To Thrive in Change, Reinvent Yourself

Meet Pete. At school, Pete was a star rugby player. He was scouted and joined the training programme for the Under 19s at the national academy. For the last seven years, he has played professional rugby. Now, because of an injury, his career as a professional rugby player is coming to an end. Pete is financially comfortable for now but he is only 29 and has a family. What options does Pete have to ensure…

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The Amazing History of the Universe – in Hindi

Arvind, a software engineer by profession and a lifelong physics enthusiast, and I have collaborated under the ‘Timeless Lifeskills’ banner, to produce a video series in Hindi titled, “Brahmand Ka Adbhut Itihaas”. Over 13 episodes we narrate the history of the universe from its creation to the expansion of intelligent life on planet earth. There are plenty of resources available online in English on ‘Big History’, a term generally used for the 13.8 billion years scientific…

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The RGB Life Skills

What makes a student future-ready: O-level or GCSE? IB Diploma or A-Level? Academies, Grammar schools, or Faith schools? These issues seem to be the focus of debate about education today.However, instead of focusing on ‘how’ should education be imparted, isn’t it a lot more important to first  ponder ‘what’ education should be imparted, given the fast changing contours of the 21st century, when mechanisation, automation, and now robots and AI are changing the very fabric…

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Get ThinKING!

In the late 18th century, steam led to the First Industrial Revolution; in early 20th Century, electricity led to the Second Industrial Revolution; in late 20th century, ICT led to the Third Industrial Revolution; and now, Blockchain, Big Data, Robots, Drones, Machine Intelligence, Nanotech, Biotech and other technologies are ushering in another new era. If one ingredient, steam, electricity or ICT, so completely changed the global landscape, just imagine the upheaval that could be caused…

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Full STEAM Ahead!

At the recently concluded Brexit referendum in the UK, it is estimated that only 36 percent of people aged 18-24 voted, when the decision to leave or remain in the EU impacts the youth most. Young people who did vote, did so overwhelmingly for ‘Remain’ while the overall outcome was in favour of ‘Leave’ begging the question if the voting age should have been lowered to 16, as was the case in the 2014 Scottish…

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‘Flip’ Your Job with AI

Search Engine Optimiser was not in the job lexicon a decade ago and a decade hence, probably earlier, Blockchain Validator might become a sought after job. Artificial Intelligence (AI), or computers that can learn themselves are changing the complexion of employment by becoming capable of doing tasks that could earlier be done only by a human, for example, driving a car in traffic. AI is disrupting jobs all across the skills ladder. According to a McKinsey…

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I am Going on a Digital Diet!

Recently I attended a panel discussion at my son’s school on students’ wellbeing and the most hotly discussed topic there was the overuse of computers, internet and smartphones by adolescents. This set me introspecting about my own use of digital technologies. I believe, while I am definitely not addicted to ICTs, I will be better off changing some of my technology-related behaviour.For example, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning…

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Videos in Hindi on Trends & Technologies

I have started a video series in Hindi on technologies and trends that have the potential to disrupt life in the 21st century. I have done so because there is a lot of information available on these topics in English but not so much in Hindi. To be aware of the challenges and opportunities these trends and technologies will throw up for the youth, it is important they understand them.This 9-minute animated video explains the…

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Life in the Gig Economy

In the early 20th century, for a city dweller in India, definition of a nice life usually meant, “He got a government job, and lived happily ever after!” Such a person studied until a certain age, usually until graduation, and then looked for a job. A good job usually meant working for the government, or for a reputed public or private company. Once hired people would work with the same employer all their life and…

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Old Tales Retold

As a kid, I enjoyed reading stories from the Indian lore. If I were to narrate the same stories to kids living in metropolitan cities today I doubt they will relate to these stories. These old tales need a retelling. So here goes…Shravan KumarOn behest of his old and blind parents, Shravan Kumar attached two large straw baskets on a pole and carried his parents on a journey of pilgrimage.Tell this story to your kids…

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This Summer Vacation, Tinker & Learn Life Skills

I find tinkering activities if designed well, are a great way to learn some essential life skills. Not just Timeless Lifeskills but also skills that need to be learnt urgently given the context of the 21st century, like developing curiosity, taking ownership of learning to satiate own curiosity, making learning fun, developing the power of observation, ability to formulate insightful questions, abstraction, creativity and problem-solving.By well-designed tinkering activities I mean the learn design or pedagogy…

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Getting Future Ready

Millions of years back the only driver of change and adaptation was evolution or the gene. Then around 70,000 years back, Homo Sapiens evolved to speak a complex language, with which they could communicate abstract ideas. The advent of language and writing allowed us to codify, exchange and preserve knowledge efficiently. Prof David Christian, the creator of Big History course, calls this ‘collective learning’ and it implied that we humans no longer had to rely…

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Exhibition at The White Eagles School, April 2016

After the 3-day workshop on Tinkering with Electronics and Robotics, on the fourth day, an exhibition was organised at The White Eagles School, where not only the projects completed during the workshop were on display but students also showcased many other projects they had worked on in their school. These projects were on Science, Social Science, Maths, Hindi, and Art. Students from other rural schools in the vicinity were invited to attend the exhibition. The…

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Workshop at The White Eagles School, village Devpur, Kutch, Gujarat, April 2016

After conducting workshops in rural schools in the Himalayas, I reached The White Eagles School in Devpur village, 50 k.m. from Bhuj in the Kutch region of Gujarat. Conducting workshops with me I had Mehul, a 12th grader from Delhi and my son, Manan, who is studying in the 9th grade. We interacted with students from grades 5 to 12 and also with the teachers. The topic of our workshops was Tinkering with Electronics and…

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Making the Most of Whats App!

I have been conducting workshops at rural schools in India for the last 5 years. 85 teachers and students are in regular touch with me on a Whats Group we have formed. Among other things I take them on 'virtual' tours wherever I go. This time was no different. I took this group with me to Delhi, the Himalayas and to Gujarat, the three places where I conducted workshops in March and April 2016.Virtual tour…

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Workshops at schools in Maram, Chanoli and Satoli villages in the Himalayas, April 2016

After Hiteshi, in the Indian Himalayas I also visited Jeevashala in village Maram, Government Junior High School in village Chanoli and Aarohi Bal Sansaar in village Chanoli. The theme was the same 'Tinkering with Electronics' and the objective was to explain to students how to think like a scientist and ignite their interest in science.Jeevanshala, a tiny school in village Maram, that I have been visiting for last four yearsChildren made ToothBrush bots and then…

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Workshop at Hiteshi, a rural school in village Dyunai in the Himalayas, April 2016

At Dyaunai, a village around 15 k.m. from Kausani in the Himalayas, I stayed overnight with my host Kishan Rana, who, along with his wife, Pushpa, founded a primary school here called Hiteshi.The couple started Hiteshi 20 years back and have been supporting the school from the meagre income from their farm. They are very hard working, mornings in the school and afternoons in their field. Almost all that we ate for dinner and lunch…

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Workshop at Neev, a charitable school in Gurgaon near New Delhi, March 2016

In March and April 2016 I was in India for three weeks conducting life skills workshops in the Himalayas. I started with a two-day workshop on Tinkering with Electronics at Neev, a charitable K-10 school in Gurgaon near New Delhi. Few photos...Campus of Neev school, GurgaonTinkering with circuitsThe two-day workshop was attended by students of classes 5 to 9Making a Tooth-Brush botToothbrushBot, made with a vibrator motor and coin cellStudents learnt to make electronic greeting…

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A Curriculum for Tinkering with Electronics

Tinkering is learning by playing. Tinkering fuels the imagination and catalyses creativity – both essential life skills for the 21st century. So for my forthcoming workshops in April, I have designed, no curated, a Tinkering with Electronics curriculum. Curated, because I have taken project ideas from MIT Media Labs, San Francisco Exploratorium, Toys from Trash, Science Buddies, Instructables and many other sources.Over three weeks I will be interacting with primary, middle and senior school students in…

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