SAIIER 2020:STEM Land
The tagline of STEM Land is "learn, grow, work, teach" which captures the essence of what we do. At STEM Land we value the 3 ‘C’s:
1. Conscious of self
- Exploring self-learning and researching the use of technology in effective learning and learning environments e.g. STEM Land.
- Exploring a learning organization as an environment where learning (unending education) and directed growth (constant progress) of its members and those they interact with is the primary goal, while still being effective in engaging in a real world context.
2. Conscious of others
- Providing an opportunity (and mentoring) to youth in and around Auroville to become skilled in e.g. electronics, programming and teaching.
- Providing an opportunity for skilled youth to engage with children in schools and move beyond simple procedural learning into application, problem solving and self-mastery.
3. Conscious of the environment
- Exploring alternatives to examinations as a way for children to demonstrate mastery.
- Supporting those who want to see similar changes in their schools and organizations, e.g. modules in specific topics, teacher training.
Activities of the year:
Our activities have been across the following schools: Udavi, Isai Ambalam, Auroville Institute of Applied Technology (AIAT), Deepanam School, Last School, TLC (The Learning Community), Aikiyam School and Thamarai Learning Center.
Intensive participation (> 5 hrs a week): 242 children
- Isai Ambalam School (Math, Environmental Sciences, English): 118 children (1st to 8th grade)
- Udavi School (Math): 74 children (6th to 10th grade)
- Auroville Institute of Applied Technology (Math, Science): 50 children
Consistent Intervention (2 hrs a week): 60 children
- Deepanam, Last School, TLC (hands-on projects): 29 children (see following report)
- Initial training and once-a-week continued guidance at Aikiyam Shool and Tamarai Learning Center
New STEM centres started with our training, continued guidance and support:
- Aikiyam School: 250 children (3 teachers trained)
- Thamarai Learning Center: 80 children (2 facilitators trained)
We are bringing out a quarterly newsletter that captures many of the happenings at STEM land.
We conducted free (~20 hrs) courses for youth (and anyone interested in learning). Recent courses were:
- Python-Django by Shravan (STEM Land)
- Wordpress by Kshitij (Auroville Consulting) (after attending Python-Django)
- Elixir by Shankardevy (Talam) (after attending Python-Django)
- Raspberry Pie by Matej (Independent)
- Basic Scratch by Sundar, Naveen (STEM Land)
- Programming for math educators (STEM Land)
We took up research projects this year. We presented the following:
- Ganesan P., Patchaiyappan P., Iyyanarappan A., Saminathan L., Kumar N., Perumal R., Ranganathan S., Bharathi S., & Kothandaraman S. (Jan 2019) STEM Land (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Land): Factors and Interventions Influencing Children’s Attitude Towards Mathematics, MES10
- Iyyanarappan A., Anand B., Saminathan L., Kumar N., Ganesan P., Patchaiyappan P., Perumal R., Ranganathan S., Bharathi S., & Kothandaraman S. (Jan 2019) STEM Land (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Land): Deep Learning of Mathematical Concepts Through EBD and by Using Materials, MES10
- Bharathi S., Ganesan P., Kothandaraman S., Iyyanarappan A., Saminathan L., Kumar N., Patchaiyappan P., Perumal R., Ranganathan S. (Jan 2019) Learning Mathematics concepts through Projects and EBD (Education by Design) methodology, MTA
The first beneficiaries were the youth (18 youth and 6 interns) who were part of STEM Land and had the opportunity to learn how to be good teachers and engineers, to grow through exploring how they want to be and what they can do for society and community. Most of our alumni boys and girls, even those who have taken up arts, tend to take programming as a minor.
The beneficiaries of the project were over 242 children that the youth of STEM Land interacted with in an intense fashion. One of the outcomes we observe is a change in the attitude towards mathematics after the children have come to STEM Land.
We also observed progress:
- At Isai Ambalam campus – with their confidence, competency to handle and do real life projects, improved spoken English, and growth through the “Inspiration” project.
- At Udavi campus – with multi-grade classes, the peer learning and interactions as well as stewardship.
In addition, we interacted with children, teachers and researchers in the field of education which enriched us and hopefully enriched them as well.
Here are some short reflections from some of the youth of STEM Land:
Sundar (5 years at STEM Land):
The year 2019-20, has given me a lot of exposure as a teacher, engineer and researcher. There has been a lot learning through workshops that were conducted with teachers based on skill competency and inner capacity; our team presented this at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE) as a poster. The conference itself gave a lot of exposure on the current teaching and learning methodologies.
Friday sessions were created to share our learning across STEM Lands in Auroville and the bioregion, with guest teachers such as Swathi sharing her expertise.
I was part of the organizational team for “Stewardship for New Emergence” stages 1 and 2. The main learning for me was breaking ‘-isms’, noticing my patterns and changing them while deeply caring for Authenticity for myself and others. I had also the opportunity to hold triads with graduates in Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), Delhi.
As an engineer I am learning Python and VLSI Layout along with SKILL coding. The team has grown from 4 to 18 and I am looking forward to a year filled with joyful learning.
Poovizhi (3 years at STEM Land):
Looking back the activities I've been doing in the last year, I find that I've been progressing gradually in my skills and started to use what I have learned. Compared to last year this year I find myself using the Stewardship tools more often, and also delivering to people during the courses. I was able to give catch-up sessions for some people to continue their learning.
Working and learning with teachers and children were joyful moments. Children and teachers worked equally to create a short film, and each one of us was in our fullest potential and learned valuable things through it.
Logeshwari (2 years at STEM Land):
From last year’s reflection I could see a lot of changes. I realized that teaching is not that easy and it is the responsible service that we give to others. I could see improvement in the integrity time in the morning. This was one of my CFSR (Concious Full Spectrum Response) projects and even though I am not completely in integrity all the time, still I feel accomplished seeing this change. I feel that I should also do the same in my work and other commitments.
Since I was a Practitioner Coach last year and having continuous sessions on Fridays on Stewardship tools, I could see a small change in me. Again, even though I am not following all the time I see a change within me which may not be visible to others. It was great to see the STEM Land team growing and different STEM centres emerging.
This year I saw many organizations' growth, not only STEM land but also other organizations. Last year I made a few activities/supports which I felt were aligned with my values, and I feel really happy for them and would like to continue them.
Prabhaharan (1 year at STEM Land):
STEM Land provides a learning environment to enhance learning and skills development. A cross-culture learning environment, a great place for learning and a safe space for creating and enabling innovative and new ideas.
STEM Land helps everyone know about individual values, inspire each other, break patterns, step out of comfort zones and work as global citizens. It is a driving force to travel in the same plane as a whole team with common values.
It is neither a school nor a company; it’s a very unique environment to prosper in growth for oneself and for others.
I have learnt Python, MySQL database, HTML and Django. The Arduino and Interactive Scratch courses helped me to learn and understand the programming concepts.
I learned how to teach students without boring them using educational materials and concept-based learning.
I learned Django, Python and web scraping with a real project, which helped me to understand these concept easily. This helped me understand many things in the internet including Google Cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, virtual machines and vision API.
Sessions with others helped me understand how to utilize technology for human growth and development.
I become more responsible for the future generation, the growth of my children and the happenings around me by attending the Stewardship session. Cycling to work as a ‘break-through’ initiative helps me to be healthy and change culture. Stewardship tools help me to focus on the higher purpose in my life.
The Vipassana sessions at STEM Land helped me to know about myself and to find my purpose in life, and to live a life based on moral values (ideal teacher).
We will be working with partners to conduct intensive trainings and continue guiding them to set up their own STEM centers like at Aikiyam and Thamarai.
Many members of the team continue to participate in, benefit from and organize the “Stewardship for New Emergence” programs in both English and Tamil (“Amma Appa” program). These tools have helped us handle various situations and to continue to progress as a team.