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Advertorial: Introducing Technothlon- An International School Championship

First and foremost, calculate the amount of hard-work, dedication, planning, and resourcefulness that goes into conducting any examination.

Now expand the reach of the examination to an entire country, close to hundred thousand students attempting the prelims across 200 cities and 350 centres. Now imagine a bunch of college students conducting an examination of this magnitude.

This is Technothlon.

For the last 11 years, the students of IIT Guwahati have been doing that. From its humble beginnings in 2004, it has grown exponentially to become the largest school championship conducted entirely by college students.

Ever wonder how the cogs and gears turn inside the well-oiled machine named Team Technothlon? How does a team of 50 students manage this enormous feat? 

Well, get ready to have an inside look into Technothlon, to view it from behind the eyes of the people who work so hard to make it successful, from its shining exterior to its seamy underbelly. 

We are here to share it all in this exciting chronicle as we interview the chief organisers of Technothlon ‘15.

How do you feel knowing that you are organizing such a large-scale event?

Revanth: Technothlon is huge, and as heads we have the responsibility to live up to the expectations. But it does feel great to work for it throughout the year and then see it come alive.

Piyush: An amazing opportunity to bring your skills to display, and a responsibility to maintain the legacy.

Abhishek: I do not take that as a burden, but as an exciting opportunity to make it as huge as possible.

Aneesh: It’s a great experience, working with the team to make Technothlon possible for another year.

Ajay: It is a responsibility, and as one of the Heads, I try to make sure I make no mistakes, to set an example for the others.

What makes Technothlon unique?

Vasavi: We have many exams like Olympiads, entrance examinations and so on, which are definitely tough. But Technothlon is different. Here students learn how to attempt an exam, and we try something new every year to keep things fresh. This keeps them on their toes and in every new paper, it’s better.

Revanth: The organizers of the exam change every year, so we bring new ideas in each paper and that adds to the uniqueness of the paper. As a student-conducted examination, we also know what students want in the exam to keep them interested.

Abhishek: I won’t answer this as a team member. What brought me here was the concept behind this exam. Unlike other exams, where you need to study hard to ace it, Technothlon takes the preparation factor away and puts all students on a level-footing.

Ajay: The paper tests the other dimension in the students: Logic. Though some feel it is not important in classes 8-12, the demand rises greatly when students come to College. So we aim to prepare them for the future.

Aneesh: The events in Mains sets Technothlon apart. The selected students get to meet the other brilliant minds in the country, and compete in the events in the Campus. The hard work put up by the previous 11 editions also contributes to the name.

Piyush: When was the last time you discussed a question paper with your friends, “officially”? This exam tests not only your logical aptitude but the team co-ordination in you.

What qualities do you look for while selecting a team member?

Revanth: Technothlon is open-ended, so we keep implementing new ideas. I think the passion to come up with something new and untested is a quality we would appreciate.

Abhishek: For me, the eagerness to work hard and enthusiasm is enough to select a team member.

Aneesh: A team member must think of Technothlon as his own, and work to make it bigger and better.

Vasavi: We do not expect any member to have any prerequisites or inbuilt qualities. The only thing we want from them is that they understand the motive behind this examination, i.e., to inspire young minds.

How do you work out the size of the team?

Vasavi: We like to keep the team small, so that the many ideas don’t clash, but we don’t want the ideas to dry up quickly. So I feel a team of 50 students is enough, as long as the members are dedicated.

Abhishek: We need people who are enthusiastic about building Technothlon. So the number does not matter a lot if the passion to work is there.

Aneesh: We try to keep a minimal work load in the team, so we make sure the team is compact enough so that everyone can complete a job without losing interest.

Ajay: Quality is what matters. So we try to build a team of enthusiastic people instead of filling up the numbers.

What do you look for in the questions that are framed by the team members?

Vasavi: First things first, the question must not be copied. It must not be too lengthy or boring, and must be strong in logic. The presentation of the question also matters.

As an insider, what do you think is the best way to crack this examination?

Revanth: Technothlon is unique, so students must not go behind solving all the questions for marks. They must understand that it is not a high scoring examination- the top score is usually 50 to 60 percent of the maximum. So the best mindset would be to learn something new rather than aim to score marks.

Aneesh: There is no specific way to crack the exam. Because these questions are such that you cannot practise them, each question tests the creativity in students. The best method would be to keep the mind open, and try not to become habituated in answering questions. That would stop the out-of-the-box ideas from coming up.

What do you take away from the team experience?

Vasavi: Since we were kids, we’ve been giving examinations. The feeling of being on the other side keeps me going.

Revanth: Being a part of such a big organization and the chance to work as a team, we learn something new every day, and this is what I cherish the most. This opportunity has also improved my management skills.

Abhishek: We get to do something substantial apart from our regular curriculum, and work with this family away from home.

Ajay: This experience has helped me socialize. I have made new friends and learnt to work as a team to make something interesting.

Any unique moments in this journey of Technothlon?

Revanth: One incident that sticks is that we gave a presentation for National Girl Child Day. I took two hours for the whole shot of just 15 seconds. But the sense of accomplishment after that was memorable.

Vasavi: During the three days of the Mains event, we got to spend a lot of time in the hospitality of the parents/guardians of the students. A Hindi word would suit their behavior, their ‘nakare’. The things they demand were sometimes funny and in the end, we enjoyed it.

Abhishek: Technothlon has given me a lot of beautiful memories. I especially enjoyed the night after Technothlon '14 was over, when we had a party with friends and the seniors to celebrate our achievement.

Aneesh: During the Prize Distribution, when one of our heads entered the conference hall, we started shouting “Hitler, Hitler”. The participants joined in and made the moment memorable!

Piyush: Last Technothlon, I went to a school to tell the students about Technothlon. When I entered their auditorium, I saw the full stage decorated for me and I could clearly read a poster saying ‘An Inspirational Lecture by Mr. Piyush Rai’ :P :P

Your views on LED. (Learn Experience Discover)

Abhishek: LED is an exciting project, which started after we realized the way we learn and teach science has to change. We strive to help school students understand and apply science in their everyday lives. I am proud to be a part of the team which introduced it.

Revanth: We started LED last year, where we take simple science experiments to explain complex concepts. It is growing and hopefully would span the country very soon!

Vasavi: Students learn the concepts in the textbook, but are unable to use them in practice. So we decided to help them, and LED was born. We wish to give a new perspective to the students about Science.

Describe in One word what Technothlon means to you.

Revanth: Inspiration and motivation. (That’s three but you get my point. :))

Abhishek: Family.

Piyush: Journey.

Stay tuned for the next blog, where we bring to you even more updates on Technothlon - Behind The Curtains!

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