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In Conversation With Kasthuri Gopalaratnam

Nirmala Garimella
07/31/2014


Kasthuri Gopalaratnam
is the founder and principal instructor at Matscience21. He has a Master’s Degree in Education from Harvard University, with a focus on leveraging technology to bring innovation to education. He brings years of experience as an innovator and educator and is passionate about mentoring young children and help them develop into world-class problem solvers.  The Institute is in the process of putting together a team of like-minded educators.

What spurred this idea of starting Matscience21?

We keep hearing from Business Leaders that our college students do not have the skills necessary for the modern workplace. We also hear from Colleges that our Schools are not preparing our students to succeed in college.

The performance of our middle school and high school students nationally and in international competitions like the PISA tests only reinforce the notion that our students are not getting the education that will help them become the cream of the future educated workforce and tackle the challenges that face us.

My experience in teaching students in K-12 grades in informal and after-school programs and my professional experience working in big and small corporations highlighted the gaps between their school education and the skills demanded by modern professions. This in turn gave me the idea to create a pragram that will help students develop deep conceptual knowledge in math and science, problem solving ability and 21st century skills.

I left my management position to pursue a Master’s degree in Education at Harvard University, in order to understand how technology can help bring about innovation in education.  Working with some of the leading educators and thinkers in the world helped me gain tremendous insights that led me to develop MatScience21.

What is unique about MatScience21?

Most, if not all, enrichment programs offer either online learning or in-person tutoring, and they all have their own curriculum. MatScience21 has pioneered a blended learning model (online and in-person) in after-school enrichment programs. Our learning environment combines the flexibility and individualized learning of online learning and the proven effectiveness of personal instruction and coaching by an expert teacher in a small group setting.  This enables us to provide a personalized learning experience for each student.

We follow a research-based curriculum that is aligned with Common Core curriculum and State Standards.  This helps our students to refine their understanding of what they are learning in school and excel in their academic performance. With our Project based learning model, students develop deep conceptual understanding and problem solving skills.

Where are the learning centers located? Which demographic do you serve?

MatScience21 is located in Westford, MA and provides math and science enrichment for students in grades 5 through 10. MatScience21 is easily accessible from the communities of Westford, Acton, Boxborough, Chelmsford, Littleton, Carlisle, Lowell, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Billerica.

Tell us about the typical learning experience of a student in MatScience21.

·      MatScience21 students have 24 X 7 access to a research based, standards aligned curriculum.  

·        Every week, students are given assignments that they complete online. These assignments consist of interactive lessons, quizzes, and open response questions that help them develop conceptual knowledge and practice their skills.

·        Their performance data is leveraged by the instructor to customize their in-person coaching.  

·         Students come to the Learning Center in Westford once a week and work with the instructor to clarify and strengthen their understanding.

·         In addition, students engage in project based learning, where they solve real-life problems that deepen their conceptual understanding and develop their collaboration, critical thinking skills, and creativity.

·     Students and parents are provided with intuitive and actionable performance reports online that help them to understand their strengths and areas for improvement

MatScience21 students also have access to various math, science and engineering educational kits and 3-D printing to develop their creativity and innovative skills.

Why should students join your center?

MatScience21 focuses on providing a personalized learning approach that enables students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, set appropriate learning goals and accomplish them.

As we all know, the modern workplace has dramatically changed. We need to work in a high tech and distributed environment, work collaboratively with diverse teams, and solve complex problems for which there may be more than one right answer. There is a significant gap between the knowledge and skills that students acquire in schools and what they need to thrive and succeed in the modern global workplace. Our students need to develop not only mastery of the subject matter but, more importantly, 21st century skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.

MatScience21 provides the kind of stimulating learning environment that the 21st century student needs.

Here is what Ms.Hema Sankaran, parent of one of our students has to say – “As parents, we feel MatScience21 is an innovative program that teaches much more than just new concepts in math and science. The holistic approach of shaping young minds to analyze and solve a problem, team work and presentation skills made us select this program for our son. Our son enjoys the projects that he does for Math and the cool gadgets that he builds in the science program. The results of the program were also visible in his school work and tests. Mr.K is a wonderful teacher and a mentor to our son.  From our experience this far, we would certainly recommend this program. “

What is the best way to get in touch?

We can be reached by phone or through the ‘Contact Us’ form on our website:

Phone (978-496-8321)

Website: www.MatScience21.com.



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