Now children as young as five or six years of age can learn to design and code IoT devices, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) thanks to WizKlub. With its Young Product Designer Program, WizKlub exposes children to the latest technologies. The program provides the necessary skills to participate in Science & Technology Research Competitions globally.
MyBigPlunge in an interaction with Amit Bansal, CEO and Founder, WizKlub, discusses new technologies and programs the ed-tech offers:
What is WizKlub’s Young Product Designer Program all about?
We have programs in 2 domains – cognitive excellence and tech excellence: Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS), and Young Product Designer Program (YPDP). The YPDP enables children to experience a product designer’s journey to design-build-code IoT Devices like Smart Light and Mobile Robots using the latest technologies. YDPD takes a kid through the journey of product designing that includes hardware, software, and design through an easy to use drag-and-drop block based environment. Our Program exposes children to the latest technologies such as Conversational AI (Alexa), Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
The program starts with Hardware designing of the product using different IoT devices like LED’s, Actuators, Sensors, Motors to connect it with software to perform various functionalities. It is then followed by coding and developing a finished product (Hardware + Software) and using the same in the real world. The program provides the necessary skills to participate in Science & Technology Research Competitions globally. The program makes the child a technology enthusiast who looks at tech products around her from the eyes of an explorer and creator and not just a passive consumer. This leads to building the skill of using tech to solve real-life problems, a must-have skill for the future.
WizKlub has progressed 10000+ children through all its programs till date.
What age-group does the platform target? Is WizKlub able to work with children as young as 5-6 years old?
We are an ed-tech startup that builds Future Skills for school children aged 5-16 years old through our research-based programs, delivered on our AI powered tech platform. The platform provides a personalized approach and learning path for every child for cognitive and tech excellence.
We believe that the current generation of school going kids would require completely different skills to be equipped for future jobs. They would be working on jobs that don’t even exist today and to succeed in those careers, the students must have high proficiency in those skills. Higher Order Thinking Skills (complex problem-solving, analytical, critical, logical and creative thinking), collaboration skills and the ability to use Technology to solve problems will be the most valued of all skills. WizKlub is empowering kids with these skills when it is easiest to develop these skills with lifelong benefits.
Yes, we work with kids of 5 years and above. Our activities are centered to promote logical, creative or critical thinking, technology skills and prepare them for the future.
What are the advantages of working or skilling such young children? Are they able to grab the techniques easily?
Research from around the world suggests that the core aptitude of a child is set in early years and hence this is the best time to engage them in activities that build core skills to be useful later on. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University establishes that the best age to develop higher order thinking skills is early years. In fact, my earlier 2 ventures were in the higher education space where the team worked with over 50,000 engineering students across India that were aged beyond 16 years. We realized that with students at that stage, while we could create impact by skilling students on specific tools, the basic aptitude of a student is pretty much cast in stone and cannot be changed significantly. Hence, with WizKlub, we are working at the level where the impact is maximum and the effort to return ratios are the best!
WizKlub is committed to empower children with these skills in a fun and easy manner.
What programmes or sessions does WizKlub have for teenagers? In your teen group, are majority girls or boys?
We have both HOTS and Tech Programs (coding and IoT Robotics) across 5-16 years old. We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach where each 8 year old is given the same program. Instead, each child is given a personalized program which takes into account the existing level of the child on each of the 36 skills and the intervention for each skills is personalized for that kid. We start with a Level Mapping Assessment (LMA) to figure out the existing level of the child on different skills. Based on the LMA, the system automatically configures the intervention for that child for maximum learning efficacy. So, irrespective of whether we have a 8 year old or 14 year old student joining, the program is personalized for each child for maximum impact. We have an equal number of girls and boys in our program.
What is the response like from the parents?
Kids of today’s generation are surrounded by technology, so they can either grow up to be consumers of technology or can develop a perspective to be the master of technology and use it to create products and solutions that solve real-world problems. The tech perspective can be built by getting the kids to start using technology to create real products early in life. This involves kids understanding the design, coding and hardware aspects of building a tech product. A hybrid model that blends the real and technology world to supplement the child’s brain development is the need of the hour.
Parents have gradually gotten used to this thought of phygital learning (Physical + Digital) and are encouraging their children to take up online courses apart from their core curriculum. This is where WizKlub comes into the picture to create a million thinking minds with their programs.
The response from parents has been overwhelming as students have used a blend of this phygital learning to their advantage. We have an internal mechanism to take feedback from parents and students as that helps us understand their outlook towards the program and it also enables us to improve upon our current product offering.
We have had responses where parents are of the opinion that their child’s thinking pattern has improved, problem solving ability has become more efficient, and their concentration and comprehension have improved. On analyzing the feedback we figured that kids have improved on these aspects; compare & contrast, numeric patterns, simplifying problems, cause & effect, enhanced visualization capabilities and drawing efficient conclusions among others.
Parents are in favor of WizKlub’s platform since it is about imparting knowledge and building skills rather than just wasting time on screen. Parents often talk about the sense of pride that they have while seeing their kids building such projects independently. It gives them a sense of achievement.
Do you also offer artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) training programs to children? What are the advantages?
Yes, we believe that the students need to understand the advances in the area of AI and ML and must understand how these technologies work and can be leveraged to provide solutions. Our programs in ML and AI are designed to empower children to make products such as intelligent chatbots, image recognition apps, Conversational AI based apps leveraging technologies like Alexa. WizKlub’s Coding Program is unique as it does not require any prior knowledge or understanding of any programming skills. We start our curriculum with Blockly (Block based programming language) where a kid can develop his own custom Alexa skill using Blockly. Learning is more entrenched when it is fun.
Some of the advantages are that children need to figure out how technology is transforming every aspect of the world around us. The children can either grow up as passive consumers of technology or they could build the perspective of a tech explorer and creator early in life and grow with the confidence of being the masters of technology.
Will WizKlub be offering similar programs in the near future?
We would continue to offer programs that would make this generation ready for careers of the future. Though the domains would remain higher cognition, collaboration and technology, the tools and pedagogy would keep evolving with technology. For instance, we are prototyping an AI powered virtual learning assistant that would enhance the engagement levels and make the experience even more fun and efficacious. Directionally, we would continue to invest in both technology and Learning & Development functions to make these skilling programs more efficacious, and affordable.
WizKlub is a Bengaluru based ed-tech startup that builds Future Skills for school children through its research-based programs for 6-16 year olds. The WizKlub HOTS Program develops higher-order thinking skills to ensure that every child is a smart reader, independent thinker and an adept problem solver. The WizKlub Young Product Designer Program, a first-of-its-kind for children as young as 6 years, builds lifelong skills and confidence to create tech products by application of coding, robotics, smart devices, and latest technologies like AIexa.