Describing the virtual lab as a new beginning, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, Jitendra Singh, said that this will not only take science to all segments of students in every corner of the country, but is also in tune with the National Education Policy (NEP), where students are allowed to choose any subject and the concept of streams has been disbanded.
The new facility will immensely benefit the students from Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas and government schools, and will help in catching them young, the minister was quoted as saying in a release issued by the ministry.
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Singh informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in a CSIR Society meeting last year appreciated the scientist-student connect programme — ‘Jigyasa’ — and had stressed on the importance of developing virtual labs.
Accordingly, CSIR has partnered with IIT Bombay to develop a virtual lab platform under the ‘CSIR Jigyasa’ programme, which facilitates classroom learning with laboratory research for school students.
The target audience for the virtual lab is students of standards VI to XII (11-18 years), who would like to explore science using different activities, the release said.
Singh said the main aim of the virtual lab is to provide quality research exposure and innovative pedagogy for school students to drive their scientific curiosity based on an online interactive medium with simulated experiments, pedagogy based content, videos, chat forums, animations, gaming, quiz, facility sharing, webinars etc.
He said the content will be available in English initially, but has been planned to be made available in Hindi and other regional languages as well.
Singh said the virtual lab would provide a virtual tour of CSIR laboratories and expose students to research infrastructure, which otherwise would be difficult to visit physically considering the safety standards. The platform will also have the option to interact with scientists and seek their inputs.
The key highlights of the virtual lab are: Open source platform; access content in regional languages; scientist/researchers support; knowledge up-gradation for teachers and students; project-based support; fun-based gaming; need-based videos and animation; simulation experiments; promoting scientific temperament; science-based webinars; student entrepreneurship; student-expert forums; student to student forums; simplified content; availability to technical assistance; build confidence and motivation, the release added.