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Students from across the Globe Participate in World Robot Olympiad in India, with Taiwan emerging as Winner

South African teacher and coach Nicky Du Plessis said the games helped kids develop key skills

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In this Nov. 27, 2016 photo, participants and spectators look at a 3D printer made of LEGO parts during the World Robot Olympiad in New Delhi, India. The weekend games brought more than 450 teams of students from 50 countries to the Indian capital. VOA

Whizzing around a green felt table chasing a soccer ball beaming infrared light, the boxy robot shoots — and scores — and wins its Taiwanese teenage creators first prize at this year’s student robot games.

The two breadbox-sized scooters, playing goalie and kicker, from the team called “Wings of Storm” were up against another Taiwanese team’s robots in the “Football” category of the World Robot Olympiad held over the weekend in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

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“We have been practising since primary school,” said Liaw Jia-wun, 15, thrilled to have won with his teammate. “We never in our lives could think that we would win the world championship.”

Other categories at the robotics championships — attended by more than 450 teams from 50 countries — asked participants to create robotics solutions to reduce or recycle waste, leading teams to build robots that emptied trash bins or scooped up building debris for future use.

Some participants were as young as 6 years old, while others were approaching university graduation.

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In the more advanced robotics category, robots had to be pre-programed for the automated challenge of picking up mini bowling balls and knocking down pins. That meant the robots had to sense where the target was and hit it without any intervention from their creators.

The idea is to teach students computer programming as robotics moves beyond factory applications to everyday functions, said engineer Dominic Bruneau, the head coach for the Canadian teams.

“More and more, we will be interacting with robots” in our daily lives, Bruneau said. The student engineers are not just working on theory but are “doing practical work of building real stuff and trying to solve problems.”

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South African teacher and coach Nicky Du Plessis said the games helped kids develop key skills.

“We start with the fundamentals. We believe that if kids can start from a very young age … it teaches them how to build,” she said. “Then it teaches them logical thinking. How to change something quickly.” (VOA)

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Understanding Phenomenon of Mind: Here’s why Children Today lack Thinking Abilities!

Creativity is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality

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Children today lack the thinking skills
Children must be given full freedom to develop their thinking skills. Pixabay
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we create the world.”  — The Buddha, The Dammapada

New Delhi, July 25th, 2017: The ability to create has always been the most underestimated yet the most practically advantageous quality in a person. Ours is the world that is constantly changing, can we, then, rely just on fixed ideas to get through? Creativity is not an option but an indispensable quality for success, adaptation or plain survival. The question that comes to mind is “Where are the origins of this ‘creativity’?” The answer is pretty simple, It is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality.

NewGram got in touch with teachers from Delhi and Punjab to discuss child psychology, how flawed education system is affecting child’s intellectual growth.

Children today are lacking the much-needed thinking skills!
It has been noticed that the majority of children today do not possess the ability to think. Even the most ‘socially considered intelligent’ among the bunch, fail to respond appropriately when faced with a situation where only thinking or creativity could come to their rescue. The possible reasons for this are not exactly a mystery, for a lot of research and studies have been performed by the curious minds, to decode the answer to this mare’s nest, leaving us with certain assumptions and probabilities.

Could it be, by any chance, that the education system itself is flawed? In most countries of the world, marks remain the ultimate target and the criteria on which the intelligence of a child is judged. Marks, as we know, are attained by real hard work, but making marks the priority seems to be diminishing a child’s keenness to think. If they can read the facts, write the same on a piece of paper, get great marks and be called intelligent, why would they take the initiative to think and innovate? The system should aim to develop a child’s curiosity, their interest needs to be ignited, and consequently, their ability to think.

Children today are lacking the much-needed thinking skills. Click To Tweet

While speaking to NewsGram, Sunita Rani, a teacher at Shaheed Ganj Public School, Faridkot, Punjab says, “everybody is after marks, children, their parents, and even most of the teachers are compelled to think this way. I personally believe brains were meant to think, to analyze, but today’s children have given up on thinking over anything, even what I just said for that matter. This is disappointing, but system doesn’t work according to our wishes,”

Internet seems to be another monster in disguise, for children who rely on it, for almost anything and everything. They don’t feel the need to click their brains, when they can get to know most of everything, by clicking on their mouse instead.

“The availability of everything on the internet has made children lazy, no need to remember things, no need to attempt to understand the complicated in it’s original form, when you can easily understand it by finding some simpler alternatives on the internet. Impact of technology has not been very positive when it comes to children’s thinking skills,” says Renu Singla, a science teacher in Swami Sivananda Memorial School, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.

ALSO READ: Memory and thinking tests can help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: New Study

Freedom is also something, the lack of which can directly or indirectly restrain children’s thinking skills. Constant monitoring and adult evaluation stifles creativity. On the contrary, allowing children to learn, explore, get bored, and overcome boredom, all by their own, not only nurtures creativity but also makes them confident and willing to take decisions, preparing future leaders in the process.

Creative culture that we have, demands creative people. Real situations need real people with the real/practical abilities to think, understand and find solutions. Even career wise, Most people have a decent academic profile, but what the employers seek now, are these abilities in the prospective employee, that can make their establishment reach real goals in real time.

And remind me again of the time, when you were deciding what to drink, where to invest, or how to deal with a difficult client, and what you crammed in the last history exam (for which you got an A), helped?

– reported by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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