“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning” – William Arthur Ward, Writer
Being curious is the essence of learning anything. Leaning into daily problems with curiosity versus worry and going back to our roots of being childlike would be a starting point. A key value to keep ourselves curious is humility. When we accept that there are many more things to learn, than we already know, we stay curious. It is like the Chinese proverb of keeping our cups empty, of wanting to know more. One of the best ways to keep ourselves curious is through quizzes. The question and answer games can be played anytime, anywhere, and at different levels to suit the people playing it.
Based out of Bengaluru, Sachin Ravi and Raghav Chakravarthy, Co-founders, Walnut Knowledge Solutions, use questions, stories, and activities to build lifelong skills in children. Walnut has been working with school children for the last 5 years engaging over 80,000+ children, partnered with 80+schools across the country, and engaged 2000+ students and parents online. The flagship product is QShala, a curiosity-based learning platform designed to inculcate a continuous learning mindset and equip children with 21st-century skills through questions, quests, and “quriosity”, delivered via the online and offline medium.
This time around, for a change, we had the privilege of asking questions and it was the Co-founders turn to answer them.
What is your idea of an educational influencer? How do you align with that idea?
An influencer uses his or her leverage in terms of experience or deep understanding in any domain to impact the industry/domain in a positive way. We are using insights we have garnered over the years in the education and K-12 learning eco-system to deliver products and services to children which will make them lifelong learners, collaborate effectively with industry colleagues to create mutual partnerships for children. We are part of think tanks including FICCI edtech task force to voice the demands of the edtech industry to the Government.
What unique ideas have you implemented as a leader at Walnuts Knowledge Solutions that make it different from competitors?
Over the years of experience of working with school children, we have created a unique curiosity curriculum which not only builds critical skills needed for children for navigating an ever-changing world but also be equipped with tools for better decision making and enabling a child to develop as an empathetic and responsible citizen of the world. We are also leveraging technology to create an effective curiosity-based learning AI platform that can give insights to the child, parent, and other stakeholders on the learning journey of the child and his/her own interest thereby facilitating an informed career choice.
What’s the one thing you would change about the education system (nationally or globally)?
The insistence on only marks- based assessment should be replaced by multifaceted and diverse learning outcomes that children usually exhibit. Further, creating safe-spaces in school and other learning environments which kindle curiosity, encourage exploration, experimentation, free expression of independent thought, reduces fear of failing, develops grit, growth mindset, and promotes socio-emotional learning.
What aspects of your job are the most challenging and how do you overcome them?
The most challenging aspect of our jobs is to take decisions in the light of uncertainty and take calculated risks with bold moves without full information.
As much as possible we use quick prototyping, user interviews/feedback loops, accountability conversations/structures to ensure we minimize the risks. We are constantly building mental models/checks and balances which helps us avoid making grave mistakes but continue to move to take bolder bets.
What advice can you give to the aspirants who seek to become influencers or leaders in the field of education?
Think long term, leverage relationships, use your influence to positively impact and support education for children and stakeholders who have access, and more importantly extend it to those who do not have access.
How do you perceive your career to be in the near future?
For us it would be for the vision to build the largest school/learning platform in the world empowering the children with tools and skills which help them lead fulfilling lives.
Beating the Quarantine Blues:
In the last couple of weeks during the lock down, Walnut conducted a unique experiment – “QShala Family Quiz” during the weekends. The program grew from 50 families to 11000+ families being engaged through a fun quiz every weekend with participation from families from across the world including India, USA, Japan, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, UAE, the UK among others. You can participate in the weekend quiz by registering here. (https://www.qshala.com/familyquiz