Guest Post: Meet Supriya Bhuwalka

Today we have a guest post written by Supriya Bhuwalka, educator and founder of Coding and More. Supriya’s work is closely aligned with our mission and it is an honor to have her featured here today.

Hello, I’m Supriya Bhuwalka – an educator and founder of ‘Coding and More’.

‘Coding and More’ is a personalized edtech company that teaches AI and coding to children in the K-12 grade band.

Why personalised? We believe that all children are different – with different learning abilities and interests. In order to have each child enjoy and engage in the class, we keep our class size small and customize the class according to the children.

We are on a mission to ignite and inspire children to love and use technology responsibly.

A byte about me:

I did my Bachelors in Math and Economics from Wellesley College. I am part of the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Honor Societies.

I love learning and want to inspire others to do the same. I run a Kumon centre for Math and English and want children to develop life skills and critical thinking and have the ability to see patterns in different aspects of life.

I am on the job task with Cert Nexus to help develop the AI certification for K-12.

I realize that coding today is an important life skill that helps children develop critical thinking, creativity and the ability to think laterally besides developing the skills of resilience and perseverance.

Why AI?

AI is intertwined in our lives. Every time we are on a connected device, we are sharing data.  It is imperative that everyone – not only children understand how AI learns and works. This will give every individual the ability to use AI responsibly.  I’m grateful to the academicians who are creating platforms and curriculum that are age appropriate for the K-12 grade band – the AI native generation.

I am constantly educating myself on the AI curriculum for K-12 through various courses – AI4K12, AI4All, AI for teachers,, Coursera, Elements of AI, MIT, IBM – Open Ptech, ML4Kids.

AI is a fascinating field that is relevant, cool and fun. While I am learning and teaching others my goal is to empower women for which we run a training program for women to learn and teach AI with us.

Some challenges:

Even though most people have heard of AI they don’t really understand the difference between AI and Coding; A lot of people self – select out of learning AI as they believe that it’s only for ‘Tech’ people. At ‘Coding and more’ we are trying to simplify the learning of AI.

My personal strengths and plan forward:

I believe everyone can make a difference and we must try to do our bit. Let’s build an environment conducive to joyful learning, focus on building equity, create awareness to use AI for good, reinforce ethics and bias of AI  – focus on concepts and remember to enjoy the process.  We have built assessments without hindering learning, we have built project based curriculum and are creating an environment for critical analysis and healthy debate.

In order to create awareness, we are making podcasts for children and non-technical people, making newsletters curated for children, hosting competitions with workshops and mentors from Industry.

We encourage children to continue their learning outside of the classroom by participating in various competitions. In the WAICY 2020 I’m proud to share that three of our students won the Bronze Award in the Junior and Middle school category – and all our winners were girls.

This year we hosted the GirlsinAI2021 hackathon and the India team won the International Technical Award. The highlight of this event was the global participation of people from academia and industry who graciously volunteered their time for this social initiative. We had 14 speakers including Hadi Partovi of, Charlotte Dungan from the NCSSM, Jos Dirkx from Singularity University, Dale Lane from ML4Kids amongst others. This global community is what gives an educationist like me encouragement and belief that we can create a change for our upcoming generation.

This year we are partnering with to host workshops and a competition across the USA and India and are also hosting the World AI competition for Youth 2021 (WAICY2021) as the official country representative.

 At ‘Coding and More’ our aim is to bring about change and help in increasing the participation of girls in STEAM.

Please see some of our children’s work:

Some projects by our kids show how they are using ML in an interdisciplinary context.

A ML project that helps consumers identify which brands the clothes and accessories are from like a Shazam for clothes.

Shania Byramjee, Grade 4, Cathedral & John Connon

A ML project that can identify areas that need reforestation and can identify the soil type to recommend and plant appropriate seeds.

By Ayesha Bhuwalka, grade 4 – Cathedral & John Connon, Niyatika Bagla Grade 5, Cathedral & John Connon and Agastya Lodha, Grade 5, Ascend International.

A ML model that can recognize and identify piano notes.

By Aditya Merchant Grade 7, Cathedral and John Connon