At the beginning of 2014, my partners and I decided that it is time for us to look into starting a new education program that goes against the academic driven culture in Singapore. There is no lack of parents looking for “quick-fix” solutions to their kids’ academic performance, and correspondingly there is no lack of tuition/education centres to meet the demand. The fact is that Singapore is a competitive nation; it is not just us versus the nations, but every man and child trying to outdo each other.
By industrialising the education process, we’ve managed to build up the human infrastructure that our country needs to progress to a developed economy. But now that we’ve reached here, we’ve got to ask ourselves, “Now what?”
I’m thankful for like-minded partners whom I share the same vision with. We were misfits in our own way growing up. We did not come from top elite schools, nor did we do as bad as to be frowned upon. We did share a common passion in working on science projects for the fun of it, and we believed that was the point: learning has to be fun and inspiring. Me and Timothy, both from SMU Quantitative Finance took part in Amazing Science-X Challenge 2012 and managed to beat several science and engineering teams from various schools and come in third place in the tertiary category. Building the exhibit was fun for us, and we refuse to be conformed to the notion that you need formal training in science to inspire others in science. [Video of our exhibit here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrDXSvXI-tc]
Building the exhibit was fun for us, and we refuse to be conformed to the notion that you need formal training in science to inspire others in science.
CATALYST is a program that we started to mentor the next generation of students in science, programming, electronics, tools-working and other areas. Two students will be assigned to one mentor to develop interesting ideas into actual contraptions or exhibits. Students will be involved in the process from start to end: brainstorming for ideas, budget planning, project schedule, design and prototyping, construction of project. We want to break away the walls of subject disciplines and encourage interdisciplinary thinking. For example, a student may want to create a new musical instrument: we will learn together, with the students what is sound frequency and resonance, what material property lends well to sound production and why. It is a novel concept, sadly not a new one, that learning is massive and messy.
It is a novel concept, sadly not a new one, that learning is massive and messy.
For more information about the CATALYST program, visit our website over at http://nullspacegroup.com/centre-for-robotics-learning/catalyst-dsa-science/