Kumon Students Aim to Educate Peers Through the Power of Social Media
When the COVID-19 Pandemic shut down much of the world in March of 2020, students across North America abruptly transitioned to carrying out both schoolwork and other hobbies at home.
While familiarizing themselves with this new and temporary way of life was no easy task, three extraordinary students from Edison, New Jersey decided to take on an additional challenge. The students, who are all enrolled at Kumon of Edison – North and are between the ages of 11 and 13, took the opportunity to spread a love for learning through self-produced podcasts and comprehensive videos distributed via social media.
Two of the three students, Aarav Patel and Pranav Shankar, collaborated to start a podcast titled “Life’s Biggest Questions for Kids” that is dedicated to teaching peers of their own age group about various topics. The idea was sparked by Aarav, who participated in an enrichment program virtually over the summer that taught him all about the art of podcasting, including the tools and processes to create and publish them. He was inspired to act, and with Pranav, did just that throughout their time at home quarantining. We had a chance to speak to these trailblazers more about their podcast and future goals.
Aarav Patel and Pranav Shankar
How do you choose what topics to discuss on Life’s Biggest Questions for Kids?
As the name of the podcast suggests, the goal is to talk about the events and curious questions kids can have in these difficult times. We discuss internally and decide what curious questions students of our age would have, then we debate on our very next episode’s topic; e.g. episode on “Should School Reopen?” and “Workaholics Parents.” We also observe topics being covered on both kid-friendly and regular news channels, and then we would see big news that we think would appeal to children around the world.
Who is your dream podcast guest and why?
For our very first podcast which was on Workaholic Parents, we wanted to invite Dr. Sanjay Gutpa as the guest, as he is one of the best neurologists in the country in our opinion. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, and hopefully we can get him on for some other episode in the future. Meanwhile, we are still trying to reach out to local influential people who can help us to spread knowledge on various topics.
What is the goal for your podcast?
Our goal for this podcast is to build a community and provide a forum to drive engagement and collaboration among kids under 14 years old. We want to give a voice to everyone.
What message do you hope to send through your podcast?
In these days of Innovation and Digital Transformation, things are much easier than they were in the past. Who knew that you can create, edit, and publish your podcast to everyone in the world with just two clicks?
So, we hope to show that one should not restrict themselves with limitations, but rather find creative ways to innovate and make a difference.
We also hope to send the message that “You can achieve anything.” Also, we would like to keep kids interested in the trending news happening all over the world.
What is your favorite skill or study habit that you’ve picked up at Kumon, and why?
Pranav: My favorite study habit that I’ve gained through Kumon is about setting the right time for doing my work and making sure that I do everything on time. This has made me more responsible, and has made me a better learner overall.
Aarav: Being part of Kumon for years has helped me to set a routine and core habits of being independent and responsible for my work. This also helped me to be an organized person who can apply this to other work I have to do for school, or even the podcast!
The third student in the group, Darsh Jaiswal, was similarly inspired to educate others after an experience mapping out a concept to his younger brother Daivya. The desire to spread his knack for teaching to others all around the world led the Jaiswal brothers to start their joint educational YouTube channel called “D Brothers.” Much of the content on their channel revolves around complex mathematical concepts, such as learning factorials, the meaning of absolute value, and dividing fractions.
What was the original reason for starting these videos?
I was explaining subjects and predicates to my younger brother, Daivya, on a whiteboard when my parents realized that the way I was explaining it to him was good enough to be on YouTube so that other kids could benefit as well.
What’s your favorite subject in school, and why?
Although my YouTube channel mainly consists of math videos, my favorite subject in school is Language Arts, because within writing you can create your own world through creativity and your imagination. With reading, you can experience a different world that others have created.
What do you want to be when you grow up, and why?
When I grow up, I want to be a scientist, as the profession has involvement in many hands-on projects and can be used to help others.
What is your goal for these videos?
My goal for these videos is that they become a resource that students can refer to when in need of assistance or guidance on any of our covered topics, and that they reach an uncapped amount of people.
Can you share some words of advice for students who may be struggling with Math?
Some words of advice that can be given to students is that they should always ask or find out the question of “why?” when they are learning new things. This will help them better understand the subject and how to make it through to the answer.
It’s clear that the desire to give back to their peers coupled with the power of social media has allowed these extraordinary students to educate others during this uncertain time. Click here to check out Aarav and Pranav’s podcast, where you can learn all about many topics that are on the minds of our youth today. Click here to visit the Jaiswal brothers’ YouTube Channel where you can learn the basics of factorials, absolute value, and much more!