Business Simulation

~Shimalini and Aravindh

Business Simulation is an experimental learning tool where participants learn by running a virtual business in an interactive, risk-free and hyper – realistic environment. It helps in practising and improvising business skill such as Business insights, market analysis, operations, decision making, problem-solving, communication and leadership.

The advantages of this tool are:

  • Puts theoretical concepts into practice
  • Increases decision-making skills
  • Boosts participants engagement 
  • Provides a practical environment for soft skill development
  • Allows us to overcome loss aversion

Last week we had the opportunity to do the business simulation with the overall team. It was a different experience where we learnt a lot of things. The interaction happened through zoom meetings. We got the chance to interact with the Quilt.ai team globally. Each round of competition indicated one production year. The simulation system consisted of four sections: Research and Development, Operations, Marketing and Finance. There were four countries to set up our manufacturing plants – the United States, Germany and China. The game consisted of six years to develop their company’s productivity, capital, market, etc. 

The Capsim business tool is beneficial to both participants and instructors. The initial training and assessment gave us basic knowledge to operate the game. In the first three rounds, we were randomly tuning the values to get good results, encountered lot of difficulties, like running out of funds and triggering emergency loans. After 3rd round, we had some clarification in the process improved our performance by analysing the feedback, comparing other team’s performance and made conscious decisions. 

The overall process was very new to us. There were experienced members in my team; I had the opportunity to interact, learn and hear their thoughts. Our part in this simulation was minimum. The key takeaway from this business tool is that it allowed us to realise that we should undertake calculated risks. We are looking forward to having a similar experience in the future.

US Election Model

~Sharat Kumar & Vasanth

The power of predictive modelling and Machine Learning in particular. We had an opportunity to put it to test, by working on the prediction of the US election, a couple of weeks prior to the US Presidential Election. WE approached this using supervised learning. First, we considered two states of America, Texas (Republican/healthy Red state) and California (Democratic/ strong Blue state). We scraped around 10000 tweets for 5 Days from twitter for both the states. We tagged red as Pro-Trump/Anti-Biden and treated Blue as  Pro-Biden/Anti-Trump. 

We selected 100 top Fans of Biden and Trump across the US, and we scraped tweets relevant to US elections from those handles for one day. We trained a model using those tagged data into an AI machine. After training, the tool considers 70% of the data to train and the rest 30% for validation and testing. During the process, a confusion matrix is formed. A confusion matrix is a table describing the performance of a classification model (or “classifier”) on a set of test data for which the correct values are known. 

This table shows how often the model classified each label correctly (in blue), and which labels were most often confused for that label (in grey). 

We created two models out of them, in one model, when we feed an individual’s tweet history into the machine, it will identify whether the person is a Trump/Biden fan. Another model is when we provide the Twitter data of a particular state; the model predicts who has more support in that state. We used the second model, and we fed the twitter data of 11 swing states in the US. 

States Red Blue Predicted Result Actual Result
Concord (New Hampshire) 36.48% 63.52% Blue Blue
Florida 47.29% 52.71% Blue Red
Iowa 51.01% 48.99% Red Red
Michigan 31.34% 68.66% Blue Blue
Minnesota 43.79% 56.21% Blue Blue
Nevada 37.22% 62.78% Blue Blue
Ohio 42.32% 57.68% Blue Red
Pennsylvania 43.18% 56.82% Blue Blue
Raleigh (North Carolina) 46.27% 53.73% Blue Red
Virginia 44.80% 55.20% Blue Blue
Wisconsin 43.01% 56.99% Blue Blue

In 8 states among the 11, we predicted the right result. We got an accuracy of 72.72% as our result. 

This gave a first hand experience of the power of AI and Machine learning. While these tools can be used to predict and prescribe inputs for various business decisions it can also be an effective platform for addressing several complex societal problems. We are excited to engage and learn more on the underlying capabilities these new age platforms offer.

 

Choice Architecture: Nudging students to make better choices

~Aravindh & Sunil

Choice architecture is a method to extend multiple choices to individuals and giving them liberty in choosing an option coherently. In Choice architecture, consumer behaviour is taken into consideration while designing the alternatives and represented in a way that individuals select the option that is more aligned to  the provider. In schools, choice architecture is an excellent way to improve students’ physical and mental well being. Healthy habits can be nurtured in children using Choice architecture.

In one of the outreach schools in Auroville,  around 4 in 10 students were anaemic. Students eschewed nutritious snack and preferred tasty snack. In this case, children are often under a familiarity bias. A familiarity bias is when one decides to stay within their comfort zone. In this case, children portray absurdity heuristics; they tend to put away the nutritious food. They didn’t want to consume healthy food separately. To overcome this, the facilitators came up with a brilliant idea to blend drumstick leaves, dates, and peanuts (which are rich in iron) with porridge to keep the taste balanced with nutrition. After that, students preferred this snack and started to consume without any excuses. This nutritious mix meal resulted in a significant improvement in their health. 

The core driver behind this action is that the mere thought of eating food reminds us of how we feel when we eat it. Digestion starts with sight and smell. Instead of giving nutritious food separately, we can blend both nutritional and non-nutritional elements in the lunch meal. Children usually default to choices which are suitable to their taste and tend to take smaller portions that are easy for them to digest. By disguising nutritious food as per their preferred taste and size, we can nudge them to have a healthy meal.

Nudging courtship with life

~Punithan & Poovendiran

“ A choice architect has the responsibility for organising the context in which people make decisions” – Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.

In general, Nudging is a choice architecture which is a positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to make a choice or course of action. The idea of Nudging is all about applying the concepts of decision making and behavioural economics to yield a better and spontaneous decision, without limiting the choice. Putting it more straightforwardly, Nudging is helping people in making better choices for oneself without restricting their freedom of choice.

You can nudge for GOOD, or you can nudge for EVIL. Nudging not only contributes to the business world but also for the wellness of the society. Nudging helps to influence and direct people in the right way as we discuss two topics and examples here. 

Social Nudging is the concept of positioning our direction of a nudge for a social cause. When you nudge a person, and if his choice contributes something to society, then it falls under this category. Recently, a 90 years old man was in the limelight on social media. The chat waala opens his ‘Bhaba ka Dhaba’ stall early in the morning and closes it by 5:30 in the evening, finishing all his stock. But during this pandemic, he couldn’t make ends meet. A famous food blogger got concerned about the older man’s dire situation. The food blogger recorded a video of the older man (she fondly calls her Uncle Ji) and posted it on her social handle. Fortunately, many people stepped up to show their support for Uncle Ji. Many celebrities also posted on their social handles. We can see both the food blogger and the stars have nudged the society to contribute something for someone’s good. 

Nudging can be a handy tool in teaching — a hard lesson in the right way. A famous incident became viral on social media. As the incident goes, a teacher intentionally wrote a wrong equation on the blackboard. Students started to laugh at the teacher’s mistake. Then, the teacher explained the reason behind it, “You students did not appreciate me when I wrote the correct ones, but you all started to laugh when I made one mistake.” She added “The world is more similar to you; when you do many good things, no one will appreciate you. But when you do one bad thing, people will start to criticise you, and they will forget all the good things you did”. This is behavioural science is related to negativity bias where one tends to have a negativity dominance and tend to emphasise on that. Mistakes are a never-ending part of our life. We should  improve ourselves from those mistakes. The teacher nudged an important message into those students’ minds – to be mindful, determined and confident in their life. 

INCORPORATING ARTS WITH STEM; THE AI(ART INTEGRATED) STREAM LEARNING

~Sunil & Abilash

Integrating Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Art, and Math to create holistic learning is called STREAM education. The Art Integrated (AI) education includes both visual arts (paintings, clay modelling, gaming) and performing arts (music, dance, drama).  It’s very important to incorporate kids in all of these five disciplines. If we seed these skills in our kids, it improves their practical thinking. Integrating art and science in education could increase their creative thinking and cognitive ability. It also encourages students to express science in unimaginable ways. AI-based education paves the path for experiential learning. Some of the activities to incorporate art with science are 

1. PENDULUM PAINTING

Pendulum painting is a fun activity to do with students using simple materials like water bottles, paper, paint, rope and chairs. This activity enhances creative and critical thinking among students. It will make them understand parameters like gravity, motion, momentum, and velocity. Students would be able to create a beautiful art along with conducting a pendulum experiment to know the physics behind the pendulum by practical approach.

2. PERIODIC TABLE SONG 

Teaching Periodic Table songs to kids is one of the best ways to make chemistry enjoyable. Songs have always been the best ways to remember even the most convoluted set of words at ease. The periodic table song with a supporting video that has a picture of the applications of some aspects along with music, would enable students to remember the elements of the periodic table along with applications. These kinds of activity aid both the right and left brain to store accurate information and retain it.

3. ART FROM WASTE IN SCIENCE

Plastic Pollution has become a significant concern in today’s world. This activity of making simple electronic devices like a LED torch using plastic wastes would make students learn simple electronics along with hands-on training. Making art out of garbage would enhance creativity and positive thinking in students and also would create awareness about plastic pollution.

There are no limits in education and imagination; we can use our creativity to incorporate any form of art with any science concept to bring out the best in education. Other activities like dancing or acting in a theatrical play relating science or math concepts, could cultivate expression, self-confidence, presentation skill along with understanding STEM.

Sapiens: The Pivotal Role of Language in Human Evolution

~Shimalini & Radhika

In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari talks about how evolution took place, the hurdles and unprecedented changes humankind faced along the way. But, what provoked them to revolutionise things? What made them question their very own existence? How could the agricultural revolution be the biggest mistake made by human beings? What made them think that they have committed an error? The exchange of ideas incepted from the latter part of the cognitive revolution, through language as a medium. 

Every Species has its language, but they use them only to share information and alert their fellow species. Each tribal group invented their unique language from different parts of the world. Humans used language not only to increase their trust or dependency; they used it to cultivate thoughts and ideas. It was unbelievable and humorous when Harari mentioned that language arose from the act of gossiping in a group. Gossips enabled humans to analyse themselves and others based on their personality traits. Gossips gave birth to individualism. Languages allow humans to speak, share and describe things like which grain to cultivate? How to construct and design a wheel? How to hunt and capture an animal? Archaic humans carved on stones to transfer information to their offsprings and It gave birth to art. We strongly believe that this is the start of the data revolution. 

One aspect is quite eminent with the evolution of human beings. Without language, humans couldn’t have expressed their opinions and would have broken down the chain of verbal conveyance. We believe that language made humans a dominant species. 

Crawling Spider

~Sunil, Sharat & Praveen

Spiders are arachnids belongs to a class of arthropods. Unlike other insects they have 8 legs. There are more than 46,000 known species of spiders, found all over the world. Their size varies from 0.11 inch to 12 inches. Most of the spiders don’t see very well even though they have 8 eyes. Jumping spider is an exception, which can see more colours than humans. All spiders are predators which feed mainly on insects. They typically have a well-developed sense of touch. Few spiders are active hunters that chase and kill their prey. Other spiders weave webs or silk snare to capture their prey. Webs are instinctively constructed and effectively trap flying insects. Many spiders inject their venom(poison) into their prey to kill it quickly, whereas others first use silk wrappings or web to immobilize their victims. Spiders have venom but only a handful like the Black widow and the Brown recluse are dangerous to humans. Majority of spiders are harmless and help in controlling insect population that could otherwise devastate crops. Without spiders to eat pests harmful to agriculture, it’s thought that our food supply would be put at risk.

 

The Alchemist: Communion

~Sharat & Vasanth

Santiago is a young adventurous Andalusian Shepherd. He dreams of treasure frequently. With the advice of a gypsy woman, he decides to search for the treasure in Egypt. Initially, Santiago gets robbed and loses hope on his quest to find the treasure. But he makes up his mind and works hard to earn so that he can use that money to find his priceless treasure. When Santiago arrives in the desert, he realises that there is a common language spoken by all humans, animals, and objects. He talks to the sun and wind by listening to the things around and within himself – Universal Language. This language symbolises “The Soul of The World.” The novel’s portrayal of a universal language and The Soul of The World demonstrates its theme of communion.

Throughout the journey, Santiago feels every single thing on the way – people, places, and objects. The alchemist challenges Santiago to find a living thing in the desert, which puzzles Santiago in the beginning. Santiago realises that there is no need for advanced skills to do this. He feels grounded and connects with all things. His horse leads to a place where a snake lives. In this way, he realises that his quest has become a mutual task since the horse leads to the rocks on its own accord.

The alchemist does not fit into the mainframe of the story. He does not even actually teach Santiago how metals are processed and transformed into gold. Instead, he teaches Santiago to observe everything and bring essence to it. Santiago realises that every single thing around is not something to be ignored. Initially, Santiago didn’t feel connected to the world but later on when he visited the desert; he realised that every single thing on the planet is gold and he also thinks that one can see its purity only by feeling it. Santiago learns that studying the world will teach him everything one needs to know. He emphasises the fact that the world is a great teacher, and we can learn things by observing and feeling things. The novel portrays how your willpower unites the universal forces around you to help reach your destiny.

INTEGRATED LEARNING -EVS FOR LOWER GRADE STUDENTS

~Sunil & Praveen

In the EVS session, we learned how to integrate science with Mathematics, Arts, and Literature for lower grade students. This type of teaching would enable students to engage both their left and right brain which indeed will make them engage with the subject more practically and store information in their long-term memory. We discussed and learned about mammals. In which we discussed dog family.

The science

Dog

Kingdom Animalia
Class Mammalia
Order Carnivora
Family Canidae

 

Characteristic of Canidae family:

  •       Canids are basically vertebrates, warm-blooded, mammals, and carnivores
  •       They have 2 forelegs, 2 hind legs, and bushy tail
  •       5 toes on forefoot 5 toes on hind-foot
  •       They have elongated skull
  •       They have a great sense of smelling and hearing

Animals under Canidae family:

  •       Dogs
  •       Wolf
  •       Coyote
  •       African Wild Dog
  •       Fox
  •       Jackals

Mathematics and Literature

We sang a numerical poem about dogs that had increase and decrease in numbers as we proceed to the next stanza. With this, we could integrate language and mathematics by teaching students English poems along with ascending order and descending order.  

 Art

Making Paper dog

This creative method of integrated learning makes teaching and learning fun and effective. We could also integrate Social science and History with this  by telling students about the evolution of dogs.

 

Puppet Frog

~Sharat Kumar

In EVS session, we learned about amphibians and their characteristic features. We discussed what the unique features of amphibians are. We learned to model a Puppet frog to engage children with the lessons by storytelling and to explain the characteristic features of amphibians.

Amphibians are small organisms which come under vertebrates (animal with a spinal cord surrounded by cartilage or bone) that need water, or a moist environment, to survive. The species in this group include frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts. All can breathe and absorb water through their fragile and moist skin. Amphibians also have specialized skin glands that produce useful proteins.

We shall now see the equipment’s and steps required to make Puppet Frog.

Materials Required:

  1. Color Paper
  2. Compass
  3. Pencil
  4. Glue

Step 1:

Take two color papers and draw a circle using compass. Cut the remaining part

Step 2:

Make a hole in one circular sheet and cut it into half.

Step 3:

Make 4 legs, eyes and tongue with the remaining paper.

Step 4:

Apply glue to the edge of the circle and stick the semi-circle as shown below.

Step 5:

Stick the 4 legs and eyes as shown below using glue.

Step 6:

Now stick the tongue of the frog using glue as shown

Step 7:

Allow the glue to dry and the puppet is ready.