Recently I got a call from KITCO. They are project consultants for Cochin International Airport and many other flagship projects in Kerala. Interestingly, they are doing a unique project in schools to develop kids to next level in the new technologies called as Innovation Lab. I was invited to do a 6-hour workshop for a group of school children on computational thinking. Naturally, a school program is new to me. My son is 10 yo and I know how difficult it is to hold his attention for more than 10 minutes. I called my training mentor and explained the context. How to deal with a group of intelligent hyperactive kids for 6 hours! An idea came up. Divide that 6 hours into 12 high-intensity projects – less time, fewer resources and super outcome projects. We charted out the projects and delved into the nitty-gritty of doing each project. Disclaimer: These are kids with Amazon Echo at home!
The project-based learning helped the kids to interact with each other and enjoy the present moment with full intensity. They did not get time to be distracted. Though they had laptops with Wifi, they opened it only to search for relevant information to finish the projects in time. A war-like situation was created to get it done. In a distracted world, we need projects like these to create full engagement. They were given chart papers, sketch pens, flash cards and most importantly specific instructions on how to do a project – and amazing feedback on each project. Instant feedback is what kids love. Clear, concise and sincere feedback.
There was a 11 yo robotic engineer who explained how he started learning robotic programming a few months ago and builds a pet robot at home (no need to feed it, only charge it). Another kid who can recite a 200 line Sanskrit verse. In a diverse group like this, only one thing works. A definite project with a specific outcome. It worked well.