New Town Teen Launches Online Peer Summer Workshop
Brooks Brainery is a student-run global edtech organization we founded that aims to provide free high school education: Aishik Biswas
While most Class X passouts are busy getting their Class XI class curriculum under control as schools resume classes, Aishik Biswas gives the online summer workshop he coordinates, Brooks Brainery, held on Friday starts putting the finishing touches.
“Brooks Brainery is a student-led, global edtech organization we founded, dedicated to providing free education for high school students. Such programs are hosted every summer by all Ivy League and other universities around the world. Due to Covid, they have been taking place online since last summer. Participation in such four-week non-credit programs ranges from Rs 4-6 lakh, with an average virtual class size of 100-200 students, ”says Aishik, a resident of Sunrise Point in Action Area IIC.
Last summer Aishik wanted to attend a summer school program in the United States in his favorite neuroscience and psychology majors while he was preparing for college. “But most of them were very expensive and the fully funded ones were too selective. So I had to miss it. “
He eventually attended a winter camp organized by a group of Stanford University students called the South Asian Winter Camp and took two courses on behavioral economics and evolution. “These were courses twice a week that lasted three weeks. Fortunately, they were free. My two lecturers were students from Ashoka University and the University of California, Los Angeles. “
The experience taught him the benefits of attending such camps and gave him the confidence to organize one himself. “I wanted to pass the benefits on to other high school students. The camp I attended only had students from our neighboring countries. But I wanted a more global feeling. “
At first he was concerned about college students going to volunteer. The ball got rolling when he presented the proposal to a student at Northeastern University in Boston he’d befriended at a virtual fair. The third-year colleague published an Instagram post that gained momentum among his peers.
Now the camp has 25 instructors who are current students or alumni from top schools including Stanford, Yale, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, University of Toronto, UW-Madison, and Georgia Tech. Students from 18 countries have registered. “We can take 1,000 students. You can register for a maximum of two courses. “
The four-week program would run on the weekends from June 18 through mid-July.
The subjects of the 25 courses range from natural sciences to economics to the humanities. “The class size would not exceed 20 to ensure that students can interact properly with their teachers,” promises Aishik.
The most popular course to date was Introduction to Business, with over 60 registrations. All courses were designed by the lecturers who provided the courses, who mostly worked as teaching assistants at their respective universities.
He agrees that there wouldn’t be much bond between attendees in virtual classes, but they do have plans for weekday events such as moderated icebreaker sessions in zoom breakout rooms on topics such as Hollywood movies, music, etc. “The attendees could exchange ideas “Whatsapp numbers, forms groups and carries out projects together,” he says.
Brooks Brainery has a team of 15-20 active members in India, the US and Singapore. “Our graphic designer is from Ukraine.”
Aishik, who just started Grade XI at Salt Lake School, is not taking any course himself, but says he learned a lot by helping develop the two courses in his area of interest – Introduction to Psychology and Famous Experiments in Psychology. The second course is offered by another calcutter, Yashodhara Kundra, who recently graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin.
The Brooks Brainery team can be reached at www.brooksbrainery.com
Course topics at a glance
A selection of the 25 courses offered by Brooks Brainery:
• Cryptography: then and now
• Introduction to machine learning with Python
• Program correctly with Dr Racket
• Gene interactions
• Accident safety in self-driving cars
• Introduction to Android development
• The policy behind crisis management
• Famous experiments in psychology and what they taught us