Build, tinker, redesign and hack: The need to develop Atal Tinkering Labs in all schools

December 21, 2020 3:30 AM

As tech and innovation become a priority for schools, students must be offered creative learning spaces to expand and challenge their knowledge and the ‘ability to create’.

Keeping this in mind, the government introduced Atal Tinkering Labs under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) set up by the NITI Aayog; its aim is to create a world-class innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in India. (Photo source: IE)

By Anurag Gupta & Rajeev Tiwari 

As tech and innovation become a priority for schools, students must be offered creative learning spaces to expand and challenge their knowledge and the ‘ability to create’. Technology can help students boost their concentration, retain information, encourage individualised learning.

Although many schools have been focusing on project-based learning, there aren’t many formal spaces or curriculum or a set of equipment using which students can build a new physical prototype or a project for implementing their ideas.

Keeping this in mind, the government introduced Atal Tinkering Labs under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) set up by the NITI Aayog; its aim is to create a world-class innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem in India.

Atal Tinkering Labs is the AIM’s flagship initiative at the school level; among other things, the aim is to help schoolchildren move away from rote learning and a marks-oriented mindset to a problem-solving innovative mindset.

The AIM has set up thousands of Atal Tinkering Labs across 715 districts, enabling students from grades 6 to 12 to access and tinker with innovative art tools and technologies like 3D printers, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), miniaturised electronics, do-it-yourself (DIY) kits, and so on.

So far, more than 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs have been established, where students can develop prototypes and implement their ideas into physical products. It’s been proven that students learn new skills as they build, tinker, redesign and hack, and especially when they do all these in a group. Another benefit of tinker-centred learning is that it can help develop amongst kids a sense of self and a sense of community. Later on, this may lead to students trying to solve community problems by being able to identify issues and applying the concepts of analysing and designing for designing solutions.

In the long run, while Atal Tinkering Labs are being set up in schools, these are needed in all schools in India, and fast.

Authors are co-founders of Stemrobo Technologies

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