Lead Mentor: Khanjan Mehta, Creative Inquiry
The Agastya International Foundation's mission is to spark curiosity (Aah!), nurture creativity (Aha!) and instil confidence (Ha-Ha!) through hands-on experiential learning among underprivileged children and government school teachers. Its creative programs, has empowered 300,000 K-12 teachers and over 25 million children. As part of their commitment to democratizing science, they operate 200+ Mobile Science Labs and 75 Labs-on-a-Bike that bring Hands-on science learning to children who might not otherwise have access to it. Labs-on-a-Bike utilize the compactness and mobility of a motorbike to provide students with engaging science experiments, including Math and Electronics, along with internet access to science resources. Mobile Science Labs reach remote schools through vans loaded with science models and experiments, allowing students to learn through hands-on experiences. Both programs are supported by Agastya instructors (Facilitators) who guide students in understanding and experimenting with scientific concepts to develop their curiosity, creativity, and confidence.
New to the GSIF in 2024, this project will focus on understanding the current state of Mobile Science Labs / Labs-on-a-Bike and then reimagining future iterations of these educational innovations with more hands-on science, fun technology, and practical sustainability education.
The aspirations of this project, which are likely to evolve over time, are threefold:
1. Enhancing Accessibility: The team will focus on improving the mobility, accessibility, and reach of these initiatives. They will seek innovative ways to overcome geographical and logistical barriers, ensuring that science education can extend even further into the remotest areas of India.
2. Enhancing Educational Impact: The project aims to develop educational content and hands-on experiments that are even more engaging and effective. This includes modernizing the curriculum to reflect the latest developments in science and technology, making learning not only accessible but also relevant to the digital age. For example, how might we integrate Extended Reality (AR/VR/MR) interfaces and Artificial Intelligence into these programs?
3. Community Engagement: In addition to reaching students, the project will work on strategies to more actively engage adult community members. By showcasing everyday scientific concepts, the team will strive to foster scientific thinking in the broader community, reinforcing the value of science and technology education and making evidence-based decisions.
The following short films and articles in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Times of India, and Yourstory might be of interest to you: