Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
Photo courtesy of

Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Friday, June 21, 2013

A must watch!

I love TED Talks. This is such an insightful TEDx talk about education, a must watch indeed!  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Playful learning, technology and possibilitarian(ism)

This is an awesome opportunity for any educator!

Greetings, all!

Some of you might be familiar with Bread and Puppet, a highly creative
puppet protest performance art(form). Their January performance was
entitled the "Circus of Possibilitarians", which inspired me to
consider the applicability of their term ("possibilitarian", or a
person who conjures possibilities) to teaching. I appreciate its
positive, generative connotation.

I'm an education technologist, and all too often great teachers
describe themselves as "digital immigrants". The implication is that
their agency in learning and using technologies is limited at best.

So, I've been exploring the term "possibilitarian" as it relates to
teaching with technologies; namely, that all sorts of wonderful
learning can happen when technologies are understood as tools to "play
with" or "explore through" rather than as devices that befuddle. By
way of an example, here's an investigation of birdsong: .
It's nascent but just as the moon-watching experience, it has all
emerged through the exploration of an idea and through a synthesis of
the idea with various technological tools.

I've sketched an essay on the topic, and would love to collaborate in
generating the idea & essay more fully. If this resonates with your
experience or thinking, or excites you, please get in touch! I'd love
to discuss it further...


--Dave, MBE '07

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Making a scanning tunneling microscope!

This is from a colleague and quite fascinating!

Hi all,
This is an article by my good friend, Pankaj Sekhsaria, a doctoral researcher in India/ the Netherlands, who looks at the idea of jugaad in the fields of nanoscience and technology. Jugaad is a word in multiple Indian languages, and roughly translated, it means creative improvisation, usually working outside institutional norms... Pankaj explains it better in the article.

The article talks about the fascinating enterprise of building one of the first scanning tunneling microscope in India, at the University of Pune, and the collaboration between students, professors, scrap dealers, and traditional craftspersons, to develop a way of teaching and research, which includes making the instruments. 

His email id is


The making of an indigenous scanning tunneling microscope
Pankaj Sekhsaria
This article is an historical account of the indigenous development of one of the earliest scanning tunneling microscopes in India. It was fabricated in the Department of Physics at the University of Pune just a few years after it was first made in Europe. A series of scanning probe microscopes (SPMs) were made here subsequently – a process in which students played a major role. Over a period of two decades these SPMs were used to produce a series of scientific papers besides train- ing students in making, using and modifying the instruments and then pushing them to their limits. Importantly, junk markets, scrap materials, small time spring makers and second-hand dealers and traditional knowledge practices were all an integral part of this enterprise of ‘instrument-making’ and doing scientific research.
Keywords: History, innovation, scanning tunneling microscope, technological jugaad.
The 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics
ONE half of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics1 was awarded to Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer of the IBM Research Laboratory, Zurich, Switzerland for the successful development of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) (see note 1). The significance of the instrument, that is universally credited with having spawned the now hugely popular and ever-expanding field of nanoscience and technology (NS&T) is now well known.
The first significant images from this first STM had been reported in late 1981, but it took a few years more before the instrument gained recognition and popularity2. One of the first significant scientific gatherings around the STM was held, in fact, only a couple of months before the Nobel Prize itself was announced. This was the first STM conference organized in Santiago de Campos- tela, Spain by Nicolas Garcia of Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. It was attended by most of those individuals who find a prominent mention in any historical account of the development of STMs and in the field of scanning probe microscopy (SPM) that followed from it – Binning and Rohrer, of course, but also others like Richard Colton of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Washington, USA and Paul Hansma from the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA3.
An Indian STM
There is one name in the list of participants of this con- ference that is of particular interest from an Indian point
of view – surface scientist from the University of Pune (UoP), C. V. Dharmadhikari. He attended not only the 1986 conference, but also the second STM conference that was held in Oxnard, California, USA in 1987. About a year later, in 1988, Dharmadhikari successfully installed his first indigenously made STM under the staircase in the Department of Physics, UoP.
Students had also already started working with him on the STM project. In 1987, the first M Sc project4 related to the STM had been completed under his guidance. The first peer-reviewed article on an aspect of STM construc- tion5 was published in 1988; the first M Phil degree6 for the ‘development of a simple electronic control system’ for an STM was awarded in 1990, and the first doctorate (Ph D)7 was awarded for STM-related work under his su- pervision in 1999. In fact, in 1988, when a joint Indo-US project on STM was initiated with S. S. Wadhwa (Central Scientific Instruments Organization (CSIO), Chandigarh, India) and Richard Colton (Naval Research Laboratory, Washington), as the principal investigators, Dharmadhikari was drafted in as one of three other Indian players who had experience and could make a significant contri- bution.
From 1988 to 2010, the year that Dharmadhikari retired from UoP (see note 2), the Centre for Advanced Studies in Materials Science and Solid State Physics that he headed, had made a series of STMs and Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs). Twelve students had completed their M Phil degrees8–12 and eight their doctorates13–15, all of these while working on various aspects of making these instruments. Many of these students then worked on postdoc fellowships and eventually moved to permanent positions in leading scientific institutions in India and abroad. The research group also published more than 60 papers, including in peer-reviewed journals16–21.
page1image37880 page1image38040
Pankaj Sekhsaria is in the Department of Technology and Society Stu- dies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University, Grote Gracht 80-82, 6211 SZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
Many people I spoke to, including Dharmadhikari him- self, noted that there was a culture of making instruments in the Department of Physics, UoP from the very begin- ning. This was itself rooted in the larger shortage of re- sources available for scientific research in the country22,23 and an overarching national policy where scientists and technologists were constantly exhorted to achieve self- sufficiency24,25. It is in this larger context that the present article explores the scientific journey made by Dhar- madhikari and his students; the instruments they fabri- cated; the materials, processes and people that were recruited in the process; the bridges that were built, new meanings that were generated and the scientific output that they jointly delivered.
Junk markets, scrap materials, roadside spring-making workshops, traditional knowledge practices and the notion of jugaad are not generally associated with the modern laboratory and certainly not with cutting-edge scientific instrumentation and research. Yet, this is exactly what happened here.
Science and technology studies
This article is an outcome of my on-going doctoral research in science and technology studies (STS) as part of which I am trying to understand the ‘cultures of inno- vation’ in NS&T research in India. I approach the subject as a sociologist of science and technology (S&T) working in collaboration with the Indian NS&T scientists and researchers themselves.
The research is qualitative in nature and uses methods such as open-ended interviews, historical analysis and laboratory ethnography that are drawn primarily from sociology and anthropology. It is about a ‘culture of in- novation’ that links the macro with the micro and what is done within the lab with the world outside, a world that is a much bigger influence than is generally believed. This is the culture of ‘technological jugaad’ – innovation that is deeply embedded in the historical, political, social and economic context in which research and innovation happen.
It would be relevant here to note that almost no con- versation on innovation in India, particularly north of the Vindhya Mountain Range, can happen without a reference to jugaad. It is a term that is both extremely maligned and used with extreme pride and in what follows there is, first, a brief journey through this world of jugaad. We then return to the laboratory, to the making of STMs and further on to the conceptualization of technological jugaad. The article ends with characterization of this new idea as well as a conceptual framework that should help provide a new understanding of and engagement with innovation as it is nested within the wider socio-cultural setting.
Exploring jugaad
Jugaad is a word in many Indian languages in the upper half of the country such as Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Pun-
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
jabi, Oriya and Mythili, that does not have an easy equivalent in English. The plasticity of the word and the range of its usage are evident in the fact that jugaad can be concept, process and product all rolled into one at the same time; it means reconfiguring materialities to over- come obstacles and find solutions; it could mean working the system to one’s advantage, and it is also used as a synonym in certain contexts for gambling and corruption. Jugaad is not just an inextricable part of local vocabular- ies in India, it is an integral part of the way life is lived and the world negotiated. It is noun as much as it is a verb; an idea and an articulation that has a wide range of meanings and usages that revolve primarily around pro- blem solving or solution finding.
It is not surprising, then, that jugaad comes up repeat- edly in discussions related to innovation with as many translations and interpretations as there are authors – ‘creative improvization’26, ‘developing alternatives, improvizations and make dos’27, and ‘an arrangement or a work-around, which has to be used because of lack of resources’28. A comprehensive and evocative rendering of what jugaad means in its multiple facets is provided by Pavan Varma (see note 3):
‘There is an Indian expression and, like others, is quite impossible to adequately translate: jugaad. People are encouraged to use some jugaad when faced with a blank wall, or a difficult situation. Jugaad is creative improvisation, a tool to somehow find a solution, inge- nuity, a refusal to accept defeat, initiative, quick think- ing, cunning, resolve and all of the above’29.
The diversity and richness are evident in the different ways jugaad is translated, interpreted and used.
Two extremes of looking at jugaad
One strain of discussion on jugaad30–32, particularly in the popular media, has an evidently feel-good and celebra- tory air about it. India Today, for instance, notes in the editorial of a special issue on innovation that, ‘The best translation of that word is a combination of innovation and enterprise (...) Jugaad to Indians was both instinct and inspiration. The drive for a better way out, after all, is in India’s bloodstream’30. This celebratory slant notwith- standing, it is evident that jugaad in such publications is dealt with only in a perfunctory manner. The India Today special issue, for instance, profiles 20 innovators and in- novations that range across diverse fields such as tradi- tional pottery, modern medicine in the time of the swine- flu epidemic and the development of a pedal power- driven machine for washing clothes. Jugaad, however, does not appear anywhere in any of the detailed accounts of these innovations.
On the other end of this spectrum, jugaad encounters much skepticism and even serious denial26,27,31,33. An
extreme illustration of this is the recent, wide-ranging and damning account by Birtchnell34 where he notes that ‘jugaad impacts on society in negative and undesirable ways (...) It is wholly unsuitable both as a development tool and as a business asset’ (ibid, p. 357).
Krishnan26 notes on similar lines that ‘India remains stuck in a more unscientific paradigm of innovation, often labeled as jugaad’ (ibid, p. 170) and that the journey that needs to be made is clearly one away from jugaad and towards ‘systematic innovation’.
Prahalad and Mashelkar27 too dismiss jugaad because ‘the term (...) has the connotation of compromising on quality’. They prefer to use the term ‘Gandhian innova- tion’ for examples such as the development of the ‘Nano’, the world’s cheapest car available at a price of US$ 2000 or the development of a super computer by an Indian firm at a cost of US$ 20 million.
The position these authors have on jugaad is evident and yet there are two elements that, though unstated, stand out in almost all these narratives. First, there is lit- tle, if any, empirical engagement with the concept – we have no details of the examples of jugaad that the authors have chosen to dismiss with emphasis. Second, and this is of particular relevance here, there is no discussion at all of jugaad in relation to research and development in the S&T enterprise of the country.
If jugaad is indeed inferior, unsystematic and a com- promise on quality as noted above, it is not a surprise that it has no place in discussion about formal S&T in the mainstream; S&T research is, after all, the holy grail of innovation, creativity and progress. It is a significant paradox then, that the genesis of this article lies in my empirical work that provides evidence to the contrary – jugaad, as I found out and the subsequent narrative will illustrate, appears to be alive and kicking in the modern scientific laboratory, the scientific method and where there is no compromise on the quality of the output either. Importantly, and in line with a fundamental tenet of STS research, I am not using jugaad here to describe and characterize what I, as a researcher, saw in the labo- ratory; it was a term and an idea that Dharmadhikari, the principal scientist I was interacting with, used himself.
The best-known examples of jugaad
Perhaps, the best known product identified with jugaad is an automobile found across northern and western India that is created using a non-standardized manufacturing process, is not registered with the relevant authorities and therefore does not exist within any formal legal frame. Every such vehicle differs from the other and the only thing that binds them together is the fact that they are fabricated locally and by assembling different parts, commonly from other scrapped vehicles – engines, tyres, wooden planks, steering wheels, seats and even water
pumps. They are even called differently in different parts of the country – Jugaad35 and Maruta36 in parts of north- ern India and Chakda in certain regions of western India29. The automobile so created is, generally, a locally crafted solution to an immediate problem such as a bottleneck in transporting agricultural produce to the nearest mandi (wholesale market for farm produce) or to transport people in a landscape of limited connectivity and mobility choices.
Another well-documented, though less prevalent form of jugaad is the use of an existing artifact for purposes completely different from what it was originally created for – ‘materials put to uses few could have imagined’37. The best known example of this is again found in parts of North India, where washing machines are used to prepare lassi, the popular local drink made from churning curd, sugar and water at high speeds.
Evidently this jugaad is a locally crafted solution to an immediate problem and often a personalized survival tac- tic in situations of obvious resource constraints and/or denial28,29. The jugaad that we are talking about here also involves a prominent element of reconfigured materiality. This, in particular, is what I am calling ‘technological jugaad’ – a conceptual category that deals centrally with technical and technological artifacts and where reconfig- uring materiality to bestow new meaning and create new uses is one of its most important characteristics.
Technological jugaad and STM
It is this concept of technological jugaad that I saw oper- ating prominently in Dharmadhikari’s laboratory and his STM enterprise of more than two decades as is illustrated in the set of three quotes that follow:
‘Like some of the piezos we used from (...) the older models of ink jet printers. Jugaad is something like the spectrometer we used for the tunneling and photon microscopy – we got it from junk, repaired it, impro- vised and used it. (...) I used to go to juna bazaar [junk market] and find out how much is the resolution of stepper motors (...) To develop techniques to measure how many steps it goes, (...) I think, is jugaad because you find one technique, you use another one, (...) plug them together and once you do it, you have all the technology that they already invented – for something else’ (Dharmadhikari, interview in March 2011).
‘There was a huge magnet and I got a bobbin – a plastic bobbin from a tailor and we had a coil on that. That coil was put in a magnet and we hammered it with a wooden hammer. Then we looked at the resonance frequency – simple technique (...). Now with (...) the latest vibration system we are getting the same reso- nance frequency after 20 years (...) Then we developed one [STM] in a fridge. I had a student from the Middle
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
East and when he was leaving (...) he gave it to me. So we removed the compressor and it was a good acoustic shell (...) It’s a totally new concept – it was used for nanotechnology’ (Dharmadhikari (see note 4), Pre- sentation, March 2011).
‘To protect the STM from acoustic noise, the total system is encased in a fridge-case (from which com- pressor was removed), since the fridge case has [a] metal frame which shields the STM from high fre- quency noise [see Figure 1]. [The] body has glass wool insulation which protects the STM from acoustic noise. It was found that the acoustic signal inside the fridge is less than 2 dB’15.
Discarded refrigerators15, stepper motors from junked computers, tubes from car tyres38,39 [see Figure 2], bungee chords39 [see Figure 3, which is part of STM in Figure 1], viton rubber tubing14, weights from the gro- cers’ shop, alluminium vessels generally used in the kitchen and bobbins from sewing machines were only some of the components that went into the making of the first prototype and the other probe microscopes that followed.
The parallel with the examples of jugaad from outside the laboratory is immediately evident – existing materials and artifacts used in completely new ways and/or com- bined with each other to construct and operationalize a new idea or concept.
Another important dimension to this instrument-build- ing was the collaboration that was struck with a number of other ‘unexpected’ players. This included, among others, a small-time entrepreneur with a spark erosion
machine, a roadside workshop for alluminium sand die casting and the procurement of springs from a workshop owner who could not understand spring constant, but could deliver the needful based on the Dharmadhikari’s explanation of the requirements and tacit knowledge embedded in his fingers. In another marginal case, Dhar- madhikari even enrolled the traditional plating technique of ‘kalai’, the practitioners of which travel from house to house in rural and urban areas offering tin-plating ser- vices to housewives for their copper and brass utensils.
Instrument-making as a pedagogic tool
It is, however, not just that the instruments worked well and the process of their making was interesting. This process, as Dharmadhikari explicitly noted, also has sig- nificant pedagogic value:
‘At the same time I realized that doing your (...) own experimentation is always interesting (...) [There is] less throughput, of course (...) but in universities this is a better approach because you are training the students (...) I realized that if I can make simple ones [instru- ments] through the students, not only [will] we learn a lot about these techniques, (...) but we were also creat- ing future generations which [was] proven later because most of the students got jobs in [the field of] nanoscience’ (Dharmadhikari, interview in March 2011).
This is significant in light of one of the key challenges being faced by Indian laboratories today. Balaram40 notes in his recent editorial that there is the absence of ‘trained technicians with a high level of competence in operating and maintaining facilities’ and that as a consequence ‘Major facilities are sub-optimally used and sophisticated instruments are rarely exploited to their full potential’.
Figure 2. A table-top STM placed on the inflated tube of a car tyre that acts as a vibration isolating device (photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria).
page4image31256 page4image31424
Scanning tunneling microscope installed inside the shell of a refrigerator after the compressor was removed (photo: Pankaj Sekh- saria).
Figure 1.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
page5image888 page5image1048
Figure 3. Use of a bungee chord for enhanced vibration isolation (photo: Pankaj Sekhsaria).
These are sentiments that are echoed perfectly in the experiences and opinions of almost all of Dharmadhi- kari’s students. Shivprasad Patil, who is now at the Institute of Scientific Education and Research, Pune, continues to work on the development of AFMs. Patil is explicit in his acknowledgement of the training he received during his doctoral research:
‘There are various reasons why you should build your own thing (...). If, right from your PhD you are build- ing your equipment there is (...) this freedom and it liberates you (...). The moment you buy one or two crores worth of equipment you are stuck with it (...) Often you are scared to use it to its fullest capacity. (...) [What are] artifacts, what is true information, what is the false signal – those things – you know much better if you build your own stuff. People say you are reinventing wheel [but] it is not so’ (Patil, interview in March 2011).
Importantly, this STM example is only one concrete illus- tration of technological jugaad inside a physics laboratory and there is reason to believe that this is not an isolated case. That we do not know of more such examples in India is not because they do not exist, but more likely, because little effort has been made to go looking for them in the right places on one hand and the refusal to acknowledge or accept them where they might exist, on the other.
Technological jugaad as user-driven innovation
The examples of technological jugaad, whether inside or outside the laboratory, also have a prominent overlap with the now well-established idea of ‘user-driven’ inno- vation41,42. In a study of the development in the West of scientific instruments across four instrument families – gas chromatograph, nuclear magnetic resonance spec- trometer, ultraviolet spectrophotometer and the transmis- sion electron microscope – von Hippel42 found that nearly 80% of this development had been done by the users, the scientists, themselves. The story of technological jugaad and of the development of the indigenous STM in India then becomes even more interesting. The outcome (development of the instrument) may have been the same, but was the route followed similar to the one in the Indian case? What were the kinds of materials used in the crea- tion of the instruments? Where were they sourced from? At what cost, if any?
Valuable insights can be gleaned in this context from another engaging account of the commercialization of scanning probe microscopy in Western Europe and USA. Mody3,43 notes that in many instances of making these in- struments there was a ‘whimsicality (...) accompanied by bricolage in instrument building, [where STM] probes [were made] from pencil-leads [and] (...) AFM tips from hand-crushed, pawn-shop diamonds glued to tinfoil canti- levers with brushes made from their [researcher’s] own eyebrow hairs’.
The point here is that this technological jugaad kind of innovation is not necessarily limited to the Indian con- text. It has worked (and still works) successfully in dif- ferent parts of the world, including in the prominent centres of modern science and technology, albeit using a different vocabulary.
Characterizing technological jugaad
The above having been noted, the next step would be to create a more widely usable conceptual framework for technological jugaad. This, I attempt now with the help of seven characteristics that I have identified from the dis- cussion above and extended inferences. These are pre- sented here mainly as signposts; pointers that can help gain empirical research information and insights, and also guide and promote further discussion and research.
Reconfiguring materiality
One of the cornerstones of technological jugaad we have seen, be it the automobile in northern India or the STM in a modern physics lab – is the reconfiguration of materia- lity – giving new meaning to old objects and finding uses that they were not initially created for.
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
Technological jugaad mainly involves finding a solution to an immediate problem. The immediacy of the problem is often linked to economic survival and may in a particular context, be an explicit manifestation of the imperative of continued existence. In that sense, then, it is different from invention or an activity of leisure such as pursuing a hobby.
Driven by resource constraints
that a major chunk of the economic activity and employ- ment in India is found in the informal sector29,44, where there is no guarantee of employment and work and/or social security44. It is in this context of resource depriva- tion and/or denial that jugaad forms a lifeline for the live- lihood and survival support-system of millions.
Technological jugaad might not perform precisely the same function inside a modern laboratory, but it is, unde- niably, a part of the same continuum. It has the potential to energize and facilitate much of what Balaram40 notes is sorely missing (or rapidly disappearing) from the labora- tory. Sustaining and supporting it will, in fact, add much more to the S&T enterprise than it has been credited with and recognized for.
1. The other half of the prize was awarded to Ernst Ruska for his fun- damental work in electron optics, and for the design of the first electron microscope.
2. He is presently visiting faculty at the Indian Institute Scientific Education and Research, Pune.
3. I would like to thank Rishikesha Krishnan for drawing my attention to this work by Pavan Verma. It is striking to note that Varma’s ex- position of jugaad appears not in the ‘Technology’ chapter in his book, but the chapter titled ‘Wealth’. The ‘Technology’ chapter deals only with India’s much discussed information technology sector.
4. The presentation was made at a national seminar on SPM at UoP that was organized to felicitate Dharmadhikari on his retire- ment.
1. RSAC, Press Release, 1986 [cited 10 May 2012], available from:
2. Binnig, G. and Rohrer, H., Scanning tunneling microscopy – from birth to adolescence. In Nobel Lecture, 1986.
3. Mody, C. C. M., Instrumental Community, 2011, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusets, p. 260.
4. Bendre, S., Design of Micromanipulator for STM, M Sc Project Report, University of Pune, Pune, 1987.
5. Bendre, S. and Dharmadhikari, C., Design, construction and cali- bration of a PZT micromanipulator for scanning tunneling micro- scope (STM). J. Opt., 1988, 17, 67–70.
6. More, R., A study of scanning tunneling microscope and devel- opment of a simple electronic control system for the same, M Phil thesis, University of Pune, Pune, 1990, p. 46.
7. Yehia, A. O. A., A study of nucleation and growth of thin films using scanning tunneling microscopy and related techniques, Ph D thesis, University of Pune, 1999.
8. Chaudhary, M., Development of dynamic Michelson interfero- metry for the callibration of intertial translator, M Phil thesis, University of Pune, 2002.
9. Dambe, A. T., Development and application of electronic system for scanning tunneling microscopy, M Phil thesis, University of Pune, 1995, p. 32.
10. Sawant, S. S., Interferometric techniques for static and dynamic characterization of piezoelectric actuators: design, development and application, M Phil thesis, University of Pune, 1994.
11. Patil, S., Development and applications of probes for scanning tunneling microscopy, M Phil thesis, University of Pune, 1994, p. 28.
One of the key conditions driving technological jugaad is resource constraint or denial. There is, therefore, no option but to find new meanings and uses for existing objects – a direct linkage to the first characteristic of reconfiguring materiality.
Bridging knowledge systems of ways of knowing
This paradigm of innovation, as we have seen, particularly in the case of the physics lab, embodies an important ele- ment of interdisciplinarity. There is an awareness of what is happening elsewhere and both the capacity and will- ingness to bring in ways of doing things that are located outside and, therefore, not considered part of the system.
Legally grey
The production process as well as the final object created, like in the case of the jugaad automobile in particular, might lie outside the existing legal framework – an area that maybe grey as far as the law is concerned.
Not (intended) for commercialization
Available evidence, although limited, suggests that com- mercialization is not the primary intention of jugaad, though there is no reason why it should not become suc- cessful commercially. In the first instance, however, it lies outside the broad framework of the marketplace.
A culture of recycling
There is a way of looking at waste; a culture of recycling that is central to the jugaad enterprise. This is about a so- ciety where resources are scarce and access is limited. There exist formal and informal systems where scrap and junk are indeed available as in the case of the junk mar- kets that can be found in nearly all towns and cities.
It would also be relevant to mention here, particularly in the context of jugaad happening outside the laboratory,
page6image48768 page6image48928 page6image49088 page6image49248
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013
  1. Iyyer, S. B., Development and application of electronic control system for scanning tunneling microscope, M Phil thesis, Univer- sity of Pune, 1994, p. 34.
  2. Chaudhary, M. V., Scanning probe microscopic investigations of metallic nanostructures: electron transport, charge storage and related processes, Ph D thesis, University of Pune, 2011.
  3. Dey, S., Design and development of photon emitting STM to study the optical properties of individual nanostructures, Ph D thesis, University of Pune, 2010, p. 167.
  4. Iyyer, S. B., Design, development and application of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) techniques for nanolithography and nanofabrication, Ph D thesis, University of Pune, 2006.
  5. Sastry, M. et al., DNA-mediated electrostatic assembly of gold nanoparticles into linear arrays by a simple drop-coating pro- cedure. Appl. Phys. Lett., 2001, 78, 2943–2945.
  6. Godbole, V. P. et al., Evidence for layered growth of (100) tex- tured diamond films. Appl. Phys. Lett., 1997, 71, 2626–2628.
  7. Chaki, N. K. et al., Single-electron charging features of larger,
    dodecanethiol-protected gold nanoclusters: electrochemical and scanning tunneling microscopy studies. Langmuir, 2004, 20, 10208–10217.
  8. Datar, S. et al., Scanning force microscopy and amplitude versus distance measurements on single-crystal oxide surfaces. Surf. Inter. Anal., 2004, 36, 213–219.
  9. Patil, S. and Dharmadhikari, C., Investigation of the electrostatic forces in scanning probe microscopy at low bias voltages. Surf. Inter. Anal., 2002, 33, 155–158.
  10. Kumar, A. et al., Linear superclusters of colloidal gold particles by electrostatic assembly on DNA templates. Adv. Mater., 2001, 13, 341–344.
  11. Balaram, P., Sanctions. Curr. Sci., 1999, 76, 1171.
  12. Mashelkar, R., Reinventing India, Sahyadri Prakashan, Pune,
  13. Anderson, R. S., Nucleus and Nation – Scientists, International
    Networks, and Power in India, The University of Chicago Press,
    Chicago, 2010, p. 683.
  14. Raina, D., Images and Contexts: The Historiography of Science
    and Modernity in India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi,
    2003, p. 234.
  15. Krishnan, R. T., From Jugaad to Systematic Innovation: The
    Challenge for India, The Utpreraka Foundation, Bangalore, 2010,
    p. 197.
  16. Prahalad, C. and Mashelkar, R., Innovation’s Holy Grail, Harvard
    Business Review, 2010.
  17. Rangaswamy, N. and Sambasivan, N., Cutting chai, Jugaad, and
    here pheri: towards UbiComp for a global community, Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 2011, 15, 553–564.
29. Varma, P., Being Indian. First ed 2004, Penguin Books, New Delhi, p. 238.
30. Purie, A., In India Today, New Delhi, 2010, p. 1.
31. Datta, P. (ed.), A case study special on innovation – making aspi-

rations count, Business World, New Delhi, 2010, p. 296.
32. Giridharadas, A., A winning formula for hard economic times,
New York Times, New York, 2010.
33. Munshi, P.,
Making Breakthrough Innovation Happen, Harper-
Collins, Nodia, 2009.
34. Birtchnell, T., Jugaad as systemic risk and disruptive innovation in

India. Contemp. South Asia, 2011, 19, 357–372.
35. Jolly, M., The jugaad country, 2009 [cited 19 September 2010];

available from: 36. Purie, A., In India Today, New Delhi, 2010, p. 1.
37. Philip, K., Irani, L. and Dourish, P., Post colonial computing: a

tactical survey. Sci. Technol. Hum. Values, 2012, 37, 3–29.
38. Datar, S., Some aspects of investigation of nanostructures using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM)/atomic force micro- scopy (AFM) and related techniques, PhD thesis, University of

Pune, 2004, p. 146.
39. Patil, S. V., Design and development of scanning force micro-

scopic techniques for surface characterisation, PhD thesis, Uni-
versity of Pune, 2002, p. 96.
40. Balaram, P., Innocence and sophistication: users and equipment.

Curr . Sci., 2012, 102, 1241–1242.
41. von Hippel, E.,
Democratizing Innovation, The MIT Press, Cam-
bridge, Massachusetts, 2006, p. 204.
42. von Hippel, E.,
The Sources of Innovation, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 1988, p. 218.
43. Mody, C. C. M., Corporations, universities and instrumental

communities: commercialising probe microscopy, 1981–1996.
Technol. Cult., 2006, 47, 56–80.
44. Kapila, U., Assessment of the growth experience: poverty, unem-

ployment and inflation. In Indian Economy Since Independence (ed. Kapila, U.), Academic Foundation, New Delhi, 2010, p. 988.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. I have benefited immensely from discus- sions on jugaad and innovation I have had with a number of colleagues. I would like, in particular, to thank Ranjit Singh, Samir Passi, Esha Shah, Wiebe Bijker, Ragna Zeiss, Koen Beumer, Shambu Prasad, Annapurna Mamidipudi, Jyoti Bachani and Madhuvanti Anantharajan.
Received 12 June 2012; revised accepted 18 March 2013
page7image43608 page7image43768 page7image43928
CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 104, NO. 9, 10 MAY 2013 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Teaching Position Available in NH!

This is from a former peer of mine, in case you're up north and interested!

Hi Everyone,

We have an English position that just came available. The position involves teaching two sections of 9th grade English (year-long class), integrated with US history and two junior/ senior electives each trimester. The 9th grade history teacher is excellent.
We might also have a history position opening up. This position involves teaching two sections of 10th grade (year long class) and junior/senior history electives, most with a global emphasis. This teacher is teamed with an excellent 10th grade English teacher.
The integrated teaching partners in both classes have common preps and classrooms are adjacent.
Rivendell Academy is a small, public 7-12 school in rural NH (Orford, 20 minutes north of Hanover in the picturesque Connecticut River Valley. 2 hours from Boston). I would love to have someone familiar with Critical Exploration. We have an excellent faculty.
Call Keri Gelenian at 707-499-7718.
Feel free to forward this email. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

More great books to check out!

The list continues....

1. How to Motivate Relunctant Learners
By Robyn R. Jackson

2. A World-Class Education: Learning from International Models of Excellence and Innovation
By Vivien Stewart

3. Learning from Lincoln: Leadership Practices for School Success
By Harvey Alvy and Pam Robbins

4. Wasting Minds: Why Our Education System is Failing and What We Can Do About It
By Ronald A. Wolk

5. Role Reversal: Achieving Uncommonly Excellent Results in the Student-Centered Classroom
By Mark Barnes

6. Understanding How Young Children Learn: Bridging the Science of Child Development to the Classroom
By Wendy L. Ostroff

7. Neurodiversity in the Classroom: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students with Special Needs Succeed in School
By Thomas Armstrong

8. Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades K-5
By Carol Ann Tomlinson and Caroline Cunningham Eidson

9. Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 5-9
By Carol Ann Tomlinson and Caroline Cunningham Eidson

10. Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 9-12
By Carol Ann Tomlinson and Caroline Cunningham Eidson

I LOVE the last three books! Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New books to check out!

It's been awhile since I've provided an updated list of resources to check out, so here you go. Enjoy!

1. Teaching the Critical Vocabulary of the Common Core: 55 Words that Make or Break Student Understanding
By Marilee Sprenger

2. Vocabulary for the Common Core
By Robert J. Marzano and Julia A. Simms

3. Using Data to Focus Instructional Improvement
By Cheryl James-Ward, Douglas Fisherm Nancy Frey, and Diane Lapp

4. Teacher Evaluation that Makes a Difference: A New Model for Teacher Growth and Student Achievement
By Robert J. Marzano and Michael D. Toth

5. Effective Supervision: Supporting the Art and Science of Teaching
By Robert J. Marzano, Tony Frontier, and David Livingston

6. Teacher Evaluation to Enhance Professional Practice
By Charlotte Danielson and Thomas L. McGreal

7. Never Underestimate Your Teachers: Instructional Leadership for Excellence in Every Classroom
By Robyn R. Jackson

8. Never Worj Harder than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching
By Robyn R. Jackson

9. How to Support Struggling Students
By Robyn R. Jackson and Claire Lambert

10. How to Plan Rigorous Instruction
By Robyn R. Jackson

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to better promote parental engagement....

This is NEVER easy, especially in high needs and high poverty schools, like where I teach. I found the following article helpful, and I hope you do too!

In the Classroom with Liliana X. Aguas: Promote Parental Engagement

Liliana X. Aguas
Everyone agrees that parental engagement is essential to the academic success of all students. An extensive body of research indicates that regardless of income or ethnic background, students whose parents are engaged in school earn higher grades, demonstrate better behavior, have more consistent attendance, and have reduced dropout rates. Although it has been proven that parental engagement yields better student outcomes, in practice, it can be difficult to actively involve all parents, especially those who are native speakers of languages besides English. In fact, English language learners (ELLs) make up the fastest growing segment of the student population across all states in the last 20 years. As such, it is crucial for educators to identify linguistically appropriate and culturally relevant practices to improve parental involvement.

Many barriers stand in the way of parental engagement. One very dangerous barrier is a deficit view of ELL students and their parents. Deficit perspectives may lead educators to believe that linguistically and culturally diverse students and their families lack the know-how to succeed in school and don't value education. Instead, educators should consider and remedy their own deficiencies when it comes to serving and understanding diverse populations and should create a learning environment that is caring, inviting, and receptive to all parents. I have found that a warm smile is the first step toward toppling potential barriers, including language. It doesn't matter whether you speak the same language; what parents want is the opportunity to be part of their children's academic success.
Educators should also understand that in many cultures, especially those of Latin America, parents traditionally regard teachers as experts and are reluctant to take on roles normally considered to be in the teacher's domain to avoid coming across as disrespectful toward the learning authority. Educators should account for these cultural differences and focus on empowering parents to become advocates for their children. This should be done by creating ELL parental involvement opportunities that validate the cultural capital and wealth of knowledge that ELL parents possess. The idea is not to undermine the language or culture of ELL parents but instead to teach them how to understand and navigate the U.S. educational system.

To effectively engage my ELL parents, I have adopted three practices that have resulted in increased parental interest and participation in my classroom. These three activities are designed to make parents feel welcome as partners in their children's learning in spite of language barriers.


Last year I began to host Cafecitos, or coffee time, with my Spanish-speaking parents. I drafted colorful invitations and sent them home with students to give to their parents. I use Cafecitos to connect and build a trusting and caring relationship with my ELL parents. I usually don't have an agenda and instead offer this time to answer any questions that parents may have about school. For instance, at our last meeting, parents asked me to describe the difference between ELL and English as a second language.

Cafecitos also allow parents to network with one another and share information about resources that can benefit other families. At a previous Cafecito, one of the parents shared information about enrolling younger siblings in preschool and where to get free parenting classes and babysitting jobs. Parents also share ideas with one another about how best to support their children academically and socially. When appropriate, I use Cafecitos to share math and reading strategies that parents can use at home to assist their children.

P Is for Publishing Party

One of my colleagues shared how much his 4th graders had enjoyed having a publishing party where students shared their published essays with one another. To celebrate their writing accomplishments, his whole class came dressed in pajamas, drank pineapple juice, and munched on pretzels and popcorn. I fell in love with the idea and decided that it would be an ideal opportunity for my students to showcase their writing accomplishments to their parents. Valentine's Day was around the corner, so I decided to host an "I heart publishing" party.

I sent out bilingual invitations asking parents to attend our writing celebration. Students wore "I heart publishing" paper crowns and read their published writing aloud to their peers and parents. Although most parents did not understand what their children were reading, they were glowing with pride. Opening the doors of our classroom for special activities such as this makes parents feel welcome despite existing language barriers.

Family Math

You won't always be able to speak directly with your ELL parents, but you can always defer to math. Math is the universal language simply because the principles of arithmetic are the same throughout the world: one plus one always equals two no matter what language you speak. Take advantage of this universal language and invite your ELL parents to partake in math activities in your classroom.
I place simple math games at each group table in our classroom and invite parents to come play them with their children. Teams of parents and their children visit each table to play a different math game. Each game focuses on a specific math skill and strategy. To ensure that all parents will be able to participate, I teach my students the rules of all the games in advance so that they can teach their parents in case I have difficulty communicating with them.

In my classroom, I subscribe to an "assets-based" teaching pedagogy and reject deficit-based ideologies that view ELLs as "bundles of deficiencies" that have nothing to offer to their learning community. I also reject the myth that parents of my ELL students don't value education, a myth that has been debunked by many studies demonstrating that linguistically and culturally diverse parents are deeply concerned about the education of their children. In my experience, linguistically and culturally diverse parents have a lot to offer, not only to their children but also to our entire learning community.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Avoid the summer learning slump!

Keeping our kids reading and learning during summer vacation is of utmost importance, especially if we don't want them to lose valuable ground they achieved during the school year. Read on for some great tips in doing so!

How to Stimulate Summer Learning

Willona Sloan
Studies show that during the summer break, students tend to lose some of the important academic gains made during the school year. Although most kids wouldn't normally opt to study during the warm, leisurely months, there are plenty of ways to keep them engaged in reading, math, science, and art on their own.
In addition to the wide range of activities provided by community resources such as library branches or summer day camps run by the local city or county, kids can also take advantage of online educational games and resources that keep them learning at their own pace. Hands-on projects and activities, stimulating educational games, interactive websites, and exciting videos and readings that satisfy their curiosity will make learning feel less like a chore and more like summertime fun.

Artsy Websites

Art Games

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, in Buffalo, N.Y., has created a stimulating, art-focused website. Kids can design their own abstract paintings online, learn about pioneering artists, and discover painting techniques. Teachers can download activities and lesson plans.

Marvel Kids Comic Creator

Many kids would jump at the chance to create their own Marvel comic. With this comic creator, they can choose from a host of heroes and villains and design paneled comic strips or even 22-page books. While practicing artistic mastery, kids experiment with storytelling techniques such as crafting dialogue, writing humor, and creating suspense. What better way to learn while being entertained?

NGA Kids

The National Gallery of Art (United States) website for children is both informational and fun. Highlights include the Photo Op program, which is an interactive introduction to digital photography and image editing. Kids can use the virtual camera to snap pictures and then experiment with photo-editing tools to create photographic masterpieces. In addition, they can create virtual paintings, assemble collages, and delve into art history.

For Curious Kids


Kids are curious. They have questions. Each day, Wonderopolis explains a new "wonder" of daily life, such as how to create a harmony, why zebras have stripes, and where the buffalo do roam. The wonders span dozens of categories from candy to weather to pop culture. Kids can learn, discover, and imagine with this website from the National Center for Family Literacy.


Pass the Plate

What better way to encourage kids to snack on healthful food than teach them how to prepare it themselves? The Disney Channel's Pass the Plate resource offers nutritious recipes from all over the world.

Literacy and Language Arts

Word Mover

Young people stay busy; they're always on the go. With the Word Mover mobile app by the National Council of Teachers of English, children and teens can create "found poetry" by choosing from word banks and remixing famous works.

Nature and Science


The website is inspired by the middle-school-age biography series Women's Adventures in Science. Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences, iWASWondering outlines achievements by women in science and provides a timeline; brief biographic info; and interactive games such as the virtual telescope, AstroScope.

National Geographic Kids

It's impossible to list all of the exciting features that National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids provide, but to name just a few, there are high-quality photography and videos where kids can encounter animals and explore natural environments; links to encyclopedic references, resources, and homework help; and craft ideas, puzzles, and quizzes.
National Geographic Education is in beta form and provides hands-on activities, lesson plans, and other teaching and learning resources, including news and blog posts from real-life adventurers and explorers. Kids can read up on current events, get their hands dirty with fun experiments, and find answers to tough questions.

Science NetLinks

Check out the K–12 science education resources from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Kids can tap into interactive and vibrant games, listen to podcasts, and get help with hands-on activities. They can learn about the inner workings of the body, understand gravity, and read science news written for young readers.

All-Around Educational Websites

These websites offer lessons in reading, math, geography, and other academic subjects in a range of educational areas.

Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl, by Oxford University Press, offers resources, texts, and games to support literacy for children up to age 11 and math for children 3–7 years old. With more than 250 free e-books to choose from, kids of all reading levels can find something that interests them. Children can print, illustrate, and construct their own picture books; play games to test their reading comprehension and improve their memory; and even learn how to use math when cooking.

PBS Kids

A consistent leader in children's programming and learning tools, PBS Kids offers an array of fun ways to engage kids, including videos from shows such as Word Girl, Arthur, and The Electric Company. Kids can create their own comic strips, create and mix global beats, test drive a space flyer, or experiment in the Inventor's Workshop. Kids

Kids can find out what it's like to be a national park ranger with the WebRangers game, practice cryptology and code breaking with the CryptoKids game, explore the 50 states, discover careers in the health field, learn tips for saving money, or listen to the stories of Peace Corps volunteers. This collection of U.S. government-funded websites offers something for every child.

Great Websites for Kids

Still haven't found what you're looking for? Don't despair. Great Websites for Kids has dozens of recommendations that will interest young people. A compilation of exemplary websites geared toward children from birth to age 14, the directory is curated by members of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Playful learning, technology, and possibilitarian(ism)

This is awesome!

Greetings, all!

Some of you might be familiar with Bread and Puppet, a highly creative
puppet protest performance art(form). Their January performance was
entitled the "Circus of Possibilitarians", which inspired me to
consider the applicability of their term ("possibilitarian", or a
person who conjures possibilities) to teaching. I appreciate its
positive, generative connotation.

I'm an education technologist, and all too often great teachers
describe themselves as "digital immigrants". The implication is that
their agency in learning and using technologies is limited at best.

So, I've been exploring the term "possibilitarian" as it relates to
teaching with technologies; namely, that all sorts of wonderful
learning can happen when technologies are understood as tools to "play
with" or "explore through" rather than as devices that befuddle. By
way of an example, here's an investigation of birdsong: .
It's nascent but just as the moon-watching experience, it has all
emerged through the exploration of an idea and through a synthesis of
the idea with various technological tools.

I've sketched an essay on the topic, and would love to collaborate in
generating the idea & essay more fully. If this resonates with your
experience or thinking, or excites you, please get in touch! I'd love
to discuss it further...


--Dave, MBE '07