More about Kanimuni

This project is based on two pedagogical approaches ‘play and learn’ and ‘learn to learn’. Project aims to create interactive physical as well as digital games (Online + Offlline) that facilitate learning in primary and secondary schools.
These games will help students organically ‘make sense’ of various concepts in languages, science and mathematics. The design will be such that most Indian children and especially those from the northeast can relate to. These games will range from activity based to computer-based games so as to cater to various levels of resource availability in surroundings. We will develop digital versions of these games, which can be installed on personal computers as well android devices. We will constructively capitalize on immense interest of students in online social networks by developing online social versions of educational games.
Testing will be done in government schools nearby IIT Guwahati Campus and villages near IIT Guwahati. Primary and secondary school students will be asked to play these games as a group activity in the various outreach programs that are run by the institute. These students will then be monitored for improvement in learning benchmarks and the inferences will be reported.

The project also involves an initiative to encourage students and teachers to make their own games. The training for design and development of games will be provided through few workshops.


Effective from: 1st December 2015

Project duration: 18 Months

Background

Education is always one of the primary concerns for any nation. Many countries are going through educational reforms with new trends and research in pedagogy. There are many experiments going on in education. Finland has recently changed its educational structure from subject based to topic based. New century has brought us to new threshold with emerging technology and abundance of information.

There are many experimental schools running in India like, Rishi Valley in Pondicherry, Mahatma Gandhi Satya International School in Ahmedabad, Tridha in Mumbai, Gurukul in Pune, etc. These schools have their inspiration based on many international schools and Indian reformists like Tarabai Modak, Gijubhai Badheka, upto Arvind Gupta who has devoted their whole life for school education. But all the experiments done by these schools or reformists are self-initiated and are successful due to enormous motivation of few individuals. It is very difficult to replicate any of these models across the country.

India is the country of enormous population. It is almost an impossible objective for the government to provide education for each and every child. On such a large scale, it is impossible to customize the learning experience to every child as per its need, potential and aspiration. The standardization of the education system has its limitations and many times falls short to nourish kids with non-ordinary capabilities and in challenging leaving situations. It is unfair to limit education to the walls of schools and words of teachers. Most education in India is classroom based and the focus of most teachers is to complete the syllabus in an exam oriented manner. This doesn’t leave much scope for activity-based learning. As a result, most kids can’t relate what they learn in school to any real life experience and hence can’t really ‘make sense’ of their school curriculum.

In the country like ours it is required to create and made available lot many learning opportunities for everyone and anyone who want to learn. These opportunities should be socially unbiased and culturally rich. It will reduce the load on formal education system and students will be well equipped to learn on their own.

Pedagogical philosophy

There is abundant literature available on the significance of constructivist approach in education. It is more than five decades the theory of constructivism has made its mark on educational system. But it is not yet adapted successfully in Indian education on larger scale. Constructivism emphasizes on learning through our own experience. It suggests activity based learning and learning by doing. Combining this approach with Gardner's theory of multiple intelligence lead us to various activities involving multiple senses. Learning through real material activities requires lots of material resources and time. Availability and affordability of resources and time in formal school system put a great constraint on application of constructive approach in classroom teaching.

Probable solution to come out of this bottleneck situation is creating informal learning resources. Games are the best medium to provide scope to implement ‘multiple intelligence’ as well as to involve learner in self-motivated activity. Hence this project is offering to design and develop learning resources in the form of games. This project will not only provide games to schoolchildren but also will provide the direction to create their own games. It will make them capable and confident to learn through making games and sharing with others.

User Group under focus

IITG has been involved with various educational outreach programs in the villages neighboring the campus. Our experience has been that the level of primary and secondary education is extremely dismal. Almost 80% of secondary school children cannot solve basic problems in arithmetic. Maths for them is mere memorization and, to a very small extent, symbol manipulation. The situation of language education is equally poor and most children have extremely poor reading skills even in their language of instruction. Various studies show that this is the case across India in most government and municipal schools. Strength of collaboration

In this project, we aim to develop educational games, which will enable the children to play with concepts that they learn in school. These games will be culturally sensitive and will try to incorporate their daily experiences. These can be used as supplementary learning material. We plan to make digital and physical versions of these games. Care will be taken to see that the material used is easily available. The digital version will be freely available online and also be portable to Android based systems.

Design Approach

Participatory design approach will be used for this project. Various stakeholders involved in school education will be brought together with students and professional with background of design and technology to design and develop these games. Every one will be given a platform to come up with their own ideas to gamify the educational concepts. The principles of game design will be demonstrated through making games. It will emphasize on learning by doing.

For user understanding, ‘lean UX design’ approach will be taken to channelize time and efforts for better productivity. Testing will be given more importance rather than initial user research. During testing it will be possible to derive focused inferences that can be used for improvements of games.