Centre Govt.'s Atal Tinkering Lab boosting Students' confidence in Jammu

The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country. AIM is setting up a state of the art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) in schools across all districts across the country. These ATLs are dedicated innovation workspaces of 1200-1500 square feet where do-it-yourself (DIY) kits on latest technologies like 3D Printers, Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Miniaturized electronics are installed using a grant of Rs 20 lakhs from the government so that students from Grade VI to Grade XII can tinker with these technologies and learn to create innovative solutions using these technologies. This will enable creative problem solving, innovative mindset within millions of students across the country.

In 2016, only two schools from Jammu and Kashmir were chosen by the NITI Aayog for setting up ATL Labs. These two schools were Model Academy School, Jammu and Delhi Public School (DPS) Srinagar.

Since the mission's inception, the ATL Labs have succeeded in bringing a change in the learning sphere with the approach of inculcating Hands-on Methodology in the current education scenario as it is the need of the hour. This has brought a paradigm shift in the education sector. The labs are providing essential 21st-century skills which will help kids in developing their professional and personal skills.

Jammu Links News team visited the Model Academy to measure the sea change that these labs have brought in the style of teaching and learning. We interacted with the Principal, Staff, and Students regarding the Atal Innovation Mission and Atal Tinkering Labs.

The Principal of the School, Pramod Srivastava said, "We are proud that Model Academy was the first School to be selected for setting up ATL Labs in Jammu. These kinds of initiatives by State and Centre Government have definitively helped the students to improve their scientific temper and stay prepared in advance for the upcoming technological challenges in the real world."

He added, "In order to help other Students to learn the same exciting skills, we often invite kids from other Schools and even slum areas to get the hands-on experience of the new technology. Several events like exhibitions and competitions are organized to provide stimuli to their creativity."

Then, the JLN team moved on to have a look at the ATL Labs. We found various advanced equipment laid out on the tables and students engrossed in figuring out the details and working on various different projects. The equipment and DIY (do-it-yourself) kits in ATL labs were mainly related to the latest technologies, such as robotics, microcontroller boards, 3D printing, and sensors.

We interacted with the bright minds(Students) who have already registered for the Young Scientist Program (ISRO) and have also participated in IRC League i.e., South Asia`s Biggest Robotics Competition that aims to celebrate STEM and make innovation an area of passion for the young innovators.

A group of four students showed us various models that they have built after the setting up of ATL Labs in the School. The projects focused on bring solutions to real-world problems like "NIRBHEY Indian Army" which is supposed to check any threat in the line of sight, "smart tap", it helps to feed water to people when commanded and then also explained the 3D printing process. All of them were elated to get the first-hand experience of such creative technologies.

In the ATL lab, the students have learned the process of soldering and the basic use of electrical equipment which was quite out of their reach earlier.

The Staff also expressed enthusiasm about working on such new projects and talked about their experiences. Both the teachers and students are guided by ATL teams in case of any hiccups in the project.

We found the whole experience quite refreshing as the ATL Labs are enabling students to create a problem solving, innovative mindset which will ultimately benefit the nation.

The mission's vision is that every School should have access to at least one or more Atal Tinkering Labs in each district of the country. This year many Government Schools in both Jammu and Srinagar have given a special preference in the consideration of ATL selections.

The funds would soon be released for them to set up ATL labs and engage students and teachers in identifying problems in and around their communities and creating innovative solutions leveraging the ATL technologies to achieve the objectives of the program. 



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Hardeep Bali