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Driving Innovation in Education: The ATL Approach

ATLs are crucial for sparking grassroots innovation across sectors like healthcare, education, agriculture, waste management, and the environment, driving groundbreaking solutions nationally

Praveen Sharma, serving as a Regional Mentor of Change within NITI Aayog‘s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), has been honored for his role as one of the distinguished mentors of ATL Tinkerpreneur 2023. He actively engages in guiding students at Maharaja Agarsain Public School in Sector-13, Vasundhara; CSKM Public School in Delhi; and Radiant International School, Patna. Collaborating with other young mentors in the region through Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL), Praveen distinguishes himself among the 92 regional mentors dedicated to ATL. With over twenty-five years of versatile experience spanning education, agriculture, rural development, banking, commodities, and FMCG, Praveen’s significant contributions in the social sector are centered around streamlining processes and fostering sustainable growth.

In an exclusive dialogue with The Interview World, Praveen discusses how he mentors students in both government and private schools, fostering entrepreneurial skills and guiding them in developing products that address business and societal challenges.

Q: How do ATL’s core values reflect its vision for the future?

A: At ATL, young minds engage actively, shaping their ideas through hands-on, do-it-yourself methods while acquiring essential innovation skills. The overarching vision aims to cultivate one million children in India as Neoteric Innovators. Recognizing the imperative to foster scientific curiosity and innovation, AIM proposes to establish a network of ATLs. This scheme’s primary goal is to nurture curiosity, creativity, and imagination among youth, fostering skills like design thinking, computational analysis, adaptive learning, and physical computing. Through ATL, children delve into the practicalities of STEMS (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Social Sciences), understanding their what, how, and why aspects. Moreover, ATL serves as a platform for the transformation of young students into innovators and technology entrepreneurs.

Q: Can you elaborate on the strategies and initiatives you are implementing to drive innovation through Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in the schools you are associated with?

A: Currently, I oversee the ATLs at Maharaja Agarsain Public School in Sector-13, Vasundhara; CSKM Public School in Delhi; and Radiant International School, Patna. My primary role involves cultivating curiosity in young minds, urging them to explore beyond their classroom activities and devise solutions for societal challenges they identify. Additionally, as a Regional Mentor of Change, I guide and mentor the young mentors engaged with ATLs.

Q: Could you share some specific examples of success stories or notable achievements that highlight your expertise and the impact you’ve made?

A: I actively participate in various ATL projects across Bihar and Maharashtra. Among these initiatives, the products crafted by students at Radiant International School stand out, garnering notable acclaim for their ingenuity. Two such examples are Clest and Knowledge Pal, both developed by our students.

Clest functions as a career guidance portal, empowering students to make informed decisions regarding their higher education choices, aligning with their skills and aptitudes. Similarly, Knowledge Pal serves as a chatbot, facilitating self-paced learning through seamless conversation. Utilizing the WhatsApp platform, students engage with the chatbot to delve into their preferred subjects, enhancing their understanding through interactive exchanges.

Q: How has the implementation of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) impacted students’ learning outcomes and innovation skills on the ground?

A: ATLs play a vital role in fostering grassroots innovation nationwide. They spearhead the development of groundbreaking products and solutions in critical sectors such as healthcare, education, agriculture, waste management, and the environment. With over 7,000 ATLs established in schools across 650 districts, AIM has extended the reach of new technology to over 3.5 million students. These technological hubs hold the potential to revolutionize the landscape of innovation within schools, empowering young minds to transcend conventional boundaries and pioneer breakthrough solutions to societal and industrial challenges.

Q: How do you find fulfillment in mentoring young minds, and what excites you about it?

A: Empowering the next generation involves guiding and enlightening them to explore opportunities. These opportunities not only inspire innovation and invention but also foster collaboration with diverse individuals, enhancing teamwork to create a better world. It’s about instilling responsibility and accountability, nurturing participative citizenship through various learning and development tools available.

Q: What key pieces of advice would you offer to both experienced mentors and those who are just beginning their mentoring journey?

A: Have faith in the process and persist! This mantra embodies the perseverance and unwavering belief in our journey towards our goals. It prompts us to remain dedicated to our chosen path, notwithstanding obstacles or setbacks. Trusting the process instills confidence in our capabilities and enables us to stay laser-focused on our objectives.

Praveen Sharma Recognized as Distinguished Mentor in ATL Tinkerpreneur 2023
Praveen Sharma Recognized as Distinguished Mentor in ATL Tinkerpreneur 2023

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