First Maker’s Space Programme in GBAO Launches at the Aga Khan Lycée, Khorog in Collaboration with Stanford University
The Aga Khan Education Service, Tajikistan, in collaboration with the National Council for the United States, the Aga Khan Foundation USA, and Stanford University, launched the Maker’s Space programme at the Aga Khan Lycée (AKL), Khorog, the first programme of its kind in Tajikistan.
Over the course of seven weeks, rising Grade 6 students worked with two Stanford University engineering students to explore creative and experiential problem solving in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). The majority of the projects used locally sourced materials.
“Maker’s Spaces encourage creativity and help you to learn critical thinking skills,” explained Faith Harron, one of the facilitators from Stanford University, in her closing remarks at the certificate distribution ceremony, “Thinking creatively is how you make new solutions to old problems.”
With the region’s first 3-D printer at AKL and virtual reality technology, students access resources and technologies that expand their imaginations while learning through exploration and inquiry.
“We melted cheese on bread using aluminum and cardboard that we made into ovens,” described Bibijon, a programme participant. “They were very delicious and they used sustainable energy directly from the sun. Maybe we can use it at home.”
The programme included activities such as circuit-building, long-exposure photography, solar ovens, stop motion photography, virtual reality landscape design, and building phone projectors. These activities aimed to build a repertoire of creative thinking that the students drew from whilst creating their final projects.
“This programme expands the students’ background in science,” said Rukhmina Nagzibekova, an AKL alumna and the programme coordinator for the Maker’s Space initiative. Rukhmina is currently studying at the University of Central Asia (UCA) and filled this position as part of her summer co-op internship. She was instrumental in the administration and translation of the entire Makers’ Space curriculum into Russian. “When I was in school [at AKL], we had science class, we learned many things, but we never had an opportunity like this one where students can actually practice what they are taught in the classroom.”
Part of the responsibilities of the two Stanford Fellows, selected as part of the Cardinal Quarter public service opportunity, was to include coaching and training for teachers from AKL and the Aga Khan School in Osh, Kyrgyz Republic, who will continue facilitating the Maker’s Space programme during the school year as a co-curricular offering.
Students concluded the programme with a fair in which they displayed their final projects, all creations using their new knowledge that would positively enhance life in their town. Projects included building nursing homes outfitted with solar-powered lights, electricity-generating bicycles and many more. Family members and community leaders packed the halls of AKL, engaging with students to learn about their projects and their vision for their community.
Photo/Story by Sahar Ibrahim