Machines in general, and robots in particular, are very appealing to children. In developed countries, robots are used to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, (Arts) and Mathematics education (called STE(A)M for short) in schools, and to inspire innovation and creativity in children. Moreover, children in these countries enjoy the benefits of Technological Immersion, whereby exposure to hi-tech gadgets like robots, smart toys, computers, video games, comics, animation, and so on. Unfortunately, the school education system in India is still based on the passive, chalk and talk paradigm. Therefore, the TLC @ IIITDM Kancheepuram seeks to expose our children to the Playful Learning potential of robotics, as well as design and manufacturing at an early age.
Toward this goal, we collaborate with local schools and the community. During national events like Independence Day (August 15) and Republic Day (January 26), we conduct public demos of high tech gadgets developed in the TLC. Wide regional and national media publicity has been gained by these outreach events.
Presently, we are collaborating with SRF Foundation, Gurgaon on introducing Model Tinkering Labs in eight government high schools in Chennai and five government high schools in Bangalore. The TLC and staff will mentor SRFF staff and the involved school teachers and students on STE(A)M education using robotics, design, manufacturing, electronics and coding tools.