“Kids learn when they are ready to learn.” – Subash Chandar K, New Zealand
Subash Chandar K
Curriculum Leader of Mathematics & Statistics
Ormiston Senior College
Auckland, New Zealand
Like all Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts, Subash Chandar K is comfortable taking risks in his classroom. From using augmented reality (AR) to building and deploying robots, this creative educator likes to push boundaries. But one of the most important lessons he’s learned about teaching is a simple one.
“Kids learn when they are ready to learn,” Chandar K says. “In 2018, I tried something different. I ran a live YouTube tutorial using my Surface and OneNote for students that were studying for an exam. On the night of the tutorial, 438 students attended the live tutorial from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. I learned that when students are ready to learn, teachers need to be able to facilitate learning.”
How Chandar K’s students learn is just as important. He creates activities that bring learning to life, and shares those activities with other math teachers who are working to incorporate technology into their classrooms.
“One of my activities that is very popular with schools is the Birthday Task,” he explains. “Students navigate their robot from the year of their birth, to month of their birth, to the date of their birth and back. The students then measure the distances and use trigonometry to program the bearings in an app and give instructions to the robot to complete the task. When the students made mistakes, they automatically check with their calculations to see where the mistakes were made, and then fix them.”
Beyond bringing robots into the classroom, Chandar K wants to see how students interact with AR. And he’s found a creative way to test his ideas.
“One of my goals was for students to create a famous monument, project it in AR, and walk through the monument using a program called BlocksCAD3D,” he tells us. “I have been told that this technology is not available for the price I am willing to pay. I found a shortcut when I learned how to use my Surface Pro as a device for displaying MR images. So currently students are encouraged to build a famous monument, and using my Surface, we can project their image onto their hand or the school courtyard. Due to cost, we are currently 3D printing some small-scale models for students to take home as souvenirs.”
Chandar K’s efforts are driving change, and he recently won the 2018 National Excellence in Teaching Awards in New Zealand. He’s been invited to share his thoughts on education on national television and hopes to use the opportunity to showcase the work teachers do around the country.
“The challenge is the public perception of what teachers do,” Chandar K tells us, “and I would like to change it to show that teaching is a noble profession. Our students are currently in a state of fear of failure. While I am not a trained counselor, I am a trained failure. I have failed in my studies and in various fields. I have shared my stories of struggles and failures in hopes of inspiring students to never give up and follow their passions.”
About Subash Chandar K
- Educational background: BSc in Mathematics (University of Auckland)
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Surface, OneNote and PowerPoint
- Favorite book: Life of Pi by Yann Martel
- Website I check every day: espnfc.com.au
- Favorite childhood memory: Counting the number of carriages on a train.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Try something new, if it works then put it away and start working on the next idea.