Published: 18th May 2022
A 15-year-old's quest to take robotics to students of government schools in Hyderabad
Robotics4All is an initiative started by Shreyan Veldanda, a Class XI student from CHIREC International School, and this is what he hopes to achieve via it
Shreyan Veldanda thinks Robotics is the future and this 15-year-old wants to do his bit to ensure that students from government schools don't miss out on it
Hence, Shreyan, who was the silver medalist of the International Youth Robot Association, started an initiative named Robotics4All in November 2021. He was all of 14 when he started on this journey. Due to COVID, he couldn't reach a lot of people, but as things got better, last year in mid-September, he got in touch with Leap Robotics and Youth for Seva to seek their help in reaching out to government schools.
When the Class XI student from CHIREC International School realised that not many students are aware of what the subject is really about, this teen, whose passion for robotics developed back when he was in Class V, decided to make it accessible to government schools. His main motivation was to offer this course primarily to children who cannot afford it. This is where the organisations stepped in.
Fortunately, Youth for Seva (YFS), an initiative that offers volunteering opportunities to youngsters, supported Shreyan's cause and helped him reach out to government schools. "In my case, I wanted to volunteer for robotics and YFS helped me get in touch with government schools who were willing to support my initiative," he shared. Mandal Parishad Upper Primary School, Kokapet, which is a stone's throw away from his house, found this cause really interesting and agreed for a pilot.
For the love of robotics
When his family moved from the US to India in August 2020, Shreyan's parents wanted him to continue pursuing his passion and enrolled him at Leap Robotics, a centre that offers robotics classes.
And guess what? The Boston-born recently completed his first batch and finished the course in four months. The children really enjoyed the subject. He also held a graduation ceremony at the end of the course in the school and presented certificates to them. Now that's what we call coming full circle.
Shreyan developed the curriculum in two parts — stage one and stage two. Stage one is for the younger kids and mostly deals with hardware while stage two is for the older kids and gets into software aspects.
To get into details, stage one includes basic concepts like parts of a robot, input and output, and how each component functions. By the end of course one, the students are required to build a robot that uses adjacent sensors to move around the room. He completed stage one in March and is going to move to stage two when the schools start reopening again after the summer vacations.
There were forty students from Class VI in one batch. And he took his classes from 3 pm to 4, with due permission from the school authorities. But in March as they had half days, he took morning sessions from 11 to 12 pm. All of this was done via offline mode.
When it comes to stage two, the student enters an advanced phase. It predominantly deals with coding and helps students work on their language skills, like scratch programming, and at the end, they are asked to code their robot with the knowledge they acquired throughout the course.
Leap Robotics played a major role in developing the curriculum. "It wouldn't be possible without them," says the teen, who was a semi-finalist at the LEGO League Challenge in Texas.
"By the end of both stages, I wanted the children to have the knowledge that I had when I was their age," says Shreyan.
The course usually takes one to three months. Due to the pandemic, Shreyan had to commence the classes in November and conduct them during the Christmas break. But again, due to a COVID-induced long gap, he resumed the classes in March.
As a teacher...
"Though teaching wise this was my first experience, I quite enjoyed it," said Shreyan who dedicates his evening time to SATs, the tests widely used for admissions to colleges abroad.
"In the beginning, I found it difficult to grab the kids' attention. But once they managed to grasp the subject, they gave it their all." Speaking about challenges, he says that, initially, the kids were struggling to handle the parts, but thankfully, "Leap Robotics helped me fix the parts quickly which helped maintain the class schedule."
In June the next batch will be starting, once the kids come back from their vacations.
Did you know Shreyan created a website for this cause? It was launched in December 2021 and you can check it out here — robotics4all.com. Also, an app is in the works.
This innovator loves building codes. That much is obvious. But his innovation streak extends far beyond this realm. Talking about Shreyan, Shweta Meka, his mother, also shared, "He built a dustbin for the house, which opens and shuts when one enters a code." His father, who has also encouraged him a lot, is from the field of software.
Talking about further studies, Shreyan wants to pick up Computer Science as his major next, with Artificial Intelligence as his elective. He strongly believes that AI will be the future and will impact nearly every industry and every human being.