My neighbour’s son studies in Class Five of a leading city-based school. Every other month he comes to me asking –“Uncle, they have asked us to work on a project in school. Can you help me?” This is an interesting exercise as it offers me an insight into the curiosity of the young mind and what actually is being taught in schools.
Over the past year or so, since the young boy has asked me for help with projects, I have learnt two things. Every year, the student is supposed to submit three projects and a total of 30 marks are allocated to the project. This is distributed across three terms and the grand total is evaluated at the end of the academic year. Additionally, the best projects across each class and section are awarded certificates and they are all featured in the annual science exhibition that the school conducts in January-February of every year. This serves an additional purpose of finding out the most innovative science projects that are then submitted for a state-level contest that is organized by the government.
Students from all the districts of the state converge at a large school and stay there during the course of the two-day event, which has quiz contests, debates, painting contests in addition to the Science Exhibition; a great way to nurture talent and ignite a life-long love for Science and Maths in young minds.
The Eight Elements of Project-Based Learning
In-Depth Inquiry – This fosters the key skill of asking questions in students!
Public Audience – Confidence to present to a public audience/gathering.
Revision & Reflection – The ability to think through a project and make multiple revisions till perfection is achieved.
Voice & Choice – Independent thinking and speaking skills as the student explains the project with ease verbally and demonstrates the working of the project.
Significant Content –Research skills are developed as the student searches for the ideal project topic.
Driving Question – How the project can have a significant impact on society!
Need to Know – Appropriate information needed for the project catered to the right audience efficiently.
21st Century Skills – Teaches self-confidence, efficient communication, ignites curiosity, teaches problem-solving, decision-making and the ability to face a large audience. All key skills needed to succeed in modern society.
How to Create an Innovative Project?
This single question, led us to design DIYA – ‘Do-it-Yourself-App’ – a cloud-based edutainment ecosystem. The purpose of DIYA is to offer a platform for users around the world to upload their DIY-projects and school and college-educational projects and share them with like-minded users around the world. Users can download DIYA from the Google Playstore and use it to shoot videos of their projects and upload them onto the system. Users can also create groups within the app to connect with users with similar tastes in projects and collaborate with each other.
Project-Based Learning is an integral part of our academic framework and the onus is on teachers to foster curiosity and a love for learning among students by encouraging them to work on new projects.
What are your thoughts on project-based learning? What do you think would be a good way for youngsters to create innovative new projects instead of the same tried and tested academic projects that we have witnessed so far?