A tinkering lab is a dedicated space where children are encouraged to pursue their inclinations, test how things function, experiment, and ultimately combine materials and ideas inventively. Tinkering is the process of disassembling something to comprehend how it operates and then reassembling it to create a better solution.
Not only is tinkering a rewarding and useful hands-on activity, but following one’s curiosities, determining how something works, and then redesigning a superior result is a metaphor for life!
What Are Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL)?
Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) is a major initiative under the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) by the Government of India. It serves as the flagship program of AIM. This program aims to foster an innovative mindset among young minds throughout India. The Atal Tinkering Labs have the appropriate equipment to facilitate experimentation but also a relaxing atmosphere and the company of peers with similar interests, accelerating the learning process and attracting more focus. In addition, there are aides and lab assistants to ensure the students’ safety, prevent the improper use of tools and equipment, and, most importantly, answer the “hows, whys, and whats” of the learners.
In addition, they provide a well-structured initial phase of experimentation or tinkering that leads students to learn, conceptualise, and innovate independently. Tinkering has already positively impacted the educational structures of many developed nations, and India is now situated to reap the benefits of Atal Tinkering Labs.
How Can Schools Setup Tinkering Labs?
Schools can collaborate with organisations like SRJNA that have been working to advance education to implement ATLs. They even provide schools with affordable tinkering kits and other equipment necessary for establishing the laboratories. They frequently conduct various activities, such as seminars, exhibitions, quizzes, and lecture series, which increase the child’s interest and knowledge. ATLs have demonstrated game-changing strategies over the past few years, and their graph is ascending.
How To Set Up Tinkering Labs Efficiently?
Through “do it yourself” activities, juvenile minds can be shaped into the minds of the new era at ATL. Through this, children in grades 6 to 12 can investigate and go beyond the standard curriculum. Here are the five steps that you need to follow to effectively and efficiently set up Tinkerings Labs:
- Developing a detailed plan for the project: Human resources, instruments and materials that can be used in the lab, functional areas such as physical space, and other essential content such as manuals should be included in the plan.
- Creating a structure of organisation for the Atal Tinkering Lab: Every ATL must have an advisory body to monitor its operations and compliance with the AIM’s rules and regulations. They must ensure that the ATLs are updated with the most recent technology and select the appropriate tools and other resources.
- Determining and preparing the necessary physical space: The schools applying for the tinkering labs would be required to build a physical infrastructure consisting of laboratories, workshop facilities, computer labs with internet access, and a meeting area. This would allow them to communicate with experts via video conferencing, and they could also use the internet to study online and locate the necessary materials for their research projects.
- Assigning Human Resources to the Laboratory: ATL should comprise a leader who connects with students and encourages them to think creatively. The individual in control would be accountable for the lab’s proper operation.
- Choose the equipment and supplies with care: It is essential to purchase the appropriate instruments. These materials should be purchased following NITI Aayog’s guidelines.
What Are the Eligibility Criteria for Setting Up Tinkering Labs in India?
One should match these criteria in order to qualify for setting up Tinkering labs on their premises.
- The government, local bodies, or private trusts or societies that manage schools can establish ATL.
- The applicant institutions must provide a minimum of 1,500 square feet of constructed space. Schools in hilly, Himalayan, and island states must provide at least 1,000 square feet of constructed space.
- Essential infrastructure, consisting of accessible computers and internet connectivity, is eligible.
- An uninterrupted power supply should be available.
- Science Labs must be available.
- Library and playground with regular staff and student attendance is mandatory.
FAQs on Tinkering Labs in India
The following are essential frequently asked questions on Tinkering Labs:
What is the benefit of having Tinkering labs?
Young minds can shape their ideas through hands-on experience and acquire innovative skills in this space. With the assistance of these labs, schools will not only represent the changing face of education that imparts knowledge about next-generation learning, but they will also assist students in identifying the best trends, practises, and tools that appear to be effective and scalable in providing quality education through technology.
What is the idea behind the Atal Tinkering Labs establishment?
Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) is an initiative of the central government of India to foster scientific temperament, innovation, and creativity among Indian students. It is a stride in the direction of a new India that embraces and encourages novel and innovative ideas and inventions.
How can I promote innovation following the installation of the “ATAL Tinkering LAB” in my school?
- Create a schedule for your students to access the tinkering laboratories regularly. Your children should spend three hours per week in the lab.
- Encourage teachers to assign lab-based, curriculum-relevant tasks for students to construct.
- Find mentorship volunteers for the students. Engineers and engineering students will excel at this.
How does Atal Tinkering Labs work?
Mentors guide the students to complete numerous science and mathematics assignments. In addition, they provide space for schools and students to investigate their engineering and technological abilities. The ATL has a team that works with students from 6th to 12th grade.
It informs them of the most recent innovations and addresses all their inquiries. The ATL provides students with the necessary resources to implement scientific ideas. It assists students in acquiring skills such as 3-D printing, aeromodelling, hardware prototyping, and even robotics.
What skill should an engineer possess for the Tinkering Lab?
The following skills must be present to become a tinkerer and be at tinkering labs:
- Ability in mathematics and aptitude for the theory aspect.
- People who like to explore.
- Those who are exceptional at solving issues.
- Those who exist to construct (i.e., tinker)
Furthermore, if we were to examine the majority of scientific or engineering innovations, we would discover that innovation occurs when a number of distinct theories are offered and combined in a meaningful, targeted manner. In a tinkering lab, students can conduct practical experiments with the knowledge they have acquired in the classroom, attempt to reconstruct the theories and observe the altered results.