Shoaib Dar, Founder of Pi Jam Foundation
HundrED shortlisted this innovation
Why did you create this innovation?
Students from under-resourced Government schools in India lack exposure to technology, putting them at a significant disadvantage compared to their peers in India and the world. As the pace of evolution and integration of technology in the world accelerates, we want students to actively shape and influence technology rather than remaining passive consumers.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Through partnerships with the Government education system, we deliver a holistic Computer Science education program for students from grades 5 to 10 as part of their regular school timetable. Teachers are trained on pedagogy and best practices to ensure optimal classroom learning. Using open-source and affordable tools, students learn concepts such as Algorithms, Data Representation and Programming while building their Critical Thinking, Computational Thinking and Problem Solving abilities. The internationally benchmarked curriculum is contextualised to our students and is grade-specific with links to other subjects such as Math and Science. The year-long program incorporates hands-on designing through identification of issues in the local communities by students and creation of technology-based prototype solutions which are showcased at an annual fair. Student learning and teacher growth is measured through assessments 3 times a year.
How has it been spreading?
Our approach to reaching more students can be summed up in 3 key activities; demonstration, role-modelling and advocacy. Over the past 4 years, Pi Labs have been set up in over 50 schools across the country where we have demonstrated the potential of Computer Science in opening up new pathways for students. The country’s National Education Plan (2020) outlines the importance of Computer Science education starting from middle school. We advocate to and have partnered with local and/or State education departments of several states for the adoption of Computer Science in school. As part of role-modelling, and informed by our experience of demonstration, we equip educators from across the country with the knowledge and skills needed to teach Computer Science in their classrooms.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Affordable, globally relevant and designed to be contextualized - Pi Labs can be set up anywhere.First,establish an understanding with the local education authorities & work with the system.Next,procure Raspberry Pis and train instructors on the pedagogy & technical knowledge needed to adapt our curriculum to the local context.Finally, make learning hands-on to prepare students to be future ready.