A better educational evolution needs innovations and novelties from time to time to meet the newer challenges that keep arising in this sphere. And if it comes to innovating the model of education at preschool level, it merits immense importance because it is as good as nourishing the roots of growing plants. Among the various push factors to inspire the students to move ahead in the form of innovations, tinkering labs and STEM have played a significant role. Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL), a scheme initiated by NITI Aayog of Government of India, is already on the path of transforming the concept of education with the combination of STEM. When we say ‘STEM’ we mean its full form: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. And then we come to know about its effectiveness as to how it has impacted the pattern of education in India. Here, the question arises how can the tiny tots as preschoolers go for engineering through STEM as the letter ‘E’ in STEM stands for Engineering and the question could prop up as: can preschoolers go for engineering course at such a tender age and primary level? Of course, the preschoolers are not pursuing B. Tech but ATL and STEM will pave the smooth way for them to excel in engineering discipline at all levels, especially when they reach colleges and universities.
Where the problems lie and how these can be made possible are as thus:
Technology, Innovation, and Innovators are the future
Today, we are breathing in information age—the age that has brought plenteous benefits like robot-assisted surgery, automated factories and houses, internet banking, online course, degree programs and so on. This fast growing impact will prevail upon almost all branches of studies. When STEM is brought into this perspective, schools are found to be the best place to provide autonomous STEM learning to students and convert them into sharp minds to achieve success and brighten their future.
ATL to create an environment of scientific thought, innovation and productivity amongst Indian students
In a bid to influence the world with envisioned task of cultivating 1 million children in India as neoteric innovators, NITI Aayog has set up a network of ATL under the Atal Innovation Mission that aims to endorse STEM system of education by cultivating curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young India. Its objectives lie in indoctrinating such skills as adaptive learning, computational thinking, physical computing, and rapid calculations, inter alia.
Government’s plan and role in utilizing ATL
NITI Aayog is going to build 500 Atal Tinkering Laboratories in schools under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) that will provide them with a grant-in-aid of Rs. 10 lakh to build ATLs across the country. It is their responsibility to ensure that Rs. 10 lakh will be funded for each ATL over a span of five years for operational expenses of these laboratories.
How schools will be benefited
How the schools in India are going to be benefited from ATL is well explained by Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog, as he apprised: “The Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) will provide school students the opportunity to work with tools and equipment, fostering inventiveness. Students will also be able to exchange knowledge and learn from one another through regional and national-level competitions, exhibitions, workshops on problem-solving, designing and fabrication of products.”
ATL with STEM to be workspaces for preschoolers
ATL combined with STEM has been designed to be workspaces for tiny tots so that they can have an environment helpful to hone their ideas and skills through Do-It-Yourself (DIY) lessons. STEM as catering to the needs of the young minds is impeccably promising and aspiring to the students thereby providing opportunity to work with the necessary gear and apparatus to understand the concepts of STEM—the four key disciplines strengthening the global economy and ensuring a healthy and flourishing society. ATL would comprise such subjects as science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers. All these will nudge them to contemplate. Here, the students will also get an opportunity to have interaction with their superiors and involve in activities to help them understand what the STEM is meant for.
Adopting STEM is meant for creativity and undoubtedly, ATL is such a movement which is going to help the Indian students touch new echelons of progress. Laying the foundation stone of ATL with STEM for education is soon going to build a modern edifice of education in India as its building labs are inspiring tender minds to think smartly, crystallizing their ideas by incorporating STEM into the education system of India in current scenario and also in days to come also.