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Albert Einstein: the name itself conjures up an image of awe and admiration, for perhaps any person on Earth. By far one of the greatest and most famous scientists of all time, Einstein created an iconic image of a scientist with his tousled hairstyle, his moustache and that naughty twinkling of his eye as he was wont to say `now I will a little think’ . He was perhaps the first celebrity or ‘superstar’ scientist, establishing himself during an era when mass communication, television, radio etc were all technologies that were coming to the fore. He was also incredibly witty, charismatic and a great humanist, that makes his quotes some of the most popular ones around. His name is synonymous with “genius”, and is used endearingly to anyone who seems to be “smart” or precocious, or makes a witty comment. While his genius is unquestionable, Einstein also led a very colourful life.

Born into a Jewish family in 1879 Germany, Einstein grew up as any normal child would. Popular belief has it that he was “weak in mathematics”, at school. But if you read more about him, you realise that he had mastered differential and integral calculus by the age of 14! He excelled in physics too, and obviously showed an inclination towards it very early in his life. Growing up in Munich, he also got seriously interested in philosophy and music, both of which would remain life-long passions. Einstein played the violin, and could fiddle away a Bach or Beethoven violin sonata with ease! When Einstein was 13, his family moved to Italy. After completing his schooling in Munich, Einstein also joined them a year later. In 1895, he enrolled into a secondary school in Switzerland, a country that soon became his adopted home. Study at the Zurich Polytechnic was followed by a job in the Swiss patent office, in Bern, which he got after waiting for a job for more than two years after he had graduated. It is incredible how a lot of Einstein’s most profound discoveries were made while he worked at the patent office, at his “boring job”. I guess it shouldn’t surprise too many of us in India: our most famous scientist, Sir C V Raman, also made several scientific breakthroughs while working as an accountant in the Accountant-General’s office in Calcutta’s central business district!

Nevertheless, Einstein started publishing scientific papers while continuing for a few years at his day job at the patent office. This resulted in him being conferred a PhD (distance learning at its best!) by the University of Zurich, and by 1908 he was already considered a leading scientist. Over the next several years, Einstein was on the faculty of universities in Bern, Prague, Zurich and Berlin. Meanwhile, Einstein had a tumultuous, and often controversial, personal life. Several famous books  have been written on the subject, especially with new correspondence having come to light over the last few decades. His treatment of his first wife, Mileva Maric, and family is well-documented and notorious – a disowned first child born out of wedlock was abandoned; marriage brought two more children, and divorce destroyed the family: one of his sons ended up being a schizophrenic and killed himself at the age of 20. Einstein already had an affair with his first cousin, Elsa, during his first marriage. After divorce from Mileva in 1919, he married Elsa. She tragically died in 1936, after they had already moved to the United States. Einstein left Europe for good of his own accord in 1933, because by 1932 he had been convinced that things were going to get worse in Germany and detesting anti-Jewish propaganda and totalitarian politics, he did not want to stay there any more. He had a visiting position at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and also an offer of a professorship at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, a fledgling institution then, which gave him an opportunity to leave his native land without causing any flutter. Einstein relinquished his German citizenship and settled in America: first at Caltech, and then IAS, Princeton for the rest of his life.

And during all these personal upheavals, Einstein’s scientific output of very high quality continued at a mind-boggling pace. His work was unprecedented and remains unsurpassed; its quality unparalleled! It had all started with a bang in 1905, termed “Einstein’s Miracle Year”. He wrote three path-breaking papers that year (among many more): on Brownian Motion, the Photoelectric Effect (for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1921; this is the Centenary Year to celebrate his Award) and the Special Theory of Relativity, that remarkable piece of work that shows how the speed of light cannot be bettered, and hence how time can dilate and mass can increase as objects move closer to the speed of light. This led to perhaps the most famous equation in the world, E = mc2, thereby creating an equivalence between mass and energy, which theoretically unshackled the energy contained within an atom, and explained to us how stars burn and produce energy. This also led to the eventual invention of the atom and hydrogen bombs, which altered history forever, as the former was used on humans by the USA at the end of World War II, when it bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands and maiming millions. The scars of that act will last till humans live on this planet. Einstein, as a great pacifist, was also scarred by these horrific acts of war and violence. He implored the US government to never use the bomb and his personal letter to FD Roosevelt, beseeching him to refrain from using the weapon, reached the White House as FDR was dying and the cover remained unopened. Unfortunately, Roosevelt’s hawkish successor, Harry Truman, ordered the first and only use so far of a weapon of mass destruction as soon as he became the President.

Coming back to Einstein, by 1911 he had formulated the basic tenets of the General Theory of Relativity (GR, or GTR), arguably the greatest ever achievement of the human mind. Einstein postulated that gravity can warp “space-time”, which he thought of as a continuum pervading throughout the Universe. Not only was the idea revolutionary and hard to comprehend, most scientists of the day had a hard time believing it. In 1919, the famous British astronomer, Arthur Eddington, conducted observations during the solar eclipse that proved that aspect of the theory: that gravity distorts space-time. He did so by looking at the position of stars directly behind the Sun during an eclipse, and found that their apparent position in the sky was marginally different from when the same stars are seen during the night. And the predictions of GR matched exactly with the observations. The Sun’s gravity had actually bent light! Today, the same principle is used to image faraway galaxies, which are obscured by nearer massive galaxies. This has allowed us to measure distances to some extremely faraway galaxies very accurately, and the phenomenon is known as “Gravitational Lensing”. Today, GR corrections are used in day-to-day applications, e.g. GPS satellites, without which we wouldn’t be able to use our Google Maps or satellite communication systems accurately and adequately. Most brilliantly, GR also predicts the presence of Gravitational Waves, and only over the last few decades has technology reached a level where it has been able to build gravitational wave detectors. In the last 6-8 years, these most sophisticated detectors (read about “LIGO”) have actually detected these predicted waves, which have emerged from massive cosmic events, like the merger of two black holes or neutron stars, billions of light years away!

So Einstein’s impact on our daily life and on our imagination, is MASSIVE, no pun intended! He always had a love for Eastern cultures and civilisations, and had close interactions with many famous Indians. His letters to Gandhi are famous, and although they never met, they had a great admiration for each other. Einstein helped SN Bose publish his famous papers in Europe, and that led to an immediate recognition of Bose to the world and created a great partnership and friendship, for which “Bose” and “Einstein” are often uttered in the same breath: “Bose-Einstein Condensate” and “Bose- Einstein Statistics”. Particles that obey the latter are of course known as bosons, and how ubiquitous that word has become thanks again to the discovery of the Higgs Boson a few years ago. Einstein’s meetings with Tagore remain close to the heart of most Indians, as they too shared a great respect for each other. And while Einstein’s theories and discoveries will last for all time, some questions remain unanswered, e.g. a unified theory to describe all forces: he could never reconcile gravity with the other three forces, he never accepted the breakdown of causality as in quantum uncertainty; or what really is happening inside a Black Hole and is all its mass really concentrated in zero volume, a singularity?

Let me end this with a few of my favourite quotes of Einstein:

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds”

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as much
as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

About Gandhi: “Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and
blood walked upon this Earth.”

Long live the spirit of this remarkable man!

Around 200 years back in the early 19th century, in a city of Switzerland, there was a system for businessmen from around the country to meet once in a year to showcase their new products and services. This conference was a place for making and breaking of deals and new businesses getting started as well as destroyed. Those days we had clocks but no wrist watches. A small group of 5 artists had come up with an idea of adding a chain to a clock and making it small enough to look elegant on soft wrists. They showcased 10 wrist watches as jewellery articles for women in the annual conference with the hope that the design would be bought by one of the clock making businessmen. Instead, those who made clocks saw them as a threat. As soon as they realised that the artists took 2 months to design one wrist watch, they came up with a plan to consume their product instead of promoting it. They purchased all the 10 watches at a healthy price and hid them by gifting them to ladies they were related to. However, the artists came with 20 watches next year. The clock making businessmen repeated what they did the previous year. The trend continued for another two years. By the fourth year, the clock making businessmen (now converted to registered companies) started coming with a pre-approved budget and arrangement for consuming the watches made by the artists. However they were caught by a surprise in the fifth year when the artists displayed ten thousand watches. The clock making companies ran out of their capacity to consume the watches. On the contrary, they had unknowingly created enough buzz about wrist watches by selectively gifting it to some eminent women in Switzerland, which helped the artists sell the 10k watches at a healthy price.

This imaginary story is an example of what is known as Biomimicry, where you adapt a phenomenon exhibited by nature for solving a problem in human life. Velcro is one of the most popular examples of Biomimicry, where George de Mistral (also a Swiss Engineer) found some seeds stuck on himself and his dog after one of his walks. As he dug deeper, he noticed the special design of the seeds, which allowed them to get stuck not just to George’s dog, but to any animal that has a little hair on its body. While this digging deeper led George to come up with the design of what is used in multiple consumer products as a fastener, it is also interesting to dig deeper into why trees do this. Since trees cannot walk, they use animals, wind and water to send their seeds to long distances. Unlike humans and many other animals, plants want their off-spring to grow as far from themselves as possible. This avoids competition for resources between the parent and child plant. Different plants adopt different strategies to achieve this distant dispersal of seeds. Some make their seeds light enough to be easily carried by the wind while some add unique design features (like the helicopter seed), which make the seeds spin, thereby maximising the time for which they stay in the air. This enables them to travel long distances via wind. On the other hand, some trees lure the animals by producing tasty fruits, which the animals consume. The fruits contain the seeds, which get excreted by the animals at a place away from the parent plant. Some seeds, like chestnuts and acorns, are consumed directly by the animals like the squirrels. If the seeds get eaten up, why do trees make them that way? Well! The squirrel eats some of the seeds and hides the extra ones. It often forgets some of the hidden ones. However, the hidden and forgotten seeds are only promos from the trees. These trees give a surprise during one of the years by increasing the number of seeds produced by 10x. Typically you have one squirrel living on one tree. Though it is a treat for the squirrels, there is a limit to what they can consume. This mechanism of producing more seeds as a surprise is called masting. The business model adopted by the wrist watch artists mimics masting. Have you seen other businesses following this model? Though humans may mimic the model, can we figure out and mimic the communication and collaboration shown by these trees? It is nothing less than magic how all the trees in a region synchronise so as to perfectly time the masting event simultaneously!

The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Through the constant development of human civilisation, the value associated with intellectual coherence has only increased. As the importance of an enriching education has been understood and realised, the demands from it have evolved.

In the 21 st century, the responsibility to provide everyone with the background skills to cope with the fast paced changes of the present and future has been shouldered by scientists and educators. In this regard, the World Economic Forum (WEF) (in a report analysing the New Vision for Education) has listed a set of 16 skills that students must inculcate to assert their character and competency. Scientific literacy features among the foundational subset of the same.

(WEF report: https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_New_Vision_for_Education.pdf )

Scientific literacy is rooted in the most general principles and broad knowledge of science. It requires one to observe, question, test, evaluate and revise our opinions as needed. Science is about continually acquiring new knowledge but more importantly, it’s about keeping an open and curious mind. Developing scientific literacy should be a priority at every stage of a child’s education—both inside and outside of the classroom.

At ThinkTac, we recognise the wonders that an engaging approach to learning science can have. We encourage children to explore and question the world around them, as well as continue with their science education. Our programmes let young students have fun while they master science with our Hands-on, Experiential Science programmes even from the comfort of their home. The study of science and maths are originally like games – with rules but no objectives and that is essentially how they must be treated.

(Link: https://www.thinktac.com/ )

Scientific literacy is paramount to the 21 st Century society. UNESCO provided a universal goal by the name of STL –Scientific and Technological Literacy to reaffirm the same. In India, the fight for the universalisation of education is still very much on, and the implementation of STL is impossible to envision in the near future.

The way to create an impact, is then to attempt amends at a grassroots level. Science-education strategies should focus on increasing the scientific literacy of the general public. Educators have simplified the basic methodology to implement the same, and fit it into a sentence plug with acronyms to make it easier to recollect. It goes as follows-
Peter Right Has Excellent Apple Cakes”
Here the letters expand as:
P- Purpose
R- Reasoning
H- Hypothesis
E- Experimentation
A- Analysis
C- Conclusion

The sole purpose of introducing this at the grassroot level is to breakdown the complexity that experimentation is associated with. It can be done by integrating experiential learning aids like cards, tactile boxes and natural findings into the syllabus. It helps students get a feel of how scientists think in real time and could ignite the seed of innovation in their minds. This method makes them think cogently and view the world with a keen eye for concept and detail. This approach will also foster interdisciplinary cooperation.

Ultimately, scientific literacy has 3 objectives – to help people understand day to day issues of global pertinence, to appreciate how the natural laws of science influence their lives and to gain perspective on the intellectual climate of their time. All of this, in turn, will improve their chances of lifetime success. As American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “If you’re scientifically literate, the world looks very different to you, and that understanding empowers you.”

  1. Correlation

Have you ever baked a cake? 

If you have, you know that binge watching YouTube tutorials and re-reading the recipe till you can recite it in your sleep are sure shot ways of prepping yourself for the actual event. But what you also might know is that until you don the mitts and take in the heat of the oven, you don’t know what you’re in for.

It is going to take you not one, not even two but quite a good number of attempts to bake the perfect treat for yourself.

The phrase ‘Old habits die hard’ is quite true in experimentally every case. When you are exposed to something routinely, withdrawal from it is an uphill task. Now, some genius sitting with his thoughts in some corner of the world thought to himself—What if we made things we needed to learn a habit? Chances are that they wouldn’t ever escape one’s memory.

This is a probable thought from which experiential learning found its existence. Experiencing theoretical concepts through real world simulations of the same is what this system encompasses.

  1. Definition

A more technically accepted definition of experiential learning would be a hands-on experience of concepts which are aimed at inculcating critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. One could also make sense of it as repeated cycles involving experience, reflection, conceptualization and experimentation in any order.

  1. Food for thought

Aristotle famously said, “For the things we have to learn: Before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”, this is merely the essence on which the larger dream of the inclusion of experiential learning in every realm of academics is based.

Experiential learning as a term could invoke a sense of complexity, but truth to be told, it can be as simple as making a paper-boat. Everyone is surrounded by science. As generic as this statement is, looking at the world around you- your routinely tasks or items lying around you and integrating them with basic science concepts can itself pave the way for greater understandings that are more often self-taught. Each one of us can have our own Newton and the apple moment if we paid enough attention. The possibilities are endless and the learnings are limitless. 

  1. The need

Today is truly a good time for the enthusiasts of science and technology. Opportunities are knocking many doors and the world is more accepting than ever. It is no more a society that rigidly upholds its ideals of the earth being flat. Yet, it is sad to see that top graduates and academically progressed individuals find themselves at the hands of monotony and are far from the liberation of innovation. To propel the fuel that innovators need, experiential learning is a sure shot go-to.

Click here to get your own experiential science kit from ThinkTac.

Vaishnavi Deepak

Scientific literacy is a priceless gold mine. It shapes the present and future of not only individuals but societies as well. With science focusing more on evolution and innovation, it comes as no surprise that its pedagogy is also evolving. Scientific literacy, today, is a combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes which reflect the traditional learning methods.

As Herbert Spencer rightly mentioned, “In science, the important thing is to modify and change one’s ideas as science advances.” In this decade,  there was a radical shift in the approach towards learning and teaching STEM subjects. The experimental approach is, gradually, being traded for an experiential approach. To decipher the reason behind this  transition, it is important to understand the fundamentals of both methods

Experimental learning focuses more on testing theoretical aspects. A scientist devises experiments on relevant topics, substances or events, to put her/his theories to test. The outcome of her/his experiments may either confirm or contradict his theories. In certain cases, she/he may have to abandon her/his experiments. This type of pedagogy limits teaching to a laboratory centered approach.

children learning science by  experiential learning.

Experiential learning is a teaching strategy that links field, laboratory and classroom experiences with real-life situations and applications Experiential learning also exposes students to real-life experiences when scientific theories are brought to life through a series of applications (not limited to experiments). Field and laboratory activities enable students to focus and reflect on a task,  allowing them to develop a better understanding of the concepts at hand.  

Now, that we have established the basic distinction between both the effective methods, it should not be hard to identify that experiential learning is a more inclusive and practical approach to both teaching and learning. This approach appears to be more effective as it is a combination of many schools of thought, including but not limited to concrete experiences, reflective observations, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

Experiential learning imparts qualities like cogent thinking, critical reasoning and the ability to make astute observations; thereby, being one of the reasons for it to be implemented in scientific study. Hands-on learning is better than traditional science learning, as it provides industry relatable experience.   Establishing the learning outcome of any topic will help in introducing appropriate hands-on learning activities to students through various experiential disciplines.  This will help students unlearn and restructure their understanding of the concepts of any topic, leaving no room for ineffective learning. 

An added advantage of employing such methods is the piqued interest levels in children.  Hands-on approaches can also be introduced at the higher education level to ensure students get more involved in experiential learning. Irrespective of the learning outcome, providing a reflective, interactive and student-centric method of learning will help students remember the concepts for a longer time.  As Aristotle famously said, “For the things, we have to learn: Before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Achieving the dream of including innovation in every realm of academics is possible, through the implementation of experiential learning.

Author – Vaishnavi Deepak

Learning is an ongoing process. It is something that follows its master everywhere. Whether it is homework, preparing for an assignment or studying for an exam, it is not a practice that is limited to confined spaces.

The existing education system has a conventional view towards learning, more like a horse’s blinker. Restricting learning to the four walls of a classroom is a common mistake that teachers and parents make while nurturing students and children who are born learners. While the classroom is the primary source of instruction, it is vital that – intellectual, social and academic growth extend outside the walls of the classroom.

The concept of ‘home assignments’ was first thought of, to inculcate the discipline of putting time into one’s craft in young children. However, today it is a stale concept as it has been veiled as a punishment and hence, has lost its primary goal.

There is a pressing need to re-evaluate ‘outside-the-classroom’ learning practices and find a secret potion to motivate young talented students to take up these learning practices.

We, at ThinkTac, have you covered as we present to you, the top three tricks that will help today’s academicians and parents master the art of ensuring learning is taken back home.

Here goes:

  • Make efforts to create a reading environment:

Every space that students surround themselves with, should be conducive to learning. And reading is a habit that is not time or space-bound.

Read to your child frequently. Have your child read aloud. Create a family reading time/room where everyone focuses on reading for at least 20 minutes a day.

Fill your classroom and home with reading materials (novels, posters, newspapers, magazines, etc.) to create an atmosphere of reading, that will indicate the importance of reading to your child (or students).

Make sure the demarcated area is quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. Try to experiment with different study areas. 

  • Combine fun and learning at home:

Most children look forward to returning home from school,  as it allows them to indulge in activities that help them unwind/relax. It would do the children a world of good if their recreational hobbies were integrated with academic ideas to help them grasp concepts better.

Think “science experiment” and you might have visions of a chemistry lab explosion. Fear not! You don’t have to turn your kitchen into a blast zone to teach science. There are plentiful DIY experiments and models on our website that can be done in the comfort of one’s home, yet making sure that they engage the learner’s grey cells.

You could also devise simple games that could be swapped for idle pastimes. Adapt the game for school-age children to cover anatomy, world government, foreign language, and history, etc. What you choose to teach with this game is only limited by your imagination.

  • Encourage conversations and active learning:

Conversations and interactions at home can help develop a positive attitude towards learning and build confidence in themselves as learners. 

Children who haven’t learned to listen carefully often have trouble following directions and paying attention in class. Children need active learning just as much as quiet learning.

Active learning involves asking and answering questions, solving problems and exploring interests. It can also take place when they play sports, spend time with friends, play a musical instrument or visit museums and bookstores.

To promote active learning, listen to their ideas and respond to them. Let them jump in with questions and opinions when you read or learn something new together. When this type of give-and-take at home is encouraged, it incentivizes them to take their academics back home.

Turning every day into a learning day may be too much, but it really isn’t, if you go about it the right way.  Do take note that not everything has to feel like a classroom lesson. Get young kids excited about discovering something new by using these tips and motivating them to take their learning back home, willingly and energetically.

As Simone Weil rightly said, “The joy of learning must be as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.”

Author – Vaishnavi Deepak.

People who are confident are eager to learn new skills and face new challenges.

Tips to increase your child’s self-confidence

As Oprah Winfrey astutely said, “It is confidence in our bodies, minds, and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.”

As adults, we often face pangs of low confidence and are reminded of our insecurities. In a later stage of life, being set in our ways, it is hard to evolve overnight into a more self- assured individual.

Besides, most of these issues stem from the early days of our development- our childhood.

For children today, it is vital to grow up with a sense of self-worth to be able to match steps with their peers. Self-confidence is crucial for getting along with others and working out  many social challenges—such as sharing, competing, and making friends—that children face in school settings.

Parents are, thus, increasingly concerned about ensuring their kids  not getting sucked into the traps of demotivation or discouragement.

Taking into account this alarming need to ensure children are confident and assured at all times, we have compiled a list of tips that will come handy to parents that are on the quest to raise happier children-

  • Appreciate any effort – Be it small or big, effort must always be applauded. A kid’s journey is really the cumulation of all the efforts they take to build themselves. Be sure, however, to not delude your child from the realities of their work through excessive appreciation. Keep it moderate, but more importantly, keep it constant. It works like an incentive to strive harder and hence, grow.
  • Encourage interests and passions – Back your child at whatever they wish to practice or show interest in. Most young prodigies swear by early beginnings and your nod of approval or push in the right direction might steady them into something they could be great at. Also, having well rounded personalities  are most of the times synonymous with confidence and the process must begin early.

“Practice invests effort in the confident expectation that improvement will follow.”

  • Quit rescuing them – It is only natural to have a parental pang when you find misery befalling your child. Your gut then drives you to do the best to singlehandedly rescue them out of it. However, replace this instinct with the understanding that children only learn and grow from obstacles. Allow your kids to take chances and risks and come out of them on their own merit. This small moment of holding back on your part will translate to greater outcomes in their crisis management abilities, independence and self-worth.
  • Promote problem solving – Running on similar lines as the previous tip, promoting problem solving in your child can encourage them to mature and come up with innovative ideas to get through their roadblocks.

Author of the book, ‘Raising a thinking child’, Myrna Shure says, “Kids are confident when they are able to negotiate getting what they want.”

In this context, setting up an environment of reasoning and cogent arguments to come around every situation of disagreement at home can be effective in helping kids develop the ability and confidence to back themselves in the future.

  • Fantasise about the future – If kids can envision themselves doing something important or fulfilling, when they grow up, they are bound to feel more confident now. Talk to your child about how you, or other acquainted adults, chose careers. Your child may dream of being an international singer or an astronaut, but don’t try to lower their expectations. Even if they change their mind, the important thing is that they are thinking about their goals.

“Kids have to learn to measure themselves against themselves.” says family therapist Jay Scott Fitter, author of ‘Respect Your Children’. Envisioning the skill set they would require in comparison to what they have, will instil a drive to develop their personalities. As enticing as the future might be, the focus should still lay on personal growth. This is their gauntlet to healthy confidence.

Video games that improve memory

When you play games that boost your memory, fun and productivity are what follows!

Today we are all taking to working out physically to stay in the pink of fitness. But we tend to totally lose out on our deteriorating mental fitness. Cognitive health and memory sharpening require a fair amount of our attention.

Keep your blood clean, your body lean and your mind sharp!

Henry Rollins

To tame this stumbling block, we have compiled a list of games that will help enhance your mental functioning and boost your memory.
The best part of this is that it will feel less like an exercise and more like a recreational activity!

Here goes,

Strategy Video Games

These games don’t just improve your cognitive functioning but also help to increase your motor coordination. These are real-time science fiction games that allow the user to control the fate of the character that they use in the game.

Video games that boost memory

A study has found that playing strategy games like StarCraft can increase a player’s brain flexibility, which refers to the ability to allocate the brain’s resources under changing circumstances. Brain flexibility has often been referred to as the cornerstone of human intelligence.

Since these games also include new technologies and continually emerging features/ammunition, it also needs the player to discover the usage of these and remember the functions of every feature whilst being sharp enough to employ them when they are needed.

Examples- StarCraft, XCom Enemy Unknown, and Civilization

It’s a win-win. Better memory and game time. Perfect for teens, and for adults!

Related Reads: 7 Activities to Improve Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills and Cognitive Development.

Action Role Playing games

Video games that boost memory

These games require the user to be a first-person action executer- like shooting, driving and so on. What this ensures is that hand-eye coordination and motor skills are sharpened.

It also makes the mind work in close coordination with physical reflexes. These are also of multi-player type which could make it a group activity, thus boosting engagement levels of the user.

Additionally, expert action gamers who play first-person shooting games have observed a boost in their contrast sensitivity function, or the ability to discern subtle changes in the brightness of an image.

Contrast sensitivity is the first of the visual aptitudes to diminish over time, which results in the loss of the ability to pick out bright patches (which is key to tasks like driving at night).

Examples- Witcher, Diablo and Battlefield 4

These games again are suitable for everyone above the age of thirteen.

Modern Classroom Trends

Education is synonymous with evolution. However, education itself is an evolving phenomenon. With the advent of technology and varying demands from the workforce, it is only obvious that classroom learning too will have to change to adopt such modern trends.

As teachers, it becomes paramount to ensure that your classroom is equipped for this evolution. After all, a classroom is only as good as the student.

To stay in sync with these rapid changes, people have come up with trends that could be implemented to upgrade your classrooms. The list though can be overwhelming for a teacher. Fret not!

We have you covered with the following list of worthy modern education trends.

Modern Trends for Classroom Learning:

1. Collaborative learning

This is also called co-operative or team teaching. It makes things easier for classroom teachers to be both innovative and interactive. This trend is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

It involves educators working in tandem to lead, instruct and mentor groups of students.

To be effective, the art of co-operative teaching typically requires thoughtful consideration on the part of educators. Therefore, teachers should set aside time for developing lessons and deciding on appropriate learning approaches to use with specific students or groups.

Modern Classroom Trends

Collaborative teachers need to bring their most exceptional strengths and practices to the team while remaining flexible to adapt to alternative methodologies that can benefit student learning. In this way, teachers continue growing in their professional skills and students gain understanding from a variety of instructional approaches.

Team teachers must also present a united front so that students perceive each as being of similar importance in knowledge and authority, consequently leading to more civil learning environments. 

2. Blended or Hybrid learning

This is a trend of learning wherein online learning aids and web-based interaction is actively used in the classroom. From Google Docs to interactive whiteboards and IoT applications, technology has paved its way into the classroom. The focus is to explore the reasoning behind every lesson imparted.

As Harry Wong said, “In an effective classroom, students should not only know what they are doing. They should also know why and how.” This approach, also called mixed-mode learning, ensures that new engagement opportunities are introduced for students.

The tricky part here, for educators to note, is that the transition from face-to-face learning to fully online learning can be taxing on students. Teachers should establish a fine balance between the two. The mode of delivery that compliments the learning objective must be employed in the learning scheme. Students, in turn, will get massive exposure to how technology can be integrated into daily life.

3. Experiential Learning:

Imagine if all the theoretical lessons in a textbook were swapped for a series of activities or experiments that drive home the same concept! This is the crux of experiential learning.

It is a series of hands-on experiences of concepts, aimed at exercising critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

One could also make sense of it as repeated cycles involving experience, reflection, conceptualization, and experimentation in any order.

“For the things, we have to learn: before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Aristotle

Experiencing theoretical concepts through real-world simulations of the same can actually be an alternative method of improving engagement of students in their academics.

Improved interest levels will only result in a better grasp of the concepts at hand. Creativity can be infused into this to bring in a ‘fun’ element to regular classroom learning.

Modern Classroom Trends

At ThinkTac, we believe in the power of experiential and tactile learning. We have a set of TACtivities that bridge the gap between play and work, involving real-time activities that enforce regular academic concepts.

The end-goal for any educator is the same – to dispense the best set of skills suited to help propel their students to greater heights. New challenges require new approaches and the above list is a set of ideas worth giving a shot.