We Live Many Lives in a Lifetime…
No, this is not about science. My article is not about the Theory of Evolution by Charles Darwin. I am talking about evolution as a generic term, which affects you, me and the people around us. This is a story of constant effort to reinvent and evolve.
For the last few months, my social media presence was restricted only to share a few forwarded posts on Facebook and share some personal pictures on Instagram. Though I am a social media savvy person, I didn’t feel like posting anything. But I would like to start using my social media again and this time, with a purpose. To share ideas and learnings from our experiments. Read on…
It’s been a year since we were scared to hell. We entered into a black hole where we couldn’t see anything but darkness. It was time when the world came to a big pause: The COVID 19 Lockdown. People like us were clueless about where our life would lead and what exactly are we going to do next. All meetings were cancelled, all proposals came to hold. Businesses went down. Everything was on the verge of collapsing. We were no different. A small entity with a larger vision and that time, a team of 2 had nowhere to go but think of how to adapt to new situations.
We love people, we love being part of groups, events, exhibitions, camps, etc. basically, we love places where people gather with common objectives. Where ideas are exchanged and something new is being created all the time but now the challenge was to navigate the borderless world without roads and vehicles.
Connect without talking. Feel without touching. Do without things. Play without grounds.
The new world brought new challenges but opened new opportunities. Looking back now, I feel challenges were many but opportunities were far more than them. The new world helped us to reveal holes, broken links and the gaps that existed in systems. Education was broken and revealed its consequences for the first time, publicly. It suffered mournings of thousands of institutions, lakhs of teachers and crores of children who went without purpose, drive and survival.
Nobody knew how to deal with the suffering just because our immunity to the suffering was never built. We never thought that the virus can transmit into our system and kill our potential to live but ultimately, we had to die. Not literally, but our ideas of living were dead. Our instincts were dead and we had to make them come to life again by sowing new seeds of existence, which were again Ideas, for life. I remember talking to my friends about waiting for everything to be all right but later, we too, realised change is better than waiting for something which is already a past.
It’s been a year and a half since we started our journey at MakeShift but April 2020 was a pivotal month. We went 100% remote and decided to dedicate MakeShift completely to the Education sector. To do experiments that will change the way we teach and learn bit by bit. We wanted to take actionable steps. Our first experiment was Education Dialogue, a collaborative event that brought together 21 practitioners in education during 21 days of lockdown. Everyone shared their opinions on how education will shift its paradigms in the coming times. Experts shared and we learned from them. We then conceptualized NEXT Eduthon, a program to help people to innovate for education with Design Thinking. To come up with small solutions for the problems they feel are important. Young innovators and a few startups that were ideas before few days, came into existence. The program received voluntary help from many organisations and our dear friends working in the education sector. At the end of the month-long program, we got 30 innovations and around 15 live projects out of which 10 are still running, 5 are startups now.
After the program, we focused completely on creating products that will help educators in long run. We invested a crazy amount of money and time to figure out what kind of problems educators are facing and what kind of solutions they need. We conducted surveys, interviewed many teachers, principals for 1 hour each, spoke to entrepreneurs in the ecosystem, studied which models are working for them and which they didn’t like, which models are sustaining financially and the ones which fail. From startups that marked their presence in the investment world to startups that had to shut down to startups that didn’t need external investment but who are sustaining, the ones who created massive communities but couldn’t sustain. We also studied with ample literature in books, articles, webinars, workshops and whatnot.
For creating workable systems, we invested in EdTech tools and mind tools ourselves, spent time studying them and using them for hours and then creating resources of our own (which are now available on our website). For creating our course materials, we lived the solutions, systems and processes that we are creating. A couple of our self-paced courses were live for the last 4 months. Our ‘21st Century Teacher’ concept is now rolling and taking off. Our 2 attempts on hands-on workshop for school leaders on ‘21st Century Teaching, Educational Leadership and Beyond’ witnessed the presence of over 200 educators. And now we have launched a specially curated course for educators: ‘Effective Remote Facilitation’. It’s a blended course where educators themselves go through blended learning and activity-based learning in digital format to understand what is blended (remote) activity-based teaching. The next few batches are now filling fast for the same at a minimal price. This way, we are helping educators to practice what they are supposed to teach in new-age schools.
Today, after a year, I am writing this article not to talk about what we have done in the year but to tell all of you that we are still evolving. We are a story in making. We are growing, probably at a slower pace than startups raising external investments but we are still investing in creating systems that will definitely work when the new National Education Policy will be implemented. Today, we have made a tiny move in the direction of growing our community. We have started a Telegram Channel: ‘MakeShift’s 21st Century Teachers’, we envision making it a global platform for educators to receive tips, tricks, hacks and learning materials to evolve themselves every single day, bit by bit.
After going through a year and a half of experimentation and investing our hard-earned money, without any external help, now MakeShift is growing stronger with a community, razor-sharp focus and a purpose of helping educators become the next-generation teachers: Facilitators, Mentors, Coaches, Online Teachers, to grow in their career with essential Tech knowledge, practical insights, workable solutions and launch themselves in the digital revolution of education. This effort is for helping them ride the wave of Education 2.0 swiftly, without hesitation and pain.
I randomly started writing this article and it turned out to be a long one. But in the coming days, I will make the upcoming articles short and crisp. Believe me, you will get much more from our side in the coming days and months. This was day -1 of my writing. But I promise that I will keep on writing about all that we have gathered in the past 8 years of working as a content developer, content manager, program manager, curator, program designer, coordinator, facilitator, trainer and in the 1.5 years of starting MakeShift. I will also share the things I read, analyse, experiment and gather as my insights on Education, Educational Technology, Remote Teaching and Innovation in Education.
Stay tuned for more! :)
A big thank you from both of us for being with us.