Published: 04th March 2021
Middle school students can now solve complex Math problems courtesy this start-up. Here's how
Students enrolled in DeepThought’s programmes defeated engineering students at a competition in the Lean Startup Challenge. What is that they are doing differently?
If someone said that Class 5 students would be able to solve problems in differential calculus on their own, people would think they're joking. But Hyderabad-based DeepThought EduTech Ventures is doing just that. The EdTech start-up was founded by IISER Pune alum Tarun Ayitam, has a goal to educate students and teachers on how to learn by asking the right questions and aid students in their journey of self-learning. “A teacher's job is not to teach, it is to moderate discussions and to trigger self-learning among students,” says Tarun. It is with this idea that DeepThought was launched in March 2020. However, offering to train teachers was not well received in many schools.
Future of Education, Student Research Conference 2016
Tarun has a passion for the pure sciences. And it's quite evident. “I was motivated by two factors to start DeepThought. One, there aren't enough career opportunities for people who are pursuing the pure sciences. Two, society is disconnected from research and does not understand the value of incorporating research in everyday life. Our educators tend to emphasise knowledge — how facts can be connected to form concepts. Our media and government recognise results more than insights and processes. This is where the German educational institutions are different and they have research-intensive programs. So I thought that if we can market research and create viable educational products then we are essentially creating opportunities for graduates from the pure sciences while simultaneously developing a host of students with unique skills,” says Tarun.
So, how does it work? Students are enrolled in an online educational club after registering. Then, they are added to a WhatsApp group where they get quizzes and mindmap assignments every day. Online discussions are held on Zoom every Sunday. Clearly, what they have been doing is working very well — Class 6 students presented a skit on Differential Calculus in 2017 while Class 7 students defeated engineering students at the Lean Start-up Challenge in Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU-H).
Class 7 students defeated engineering students at the Lean Start-up Challenge in Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU-H)
There are 16 students currently enrolled and what sets DeepThought apart from other education companies is how the company has found a way to incorporate Humanities into Science. Students as young as 12 and 13 are taught to approach problems through the Socratic Dialogue, which is an approach using the question-and-answer method to promote critical thinking. “Our quizzes and content engines enable people to examine the core and subtle aspects of the material that they read. We are developing a meta content engine that enables organisations to create assessments to stimulate research and philosophy-based thinking,” said Tarun.
Student participant at one of DeepThought's events
Tarun's plans for his pupils are huge. Like Elon Musk huge. “A normal company does positioning, it talks about why it is unique. But when a company like Tesla introduces its products, it repositions the industry itself, it changes the meaning of the industry. DeepThought aims to change the meaning of education as an industry. We want to develop the smartest minds to become CEOs at the national and international level,” says Tarun about DeepThought’s future plans.
DeepThought is developing an app through which students can solve quizzes that will assess them on a deep, conceptual level. The app is now in beta testing and will be made available on Android and iPhones in the first week of March.