Kidtronics In October 2016, Kolkata hosted The National Round of World Robot Olympiad. A graduate from the Warwick University of the United Kingdom, Niyati Bansal was present at the event. She was surprised to see the host city stumble in the competition as most teams were from other cities. She realized the education system in Kolkata was far behind compared to the rest of India and decided to establish a robotic and S.T.E.M-based learning institute, Kidotronics and eventually, in March 2017, she was able to implement her idea in Kolkata and the whole of Eastern India.

How the Journey Progressed for Kidotronics
At the beginning of the journey, Kidotronics faced a lot of resistance as many students, parents, and educators were unaware of the importance of S.T.E.M learning and Robotics. As a solution, the Kidotronics team offered demo classes to schools and show them the benefits of a Robotics programme. "There was another challenge that we faced. Most of the parents presumed Robotics courses very complicated and advanced. They said that their children might not be able to grasp Robotics learning. We started the beginner programmes for them and introduced a short term hands-on course," says Niyati Bansal, Founder, Kidotronics.

Previously, few top education institutes across the country offered Robotics at graduation or post-graduation level programs. However, this year, 2019, CBSE took the revolutionary decision to include Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a skill-subject for classes 8 and 9, ensuring more awareness of Robotics and AI as a career option for students in the future.
Kidotronics made a difference in the learning process by taking students away from their textbooks and give them a hands-on experience of S.T.E.M education from in-school and after-school Robotics programme. They started following a spiral curriculum that is customized for students of different grades. Under this curriculum, the students learn the difficult concepts better and encounter the same concept in another project in a more useful manner. At least once in an academic year, Kidotronics organize a Robotics display or competition at each of the schools they teach and they encourage the students to present their own models or project.

"Kidotronics made a difference in the learning process by taking students away from their textbooks and give them a hands-on experience of S.T.E.M education

Every new project at Kidotronics is inspired by different animals or objects. They kept their focus mainly on Lego Robotics in the beginning and advanced in the field of the additive manufacturing process, and 3D designing and printing. Kidotronics have successfully organized workshops in schools and in their center.

"We customized our programmes according to the requirement of the students or the school. We offer short-term camps and workshops for those students who are looking for an introductory course or something fun to do during the holidays. We have weekly and regular classes for the students who are more passionate towards Robotics and want to go more in-depth of the subject. We have programs for schools that run for a full academic year and also for some schools like that offer a short workshop for a term," says Niyati.

It's Not Just S.T.E.M Learning
It's not just about S.T.E.M at Kidotronics. The Robotics curriculum combines electronic engineering, computer science, and mathematics and gives equal importance to each of the subjects. The students learn about gears, motors, sensors, and microcontrollers in the initial days. This exposure also increases their
expertise in building robots. "This is a fun learning class. Students do learn science, but in a way, they will remember. We believe in quality education. Every day we are flooded with new information, but how much can we memorize? If students have fun while learning something, they will remember it even after days. We follow the principles of great teachers, psychologists, and philosophers like Madam Maria Montessori, Seymour Papert, and Lev Vygotsky, and implement their methods such as practical play, discovery-based, experiential learning and zone of proximal development," says Niyati.

The Kidotronics journey has been far from smooth. But Kidotronics love the challenges and they knew it would not be an easy task to undertake, as it was difficult for the schools to include a completely new subject in their curriculum with a recommendation from a start-up! Recently, the institute has experienced exponential growth, with people realizing the importance and benefits of such a course. In just under two years of operations, Kidotronics have partnered with more than 20 institutes around West Bengal, and are currently taking regular classes in 9 of the most prestigious schools in Kolkata. They have given training to over 5,500 students already, and apart from schools, the camps and workshops have gained immense popularity in the city, and are some of the most sought after holiday camps for students. In 2018, Kidotronics participated in WRO for the first time from Kolkata and their teams won 1st and 3rd place in the national level out of 54 teams from all over India!

"To be able to make a substantial difference in the education system, we need to reach out to more students. We are also looking to expand in other cities in India and maybe introduce more programs involving S.T.E.M. Also, we plan to participate in the WRO 2019 in a much bigger way and train more teams," concludes Niyati.
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