At a time when the world is facing an unprecedented challenge, students and educators have had to adapt to a different kind of schooling. The priority that governs these changes in imparting education is that while the mode may change, learning should continue.
Meet Amith, a bright young child who loves playing games like many others his age. His curiosity made him wonder what goes into creating the games he loves so much. He often asked himself how all this was done, and aspired to be able to someday create those games himself. For students like Amith, this lockdown meant that his learning was brought to a halt. Or so he thought.
At Learning Links Foundation, we firmly believe that with passion and purpose guiding our work, we can create, sustain and scale our powerful impact-driven initiatives. We looked at exploring different ways to ensure that despite the COVID -19 lockdown, learning continues to happen consistently and consciously.
In particular, we noticed that the tinkering movement was proving to be a huge success. Along with our partners Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, Government of India and Dell Technologies, we saw an opportunity to implement a first-of-its-kind program – ‘Tinker from Home’. Our idea was to ensure that students get an opportunity to build creativity, innovation, problem-solving and critical thinking skills regardless of where they tinker and without being burdened by too many pre-requisites. Harnessing the collective synergy of our partnership, we launched a web portal, ‘Gaming Solution’.
This online, open source, accessible, and free-to-use gaming portal enhances learning through game- based education. The initiative equips anyone with a basic device and an internet connection to create games using interactive guides that run across three levels – beginner, intermediary and advanced. Each level is linked to a larger theme, which corresponds to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The students can go through the levels at their own pace. Convenient and simple to use, the platform ensures that students do not have to stare at screens for long durations. Technology will play a big role in shaping the future of our students and will have a direct impact on their employability. The Gaming Solution portal gives students an exciting way to engage with technology, while developing 21st century skills such as creativity, problem solving, design thinking, and analytical skills. It encourages them to be creators, rather than remain mere consumers.
Educators too have benefitted from this portal. It has helped them nurture the spirit of innovation in their students in a novel and interactive way. They have gained insight into the new-age skills required to create strong leaders for the bright future of our country. We have a dedicated team of trainers who orient the teachers to this platform such that they are empowered to amplify the learning that happens inside their classrooms. Our trainers are regularly upskilled on how to harness the potential of the virtual platform effectively.
Today, Amith has moved from being a game player to a game creator – a shift that has brought newfound excitement to his life. He enjoys going through the learning videos, which are easy to understand and well explained. Amith now has something to look forward to after he completes his schoolwork. He is eager to spend time on the platform, exploring his creativity and trying out new things.
Amith is one of over 9 lakh students who have benefitted from this Gaming Solution portal, along with more than 5000 educators. Students have come up with inspiring and innovative ideas to solve community problems. One student has created a game which allows the user to play around with various electronic components and learn more about circuits. Another student set out to solve the water shortage problem in the community by creating a game that propagates rainwater harvesting.
In this game, the player is challenged to collect or save as much rainwater as possible. If we are to meet the needs of workforce 2030, we need to think out of the box to build relevant skills and this gaming solution is an important step in that direction.
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