Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Education and Gamification - 4 Lessons

Jesse Schell inspires me. Over the past few days, Jesse's various videos, blogposts and talks introduced me to the world of Gaming. Here are 4 ideas from Jesse Schell and the Gaming World on how to make Education Beautiful again.

Find out more about Jesse's work here -

What Education can learn from Video Games - Jesse Schell

Jesse Schell is the founder of a gaming company called Shell Games. There is so much education can learn from the gaming world and Jesse Schell point out why in his talk titled, ‘Learning is Beautiful’ at the learning without frontiers conference.

He describes how almost everything around us has become beautiful by giving examples of the varieties of toothbrushes, designs of the Apple iPhone and the Gateshead Building design.

He spoke about four aspects of gaming that education can learn from and described each one of them as follows:-

Difference between Education and Learning?

"It has always been my opinion that 'education' is something people do to you, whereas 'learning' is something you do for yourself," – Joichi Ito, 2013 Director of MIT Media Lab

Nothing disappoints me more than a young person telling me he has given up learning because the education system told him he was a bad student. 

No individual is a bad student. I wanted to understand what was the difference between Education and Learning. Insights here - 

9th Grade – Changing Paths and Catching Up

My turmoil with the preparatory institute continued in the ninth. After a two week break at the end of the eighth grade, I started my preparations for an entrance exam I was going to give four years later again. It was the first semester of the ninth grade and I knew I was in trouble.

I followed the same pattern of failing tests and rote-learning notes for the first semester of the ninth grade. Depression was a natural side – effect of this environment.

Stand up for yourself Abhishek!
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Learning how to use a Smart Phone and Microscope?

How to Encourage Learning?

Dale Daugherty is one of the founders of the Makerspace Movement. He has helped create environments where children create and learn with tools at the same time. He delivered an interesting keynote about the importance of letting children explore and make things at the SXSWedu conference in 2013. The talk was titled ‘Magic of Making – Engaging students as makers’.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Learning from Plays

I saw my first play in 2012. I knew I had fallen in love with the craft then.

Learning at Literature Festivals in India

India hosts over 60 literature festivals every year. These events have some of the best writers in the country sharing insights about their writing process and books.

Read this Al Jazeera article about Literary Festivals in India - Here is a post about my experience and some learning insights at two such festivals of the country:-

Tata Literature Live Festival 2013, Mumbai

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 8 - Radio, Film Making, Photography, Stand Up Comedy at the Media Conference

Bring Alive Conversations with Radio!

Sonia Parasnis a radio professional with 13 years of experience in the field was the first speaker on Day 2. The first talk was scheduled for 10 am. I had come in a little early to avoid the rush hour traffic on the local Mumbai trains.

Learning points from Mrs Sonia’s talk were:-

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 7, Travel Shows, Sound Branding and Responsible Journalism at The Zeitgeist Media Conference

After six days of festivals, talks, and performances, there was still more to go on this learning experiment.

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 6 - Film Adventures Continue

I was going to attend my 2nd day of the Mumbai Film Festival, 2014 on this day.

I reached the venue by 10 am. I had woken up early on this day and managed to catch the morning train to the NCPA, before the rush hour crowd came in.

From 10 am to 12 am, I saw a few Canadian Animation films, a film about National Highway 39 in North East India and a film titled, ‘Mokama Fast Passenger’ about a labour contractor who has a family in the countryside and an affair with another lady in the city.

The Subtext of Anger

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 5 - The Mumbai International Film Festival

After two great learning days at the KalaGoda Arts Festival, I decided to spend the 6th and 7th February at the Mumbai International Film Festival. There were over 200 films being shown at the festival for six days. The movies mainly included documentaries, short films and animation films.

Plan for the Festival

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 4 - Mystery Writing, Fashion World and Poetry Reading

I jump into a Mumbai local train with over a 100 people stuffed into one compartment on 5th February, 2014. It was 12:30 pm  the afternoon at a busy railway station in Mumbai.

Insights from a Mystery Writing Workshop

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 3 – Book Launch, Film Festival

I walk out of the Arbour, which was the name of the Workshop Venue at the festival. I then decide to spend the rest of the evening watching movies at the Mumbai International Film Festival. I had to walk from Kalagoda to the NCPA which was about one-two kilometers away.

When you stumble upon a book launch

Mega Learning Experiment – Part 2 - Workshops, Friends

I woke up early on the 4th February. I had to catch an early morning train to Churchgate from the suburbs, before the rush hour started in the morning.

I reach Churchgate by 9 30 am. My workshop was to start at 11 am. So I decided to explore the street book stalls in Churchgate. Most of these stalls have a good collection of latest fiction and non fiction books. You can even pay half the price sometimes, if you return the book after reading it. I spent an hour and a half looking through the collection at these stalls after which I headed for Kala goda for the workshop.

Writing Workshops at Kala Goda

Mega Learning Experiment

On the 1st of February 2014, I decided to go on another learning experiment. There were three major events happening in Mumbai at that time.

1) 10 Day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2014

2) 6 Day Mumbai International Film Festival
3) 2 Day Zeitgeist Media Conference - St. Xaviers

Festival, Festival, Festival

Monday, November 17, 2014

Learning from Plays

Yesterday night, I saw a play at the NCPA. It was titled, 'Einstein' and was produced by Motley's Production House. For one hour the brilliant Naseeruddin Shah took us into Einstein's world, into Einstein's mind, into a world of science. How fascinating, that a play could let you explore a new world and yet be present in the same one.

My First Play

Teachers – Please Listen to Us Too

The Good Students in Class

Some students knew all the answers. They were the smart ones. We all wanted to be like them.

Kalaghoda Arts Festival and Amin Hassan

Mumbai is a city in love with its festivals. Diwali, Eid and Christmas are all celebrated with great pomp and valour all over the city. But Culutral Celebrations are another set of activities that bring the people of Mumbai together. Culture through literature, cinema, theatre, music, dance is something that many Indians in urban and rural centers of the country have grown up to appreciate and celebrate.

I had just attended the Jaipur Literature Festival from the 23rd January to the 28th January 2012. I arrived in Mumbai for another festival happening here in the first week of February.

The Kalaghoda Arts Festival 

The Worst Year of My Student Life – Part 2

Why was I so stupid?

Make a Friend Anywhere

You can indeed make a friend anywhere. Here is the story of one friend I made along the way.
Friday, November 14, 2014

The Worst Year of My Student Life – Part 1

Joining a prep school

The Education I Want

At one point in my life as a student at school I was a horrible student. At another point I was a very good student. But at the end of the day I was still the same student.

8th Grade and the Prep School

I was really looking forward to the eighth grade. The class would be shuffled again and I would have new friends, new experiences and new things to learn. I was optimistic.

The first semester was not very different from my experience in the seventh grade. More rote learning. More Grades. Study, Do Not Understand. That is the objective. Stay Focused. If you do not suffer now, then what will you do in the real world? (…In my head…What in the world is the real world?...What world am I in now?.... Scratch my head and nod back with a smile…I have no clue what is going on!)

7th Grade and Super – Rote Learning

I was entering the dangerous years. I was becoming a teenager. There was uncertainty written all over my face.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why don’t students' question more often - Andy’s Story

In Educational institutions you are considered a good student if you are very bright on the academic side and not very rebellious. But some students ask questions. Questions seem like a form of rebellion. Many of them are very valid questions. They are considered rebels. How dare a student question the textbook? How dare a student question authority?

Can’t authority be wrong sometimes? Can’t authority be questioned sometimes? As a student I was part of both the groups. I would not question, because I was worried it may have been wrong. But then I questioned my reasoning behind not asking more questions. Soon I was a menace in class.
Monday, November 10, 2014

Shantiniketan – Tagore and Education – Part 1
Tagore with the teacher and students at the school. Image credit -

What was Shantiniketan all about?

Questions Students' Ask?

What do students think about? I was curious.  

Saturday, November 8, 2014

7 Lessons Play Can Teach a Child?

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

Till the fifth grade, life mostly revolved around play. There were at least three - four hours of play everyday. The big open playground next to my house played a major role in making that possible.

Children of different ages from the 1st to the 12th grade would come together and we would self organize ourselves and play late into the evening. There was an element of intelligence and superior understanding in all that we did. There were various things I learned from play which include:-

The Classroom Experiment - Dylan Williams

There was a BBC Documentary made by My Dylan Williams called ‘The Classroom Experiment’. In the two part series, Mr Dylan who is a teacher and government advisor takes over a year 8 class at a secondary comprehensive for one semester to test simple ideas that he thinks could improve the quality of education.
Friday, November 7, 2014

Pre Primary School - The Extra-ordinary Genius of Little Children

Till the age of six or seven, I remember school being lots of fun. In school, there was lots of play, experiential learning and activities. Everyone participated in the classroom and we were all intelligent and got stars for our work. I also got to spend lots of time with my family. I was definitely learning a lot in this environment. Why was learning so much fun at the pre - primary level?
Image -
Thursday, November 6, 2014

Follow Your Passion

I decided to take a gap year from my college education in 2013. I started thinking about the various projects I wanted to work on in this period. How I would continue my education in this period? I decided to google some ideas and here are some insights. 

The Human Baby and the Baby Giraffe

Dr Peter Gray - The Importance of Play in a Student's Life

Dr Peter Gray is a psychology professor from Boston University. He writes a popular blog on the Psychology Today website called, ‘Freedom to Learn’. He writes and speaks about the importance of play, curiosity and exploration in the lives of little children.
It was quite a learning adventure studying the archives of this blog on the importance of play in a child’s life. Here are some insights.

Why Create a Portfolio?

A conversation with a client in Dubai, introduced me to an interesting new understanding of the way people judge an individual’s credibility.
The client wanted to see my work.  
The first question I was asked was...