The education system in India is one that has been questioned several times regarding its techniques and methods; on how effective it is and how well it is being received by students. There are several approaches to learning and one very interesting way is through quizzes. QCollective is a group of individuals who are passionate about bettering education and the approach to learning. They have several initiative which contribute the cause. In conversation with Dr. Nithish T Jacob, Founder of QCollective, we learn more about their mission and the different ways in which they are influencing education for the better.
Give us a brief about Q Collective.
Q Collective is a team of educators, quizmasters and edtech researchers who with their distinctive flairs bring in innovation to the learning environment in conventional educational systems. We are passionately involved in harnessing the power of curiosity driven learning and re-purpose the edutainment tool of quizzing through its different facets: to inform, to educate, to entertain, soft skills training, to create social & general awareness, and to invoke the basic curiosity in us all.
We strive to bring about a change in how students learn and perceive things. We partner with Schools and other entities to make learning fun and equip teachers with a different perspective to teaching. We mainly use Quiz as the tool for this purpose and hosts Quizzes for all sectors, categories and themes. We also explore the possibilities of edtech and collaborate with different sectors to promote the cause. We are also independent consultants for various educational entities across verticals of Learning and Edutainment.
What inspired you to begin this startup what is the story behind it?
I had been active in Quizzing right from schooldays. Those were the days of conventional style of quizzing where emphasis was on factual stuff. Later during my college days and after, I was fortunate enough to get exposed to quality Quizzes by famous Quiz masters like Snehaj Srinivas sir and Major Chandrakant Nair, which opened up the possibility of exploring the tool of Quizzing further. This led to me being involved in hosting Quiz events and conducting workshops across schools. Understanding that there is potential to explore more, Q Collective was formed.
Your background is very interesting. How did you choose this path from being a medical doctor to an edupreneur?
I completed my medical studies from Govt Homoeopathic Medical College , Calicut. I had been involved in clinical medical practice till 2014 where being a psychological counsellor too, I happened to deal with children and got a perspective about their learning environment. During this period, I was involved in the role of Quiz Master as well for various projects including Prestigious Government programs. Mid 2014, I decided to combine my clinical experience and to research the tool of Quiz as a means of imparting learning in a school environment for a longer period of time. As part of this, I was involved in a School full-time for 2 years to get a better picture of the interplay between the teachers and the students and the outcomes of curiosity driven learning. This period marked my transition from being a medical doctor to an edupreneur. As I jokingly say to people who ask me about this transition, I point it out to them that the word Doctor has its origins from Latin ‘docēre’, meaning ‘to teach’ !
Tell us more about your method of teaching in comparison with the normal mode of teaching. Why do you believe quizzing is an effecting teaching tool?
There is a quote ‘ The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.’ We believe in this. But, for various reasons this is not being fully explored in our conventional learning environment.
According to various scientific studies done on the brain , the summary is : The curious brains are better at learning not only about the subject at hand but also other stuff — even incidental, boring information.
So this underlines the fact that once the student’s natural curiosity is invoked, they are more attuned to assimilate information as well as better retention of memories. Now this is where a tool like Quiz comes into the scheme of things. A Quiz question is intended to induce this very state of curiosity. Now when this Quiz question is not just a factual question requiring memorization of facts, but that which requires critical thinking skills , what seasoned Quizzers term ‘ working out’ an answer, various skills like lateral connection, logical ability, intelligent guess work , decision making, risk taking, visualization , comprehension etc comes into play. These are the very skills which are highly rated in any career or profession. So imagine the advantage students would be getting if getting exposed to learning through quizzing over a long term right from their school days.
We strongly believe Quizzing is one of the most powerful and effective tools of learning. Many parents, teachers and students can vouch for the fact.
Could you tell us more about the different verticals of the Q Collective?
Presently Q Collective has 6 verticals.
Q Series : An app which encourages curiosity driven learning and being implemented in various schools as part of pursuing govt guidelines in promoting ICT learning tools other than synchronous online video classes.
Camp Q-rious : Workshop session in schools, where Quiz is used as a tool for learning. As part of this we take independent sessions for Teachers , Principals and educators too under the banner ‘ The Art & Science of Learning’.
Q League : The Premier League of School & Campus Quizzing . Quiz is a sport. It is filled with suspense, can be dramatic, it demands focus, hard work, competitiveness and even team spirit! Yet, unfortunately, there weren’t any Quiz leagues to truly celebrate the sport of quizzing !
Q League was first started off with the school edition in 2018. The first season was conducted in 9 districts and over 1500 students and 150 schools participated in the event. The laudable success of the first season gave fuel to the introduction of Q League Season 2 in schools and Q League in colleges. Q league has made a huge impact in a very short span as gauged by the response of the students, parents and teachers. Prestigious schools have played host to Q league and have played an important role in fuelling it’s rise as the topmost Quiz competition.
Q Point : The whole process of setting up a library is revolved around one crucial and tiresome affair: curating of the books. This exclusive service from Q Collective focuses on curating and providing quality books with due consideration to the age and class levels of the students. The lists are curated according to the preference and budget of the schools.
Civil Service Orientation Classes : We are involved in co-ordinating add-on civil service classes for various colleges.
In the light of the pandemic, how do you plan to carry out your activities, especially the Q league?
As the saying goes “ Within crisis, there are seeds of opportunity”. The Pandemic struck at a time when we were in high gear regarding Q League and planning to expand to the Middle East with some events even scheduled. All those plans had to be put on hold. The Lockdown emphasized the importance of technology in our lives. So we focused more on QSeries in this period.
For an event like Q League , the charm lies in physical and live action which can never be replicated online. So we plan to keep it on hold till the situation normalizes.
How has technology helped you reach your target audience? Do you think it played a major role in the growth of Q Collective?
Our first foray into technology was sown by Anvar Sadath Sir , CEO , KITES, who is one of the persons I have been interacting for quite some time now. He complimented us in being a highly skilled team and the best in what we do , but pointed out the fact that physically reaching more schools and students would have its limitation. He advised to scale up using technology. That got me thinking and led me to brainstorm various strategies. It was at that time that I happened to meet Prashant Prabhu, Founder & CTO of Thinking Code ( TC ). Prashantji too felt deeply about learning and mentioned scaling using tech would be a perfect fit. We felt having an Innovative tech partner like Thinking Code would be a perfect collaboration. The long discussions fructified into QSeries , the app which is based on curiosity driven learning and presently being integrated in Schools.
Technology has definitely fuelled the growth of Q Collective. Q Series being the number one vertical for us right now, speaks for it. Technology is exciting and full of possibilities. We as a team have constant discussions with TC to harness efficiently the potentialities. In that aspect , Thinking Code has been a perfect partner for us.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
Q Collective has 4 other co-founders : Akhil Ghosh, Bichu C Abraham, Sooraj Vijayan and Feny Joy. We have core team members Jaseer KB, Abhishek Ajay , Karthika PB, Anand Prabhakar, Sandeep PS , Jameer KB heading and co-ordinating the verticals.
All of us are linked by the passion we share in the way we absorb and apply information and to explore the tool of Quiz in different settings with emphasis on Teaching and Learning design. It is more like a family rather than having a work relation. All the members of the team are highly skilled in what they do and have the experience to back it up.
What are your future goals for Q Collective? Where do you see it in 5 years?
Our Goal is to keep on innovating and to ensure that the advantages of curiosity based learning reaches maximum number of students.
In 5 years , we plan to ensure QSeries remains up- to -date with the prevalent advancements in technology and see majority of the Schools integrating it to their learning system . We see Q League expanding to more regions and countries. We see ourselves in collaboration with more like-minded entities to expand the possibilities of our verticals. And you never know, we might come up with another innovation as well !
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