep iterating on this great idea!

Photo of Elana Blinder
Team

As Anne-Laure Fayard said, it's highly unlikely that you would see any major learning outcomes or mindset changes from a single workshop, although I still think it's worth measuring (if for no other reason than it will give you practice and insight into developing these types of measures). I would keep it very simple. Ask kids to write down or illustrate the scientific theory you'll be covering in the workshop before you begin and then give them the opportunity to do this again at the end and/or to write down how the workshop either helped to confirm--or inspire revisions to--their original thinking. You could then create a rubric to assess the different variables you want to learn about. (Here is an example of a simple rubric I created to analyze student engagement in a design thinking workshop: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ELB2eWXx3MojT6Ou0RT9y3RY919QFZU5GQgmkB88VwU/edit?usp=sharing .)

If you also have the capacity to collect and analyze qualitative data, I think this would probably provide more insight into mindsets like "grit," self-efficacy/creative confidence, etc.) and into learning as well. And it could enable you to better understand what elements of the program are having the strongest impact and in what ways (content knowledge reinforcement, conceptual growth, mindset development, etc.). It might also provide a clearer picture of how the workshop impacts different types of student subgroups (for example, maybe some aspect of your approach works really well for extroverted students, but proves more challenging for introverts). Capturing students' specific language and conversations can be really powerful. I used simple digital voice recorders on the table to capture partner dialogue during a design thinking workshop I ran with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders (and made sure the students understood that they were being recorded--this is important!!!) and it totally changed my perspective about what "on task" behavior can look like, and helped me recognize which elements of my workshop design were not resonating with students at this developmental stage. You could also come up with 2 or 3 interview questions you'd like to ask individual students/student groups at specific points while they are working (video recording these interviews, if possible). This would allow you to be systematic in your data collection and oriented toward whichever goal(s) you hope to measure, while still leaving room for the type of insight you can only gain from rich qualitative data.

Hope this helps!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Anne-Laure Fayard 

The slides only have the images of the two phases. I have attached two pdf documents (they are at the bottom) which explain in detail how the two phases work, and also an example of journey of a kid during a workshop.

I should have been a bit clearer. This will be an introductory workshop in a series.
I was indeed referring to Duckworth's theory and I understand your concern. We will do the qualitative evaluation before and after the workshop. Good point about the long study. I will have a word with the administrators regarding this.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Elana Blinder This certainly helps!

This will be an introductory workshop in a series of workshops. I also think using a rubric will suitable for this first workshop. I had not considered the introvert/extrovert subgroups. I think we will have to modify the workshop a little to suit this. I will definitely be taking notes on the way the workshop proceeds and how the kids interact.
Video interviews might not be feasible because we have the space for a limited time, so setting things will take the time allotted for the workshop and also the workshop is happening after school hours. But I will be able to do audio recordings.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Rodney Lobo Hi Rodney, really interesting project! We share the view that there are better ways to increase the effectiveness of education. My company, Talking Stickers, has done some piloting of our technology in India. However, we are focused on younger children about 3-7, but the idea we believe is that a wider more diverse vocabulary at a young age is critical to future academic achievement and likely creativity. You might find our project interesting, it seems you have a lot of expertise in early education. I would appreciate any feedback or suggestions you can provide-see my link below. Best of luck with your project! Best, Brian
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/bridgebuilder2/ideas/using-digitized-talking-stickers-to-create-a-linguistic-bridge-for-haitian-immigrants-struggling-to-understand-chilean-spanish-culture

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Brian Bauer of Attollo's Talking Stickers 

Hi Brian,
I am not exactly an expert in early education. I just have enough knowledge about the shortcomings because I have been in the system. Most thing I have learnt are by speaking with kids, parents, teachers and also experts working in this area. However, I will certainly look at your post and provide feedback.

Photo of Luz Gallo
Team

Hello Rodney,
How interesting to solve problems from a children's perspective. I want to understand what is the duration of the activities (a whole project)? and How do you manage to keep kids focused on a whole project? (Taking into account that a project involves a lot of logistical work that can be boring for them).

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Luz Gallo 

There are a lot of things we have taken into consideration for the project duration: the length of the school curricula on various topics, whether or not it interferes with their exams, holidays etc.
For a typical workshop, the duration is 2-3 hours each, spread across not more than 3 days.
For a whole project, the duration is between 3-4 weeks.

Regarding keeping the kids interested: All the workshops and projects are designed to get them understand the practical applications of what they learn at schools. So when the kids perform an experiment and see something is happening with what they are doing, they are motivated to see the outcome.
Of course, they sometimes do get distracted for a short while because they are along with their friends, and I think it is a good thing. This is because constantly doing anything for some time can become boring, a distraction once in a while can make them more focused.

I don't clearly understand what you mean by logistical work.
All the hardware materials required are within a kit, so they do not have to procure anything. We have had kids complain that text based programming was difficult, tedious and boring. So we switched to using block programming instead. The advantage of block programming is that different blocks are differently colored and shaped. So they get excited when using it.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Rodney Lobo nice seeing you on the platform. Really great to see what you've been working on. I really like the active learning component. I love how you prototyped first in apartments and this allowed you to work with schools. Is your idea to design the workshops and offer them, and maybe start an after school, or are you thinking more of creating templates and training people to facilitate these workshops. As you know I'm a great proponent of experiential learning, so I'm really excited to see you working in this field. In terms of psychology theories, you might want to look at Jean Piaget but even more relevant is the work of Papert: http://www.papert.org

It reminds me of an after school created by a science teacher in NY which is very successful. I know many kids who went there (including mine) and they loved it: http://carmelothesciencefellow.com/

You might also find the work of Mitra inspiring: https://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_build_a_school_in_the_cloud

I think it'd be great if you could develop a user experience journey showing how your idea will evolve and if you could create a document with some more supporting stories (use cases) highlighting the process and what you learnt.
Have you already started working with schools? I'm curious to know how your approach is perceived (by the administration, the teachers and the students) and what you learnt.

Looking forward to seeing your idea evolve!

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Anne-Laure Fayard 

Thank you for the support!

From the research we had done, we found out that for effective learning in this area, we have to work on 3 things:
(i) Good quality content mapped to the Schools' existing curriculum
(ii) Pedagogy that ensures this content is delivered clearly and concisely.
(iii) Assessment and feedback for the student, and from the student.

Our goal for the next few months is to test and develop all 3 of the above until we are certain that our solution provides the best problem-solving experience for the kids.
To do this we are partnering with schools to conduct workshops in person, as this allows us to go through product iterations asap.

After this our plan is to package and standardize the hardware into "project kits" allowing us to distribute them easily. The content, delivery and assessment will be done through self-paced online modules and will have "journey based" learning.
In India, the kids are burdened with heavy school work. So the self paced modules would help them slowly build a project from scratch in their free time

Putting all of these online would also help us build a community around these real-life projects that kids build. Kkids can share their solutions with each other and get feedback from other kids, and even experts from the industry.
The photos which have kids wearing green t-shirts and blue pants/frocks are from the workshops we have conducted at Parikrama (a non-profit school for kids who have parents with low income). These workshops were conducted after they were done with their schoolwork for that day. The results definitely concur with what Mitra had said. The administration is very supportive of what we have been doing, and so are the teachers.
Until the first week of June, the kids have summer vacations, so we cannot test most of our assumptions.

We are also developing a similar platform like the lego mindstorms, but without the legos in them so that the kids don't have to worry about unnecessary connections.

I will definitely create a user experience journey by the end of this week.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Thank you Rodney Lobo for your comprehensive answer.
I find the 3 points you found from your research interesting. I guess my original suggestions to look at Papert (or Piaget, Dewey, etc.) was to do a deep dive in understanding the psychological and pedagogical perspectives underlying programs like yours. I know you're not doing a Ph.D. nor a research program but understanding better these processes will help you for developing activities and understand students' reactions and feedback. I think it will help you for (ii). Regarding (iii) can you tell me how you are currently collecting feedback? from students? and from faculty.
I'm calling Elana Blinder whom you know from DFA NYU as she has a lot of expertise in pedagogy without mentioning the one-year project developing a STEAM game about the S.S. Columbia. I'm sure she can make good suggestions for these 3 points and recommend resources.
On point (i) I can see why you need your content to map the school's existing curriculum as that's the only way to get support from schools. I guess the only tricky thing is to follow the curriculum while providing ways for kids to go beyond the concepts taught and understand the underlying principles. It's great that you have been to pilot with a school and that you have the support of the administration and teachers. You should definitely keep working with them. They might also help you figure out what they would need in terms of directions / guidelines to use your kits. I agree with you that for the moment you should focus on face-to-face workshops to iterate on the content - activities and experience, and being able to show the impact of your approach. May I suggest to take copious notes and develop stories that you can tell. This is really

Looking forward to seeing your experience journey. Just in case you don't have the resource anymore, check: https://d3gxp3iknbs7bs.cloudfront.net/attachments/5c28e26a-ba7f-44f4-859b-e82658264287.pdf

I also find storyboarding useful: http://www.designkit.org/methods/35

Good luck for the next steps!

Photo of Elana Blinder
Team

Hi Rodney!

What a cool project! "Education must use technology as a facilitator to solve problems and not necessarily as the final solution." Yessss. Really appreciate your thoughtful approach to this work.

I'm glad Anne-Laure pinged me because I've been meaning to check this out. Happy to share a few resources and recommendations related to your project. Forgive the stream-of-consciousness nature of what follows--it's been a long week!

I definitely echo Anne-Laure's recommendation that you check out Papert and Dewey's work. I'd also recommend Paulo Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed to inform your thinking about youth empowerment and how you might position your work to promote a shift in the dominant pedagogical model. I'd also recommend putting some thought into how you will engage with and support other stakeholders in this endeavor--teachers, school administrators, and possibly families as well. I'm all for children learning with and from each other, but I think it's important to leverage the adults in a child's ecosystem as partners rather than viewing them as obstacles or reducing them to sideline observers. If you want to be able to scale and expand the impact of this powerful learning model, teachers will need support in understanding your design rationale and they will require training so that they can feel as empowered as their students. A teacher also plays an important role as a mentor and model (you might want to check out some of Lev Vygotsky's writing on this), and it is a teacher who often plays the important role of helping children translate their hands-on experiences and creative thinking into deeper conceptual understanding and sustainable knowledge (i.e. the role you played with the student observing the silica gel). If teachers are used to teaching in a more traditional way, they will need lots of support (guidelines about the types of questions to pose to students, for example) and encouragement to help them revise their mental models of what school-based education and their role within this system should look like.

Another question/suggestion I have is about Phase II of the learning experience. I think it is awesome for kids to be engaged in designing solutions to real world problems. One thing I have always struggled with in my own work, however, is the fact that it is very difficult for students to affect real change when it comes to large scale problems. One of the things I loved about DFA was being able to focus on the local community, where making a lasting impact feels more feasible (with the Freedge being a perfect example of this!). For this reason, I wonder if you might want to focus your design challenges around small-scale problems that exist within students' immediate ecosystem (i.e. challenges in their schools, their local communities, or their home life). I feel that the experience of moving beyond building a prototype and actually putting a design solution into play can be so empowering for kids and support the development of a sustainable sense of self-efficacy, which appears to be a central goal of your program.

Paolo Blikstien's TEDx talk on FabLabs is definitely worth checking out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylhfpDAniqM

as is Digital Promise's Guide to Challenge Based Learning: http://cbl.digitalpromise.org/wpcontent/uploads/sites/7/2016/10/CBL_Guide2016.pdf

I suspect you're probably familiar with Scratch already (https://scratch.mit.edu/), but it's a great model to consult as you develop your online student community.

My final suggestion--and it's minor, but would likely strengthen your submission--is that you include some quotes or sources in the “background” section. I know very little about the public school system in India, but I have often heard these same claims made about U.S. schools by people with very limited experience or knowledge of what’s actually going on in the broader U.S. public school landscape today. I think citing some specific user experiences you've observed or published research on the topic would strengthen your claim and credibility.

Good luck and feel free to reach out if I can be of any further assistance. I'm rooting for you! I also recommend getting some feedback from Tanvi Sinha (I can't figure out how to directly incorporate a link into my post, but her profile is here: https://challenges.openideo.com/profiles/1086302347291715152091474401910022) who was also on the SS Columbia Team and would likely be very interested in and helpful to this project! Good luck!

Elana

Photo of Elana Blinder
Team

Oh also, if you give me more specifics about what teachers'/schools' assessment needs and goals look like in this context, I can make some more recommendations related to point (iii). I've done a fair amount of work related to the creation of digital assessment and feedback tools, but I'd want to have a better understanding of teachers' current practices, their level of comfort with online platforms, etc.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Wow! So much great feedback Elana Blinder I knew it was a good idea to invite you to the conversation. I'm sure Rodney Lobo will agree. :-) Great idea also to invite Tanvi Sinha to the conversation.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Wow! So much great feedback Elana Blinder I knew it was a good idea to invite you to the conversation. I'm sure Rodney Lobo will agree. :-) Great idea also to invite Tanvi Sinha to the conversation.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Thank you Anne-Laure Fayard 
I have been reading Papert's work during free time. Currently, the feedback system is more or less subjective. We have been asking question to parents, teachers and students. I am going to meet someone who is more familiar with what happens in the background of the education system tomorrow. From this I think we might be able to develop a better way of getting feedback.
I would like to know if you have any thoughts on this matter.

Mapping to the curriculum was the only way, as most of the content is developed by educational committees. It would be a mammoth task to convince them to even think about changing these, especially right away. When we were going through the textbooks to see if any new content was included or modified. Unfortunately, it is the same things that we were learning, no changes made. I was in School 10 years ago.

The upcoming workshops will be in June. Summer vacations are going on right now. I will certainly take more notes and document them.

Photo of Rodney Lobo
Team

Hi Elana Blinder That is indeed a lot of great feedback. Thank you!

I am reading Papert's works. I will definitely add Dewey, Freire and Vygotsky to the list.

I will add some more quotes and details about the teaching system soon.

I agree with you on the adults being involved. I also believe that teachers should be able to inspire the kids, rather than just teach. Some of the teachers we have been working with are really interested in unconventional methods of teaching. One example is a man called Prem. He is a dentist by profession, he practices at night. He volunteers during day time at Parikrama school and teaches Science related topics. He established a lab to demonstrate concepts in Science. As far as I know, there has not been any kind of lab -- ever -- during school-going years for kids. We have asked several kids about his way of teaching, most of the response was positive.

We are trying to find ways to get the traditional teachers to be a bit more involved. When we are developing the kit, initially, we will be showing how to use it, but the eventual plan is to have kid-friendly content online, so that not only the kids, but the teachers are able to use them while teaching.

What you say about Phase 2 makes complete sense. I totally understand that fact that it might not be possible for kids to work on big issues. The challenges given would be diluted versions of real life problems. We have also been planning on building the community through online platforms. The kids will be able to exchange ideas and get/give feedback to each other. There will also be experts in the field providing feedback. These features will be necessary to keep the community sustainable.

We tried text-based programming. Kids got the gist of it but kept making syntactic errors. One of the questions we had asked ourselves was if kids really needed to worry about that semicolon at the end of a code. We are using block programming like scratch. It is a modified version of Ardublockly, built like a blackbox with a variety of modules. It is not completely dumbed-down, as that would be counterproductive. It is simpler to use. You can check it out:
https://github.com/anirudhshenoy/elementory-ardublockly

The current way of assessment is completely subjective. Asking teachers, parents, and students questions. We are exploring ways to do some quantifiable assessment. I am meeting with someone who has been working in the education sector of India and the United States tomorrow. I will get more information and get back to you on this topic.

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Hi Elana Blinder I tried to open the link under Digital Promise's Guide to Challenge Based Learning, it says page not found. Do you have another link for it?

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That is strange. I just checked the link and it is working for me. Maybe try this page instead and you can download the guide from there: http://cbl.digitalpromise.org/

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Thanks Elana Blinder I was able to download the guide from their search option.
I also found what the error was: Their site is built using wordpress. There was a mistake in the url; there should be a hyphen between 'wp' and 'content'.

After the meeting we got some suggestions on how to make assessment. We have been looking at things like the Grit scale, the BROMP protocol, and Lifeskill assessment scale by Fiona Kennedy.

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Anne-Laure Fayard , Elana Blinder , Borislav Zlatanov , Tuba Naziruddin 

I have added the journey map in the attachment.
Unfortunately, this was the only thing I could work on. I wanted to finish this by Sunday, but I was travelling during the weekend.

I will add use cases soon.

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Really liking your project. Do you have an example or two of a concept from school that you teach in practical ways, engaging children's creativity and building real skills? Thanks.

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Thanks Borislav Zlatanov 

I had mentioned about using humidity in the post, so I will use it as an example here.

In one of our workshops, we taught kids to determine the relative humidity and temperature using arduino and a couple of sensors. The kids had already learnt about temperature, moisture, and humidity at their schools, so we only needed to show them how to use and program the arduino.

After that we performed a couple of experiments using things that can be found at home such as ice, metal containers, and water.

One of them was to find out the dew point (a temperature below which water drops will condense; below the freezing point of water, it is called frost point) and how it affects us. This dew point could be used to determine when it can rain, when fog can form, whether your body will profusely sweat or not, and in other relevant applications.

I have included an image of this in the post.

Another experiment was using indicating silica gel. The gel was used to find out how much time it took to change its color (it changes color and becomes paler as it absorbs more and more moisture). On of the kid wanted to know what would happen if she dropped it inside the water container. Within a couple of seconds of putting a crystal inside the water, the gel became transparent, and it immediately shattered.
She then promptly said that she understood why the silica gel packets mention that they should not be eaten. Of course we told her that that the actual reason for the caution was because it could contain other harmful chemicals when it is being made.
However, this was her creative way of thinking.

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Rodney Lobo Great seeing your idea on the platform. I like the examples you provided to Boris and I wonder if you could not add them into your post. Maybe create some use cases and / or experience journey map. I know you are limited in terms of word but you could created a pdf document with these 2 specific examples.

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Hi Anne-Laure Fayard 

You are right, I could not add it because of insufficient space. I will create an attachment soon and add it to the post.

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Great! Please ping me when you add them.

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Hi - this is a great idea - we also believe that critical thinking and problem solving skills will be essential for this generation - more so than any one area like technology. Aside from this competition, please feel free to reach out to us if you would be interested in exploring potential project partnerships - we make a great inexpensive add-on to some existing projects (especially focused on alternative learning methods that get teachers and students away from rote memorization). You can find me a genevieve@play360.org and I'd love to brainstorm with you.

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Genevieve loving the collaborative spirit as well as your idea for Myanmar playgrounds. This is one of the strengths of OpenIDEO is the possibility to connect people with similar interests and potentially foster partnerships.

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Thank you, Genevieve 

We would certainly explore having a collaboration. I checked Play for Peace, and it is definitely doing wonderful contributions to kids to have a good childhood. I would love to brainstorm with you as well.

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Rodney Lobo  Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea and it tackles a very serious issue rooted in the Indian Education System. Love the examples you have mentioned in the comments. It would great to see them in the post. Looking forward to see your prototype. For inspiration on experiential learning consider looking at Experience Edu from the Future of Higher Education Challenge: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/future-of-highered/ideas/experience-edu

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Hi Tuba Naziruddin 

I will include an attachment about this example and more soon.

The Experience Edu post makes sense in the context as to how experiential learning could help the youth; something like it would help kids during their summer breaks.

Thank you for sharing it.

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I feel so strongly that making learning environments that are creative and engaging and collaborative is crucial for peace and prosperity. Empathetic problem-solvers who can analyze and feel for each other...seems like a beautiful combo! Love your ideas and that you're collaborating with schools to make systemic changes. Our organization is a consultant/partner of Parikrma. Hope you've enjoyed working alongside them as much as we have!

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Thank you Emily Kruger 

What you say is true, especially because the kids show genuine interest when it comes to understanding things through practice. We are definitely having a wonderful time seeing these kids learn and do things on their own.