IIT Madras Empowers Rural Students with Advanced Scientific Knowledge, Including 3D Printing


IIT Madras Empowers Rural School Students with Advanced Scientific Understanding: Exploring the Inner Workings of Everyday Devices and 3D Printing

IIT Madras Professors and Students Bring Advanced Science and Engineering Education to Rural Tamil Nadu Schools with ‘Device Engineering Lab’

IIT Madras, in collaboration with Tech to Learn, has launched the ‘Device Engineering Lab’ initiative, which aims to foster ‘Out-of-the-Box’ thinking in rural school students. This program offers a three-year curriculum targeting students in Classes 8, 9, 10, and 11, enabling them to explore the inner workings of everyday devices and harness 3D printing technology for toy and household object fabrication.

By connecting IIT Madras students with their rural counterparts, the initiative seeks to instill a ‘Culture of Making’ at the school level, enhancing design and fabrication skills while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset. The hands-on training provided is designed to be experimental, allowing students to master 3D printing techniques, including Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). They will create device components, gears, wheels, and various toys.

Project Lead Prof. Pijush Ghosh of the Department of Applied Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering at IIT Madras emphasized the value of this initiative, stating, “We believe that the ‘Making in India’ culture should begin at the school level. IIT Madras is reaching out to rural schools to build this culture together. Through the process of making and fabricating, students gain a deeper understanding of concepts and principles, leading to increased confidence and a more engaging learning experience.

How Many Students Are Engaged?

A Total of 200 Postgraduate Students Contribute to DEL Labs Educational Content

A dedicated team of 200 postgraduate students, spanning 25 research labs, has been actively involved in curating content for DEL Labs. Their responsibilities encompass creating teaching modules, complete with documentation and PowerPoint presentations, and ‘Train the Trainer’ materials. Furthermore, a group of 30 postgraduate students recently took the initiative to directly impart device-related knowledge to rural students.

In parallel, 25 undergraduate students are focused on developing device repositories tailored to the school curriculum, while an additional 60 Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scholars are diligently crafting hands-on models to illustrate concepts and produce 3D-printed objects. In the coming 2-3 months, graduate students are expected to commence weekend visits to schools, facilitating instruction on these devices and 3D printing.

In addition to the support provided by IIT Madras graduate students, DEL also has dedicated trainers appointed for its programs.

Feedback from Students and Teachers

Student Feedback: B Srinath, a student at Government High School (GHS) in Karanaipuducherry, Chengelpet District, shared his experience, stating, “This has been an incredible learning journey for us.”

Teacher Feedback: Ms. PR Suryakala, Headmistress of GHS Karanaipuducherry, Chengelpet District, praised DEL Labs, saying, “DEL provides hands-on experience for our students. Often, students are told ‘Do not touch’ and ‘Do not break,’ but here, they get to explore and understand how these instruments function. It’s a fantastic opportunity for government school students, igniting their entrepreneurial aspirations for the future. Currently, DEL Labs are operational in 13 schools, directly benefiting around 1,000 students and indirectly impacting over 2,500 students. This number is poised to grow significantly as more classes become part of this initiative.

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