A robotic lesson from the siblings of innovation
Siblings Aditi Prasad and Deepti Rao Suchindran are spearheading a movement with their venture Robotix Learning Solutions. Aditi is the chief operating officer of the company, and Deepti is the chief executive officer. Their life is completely dedicated to science and technology, and they are on a mission to inspire and mentor the innovators of tomorrow through robotics.
They believe that the future of India lies in quality education, and upholding this theory in thoughts and mind, Aditi and Deepti established Robotix learning solutions, which provides free tuition and knowledge transfer to under-privileged students. Aditi and Deepti are using Robotix learning solutions as a tool to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills in kids.
Deepti has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, USA and a B.Tech in Industrial Biotechnology from Anna University, India. Being the CEO of Robotix learning solutions she leads the technical strategy and product-development team to create innovative educational robots.
Aditi was Project Associate at the China Studies Center at IIT Madras. Being the COO of Robotix learning solutions, she leads the operations of the robotics education programmes, events, social initiatives, product strategy and vision.
In a recent interaction with The Education Post Deepti Rao Suchindran and Aditi Rao speak about the idea, growth, benefits and future plans of Robotix learning solutions.
Could you tell us about the basic idea of Robotix learning solutions?
Robotix Learning Solutions was started in 2009, with a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators and creators. Robotix creates robotics & coding education programmes and robots, for children to learn STEM and to develop 21st century skills, such as problem solving, creative thinking, innovation, critical & analytical thinking, communication and collaboration, skills that are deemed important and necessary in modern society.
First, we teach robotics and coding, as part of in-school programmes, to children in K-12 schools in multiple cities. Second, we have after-school programs and summer camps.
Third, we run an annual robotics competition called the Indian Robotix League.
Fourth, we have launched an educational Robot, PHIRO for the global market – a complete Make In India product, right from ideation to manufacturing. Phiro has been featured on Intel’s America’s Greatest Makers. Lastly, and something that is very close to our hearts, are our social initiative Indian Girls Code – we believe that every child should have access to robotics education, so we offer free robotics and coding programs to underprivileged children.
What motivated you to start such an organisation?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is an important driver of innovation. We provide robotics education programmes in K-12 schools by combining a customized curriculum, integrated into school’s programmes, with innovative robotic technology from around the world. Our programmes provide children a fun, hands-on learning experience that helps develop important 21st century skills.
What is the importance of robotic studies among children?
Through robotics, kids learn STEM subjects, develop 21st century skills like problem solving, computational thinking, logical reasoning – skills required for the future workforce. We do this using innovative robotic technology from around the world through fun, hands on, play oriented way of teaching.
According to you, where does India stands in terms of science education?
To teach 21st century skills like innovation, critical thinking, collaborative learning and problem solving, requires a revolutionary change from within the education industry. In most schools, rote learning is the norm and failure to score marks is penalized heavily.
The measures that we can adopt in order to take Indian science education to next level?
- Hands on projects where kids learn by doing
- Fun way of learning through robotics
- Experiential learning
Are we going in the right direction when it comes to scientific research?
No. We don’t think so. We are moving in the right direction. India will soon be a notable country in respected fields of science and technology.
What about the impact of your projects on underprivileged children in India?
Robotix Learning Solutions is helping to bridge the gender gap for women in STEM. @IndianGirlsCode is inspiring girls to be innovators in the field of computer science and technology, with a special focus on underprivileged girls. This free coding and robotics education program helps girls learn to code and innovate by creating real-world applications for real-world problems. Our first @IndianGirlsCode program is at the all-girl’s orphanage at the Annai Ashram in Trichy with 25 girls ages 7-12.
What’re your further plans for Robotix learning solutions?
In 2016 we launched our complete “Make in India” robotic educational product called PHIRO. Phiro is in schools worldwide and our aim is to get Phiro into schools and into the hands of kids worldwide
We are working with schools all over India to include Robotics as part of the school curriculum to inspire kids to be innovators and creators by using hands on practical methods of teaching.
Support from the government?
We hope to get support from government to include Phiro as part of the school curriculum. Phiro robots teaches kids as young as 4 upto 18, how to Code in 5 different ways.
The Australian Government enacted a new national curriculum in 2015 to introduce Coding in all schools as part of STEM.
Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a leading on-line learning nonprofit company, said of the importance of coding “It’s the kind of skill that people across many industries can benefit from, because programming helps us automate and speed up tasks.”