IIT Madras' DEL initiative inspires innovation through hands-on learning

  • Industry News
  • Oct 13,23
Professors and students from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) are spearheading an initiative called the 'Device Engineering Lab' (DEL) in rural schools across Tamil Nadu.
IIT Madras' DEL initiative inspires innovation through hands-on learning

Professors and students from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) are spearheading an initiative called the 'Device Engineering Lab' (DEL) in rural schools across Tamil Nadu. This program, launched by Tech to Learn, focuses on imparting hands-on learning experiences related to basic and advanced scientific and engineering concepts. The aim is to cultivate innovative thinking and enhance design and fabrication skills among students.

Through the DEL initiative, IIT Madras students collaborate with rural school students, introducing them to the scientific principles behind everyday devices. The program also incorporates 3D printing technology, allowing students to create toys and household items. The curriculum spans three years and caters to students in Classes 8, 9, and 10 or 11.

The primary objectives of this program include fostering a 'Culture of Making' at the school level, nurturing entrepreneurial mind-sets, and promoting confidence and interest in learning through hands-on experiences. DEL engages students in experimenting with 3D printing techniques, particularly Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), enabling them to print various device components, gears, wheels, and toys.

The initiative's development involved 200 postgraduate students from 25 research labs, who created content for approximately 30 devices used in DEL Labs. These students also designed teaching modules, including documentation, PowerPoint presentations, and 'Train the Trainer' modules. Currently, 30 postgraduate students have directly taught these device-related concepts to rural students. Additionally, 25 undergraduate students worked on building device repositories aligned with the school syllabus, and 60 Prime Minister's Research Fellows Scholars are developing hands-on models and 3D-printed objects to explain different concepts. In the coming months, graduate students are expected to visit schools during weekends to teach these devices and 3D printing techniques.

DEL Labs have received positive feedback from both students and teachers. Students appreciate the opportunity to gain practical insights into device functionalities, while teachers emphasise the hands-on experiences and the chance for students to explore devices by dismantling and understanding their workings. Currently, DEL labs have been established in 13 schools, directly benefiting approximately 1,000 students and indirectly impacting more than 2,500 students. This number is set to rise significantly as more classes become involved in the initiative.

Source: India Today

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