From podcasts and blogs to documentaries and pictures, online learning modules are fast gaining popularity and Alisha's project is in keeping with that trend. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News archives

Dubai: What do political parties and predictive medicine have in common? They are all part of a new online platform created by a Dubai teen to teach children about diverse topics in a simple and visually-led format.

Seeing peers stay online longer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alisha Ishraque, 13, thought of making students’ screen time more constructive by creating various different types of content — from podcasts and blogs to documentaries and pictures — to learn about a variety of fields.

Alisha, a Year 8 student at GEMS Wellington International School, created ‘Eclectic by Alisha’ to also reach out to students who have not had the opportunity to receive “the same quality of education that I’ve been fortunate enough to get”, she says. Another aim is to support disadvantaged pupils by channelling any voluntary donations to the platform towards UAE-based global philanthropic organisation — Dubai Cares, which works to improve education access and quality for children in developing countries.

Alisha Ishraque

Tackling difficult topics

Alisha, from India, will be researching and creating the content herself, while staying on guard against any plagiarism and copyright issues when checking sources such as university papers or news articles. All the sources and links will be shared with the viewers so “it’s reliable and trustworthy”. Her passion — and dozens of online certifications — for computer science will make the task of making diagrams, infographics and other visuals easy, she said. Also, the point is to make “difficult” topics such as predictive medicine or the American political system engaging. Geared towards middle school students, the focus, however, will not be on subjects such as maths or science, in the strict academic sense.

Read more

‘Find your niche’

“I want this platform to be something for everyone. I want to branch out, so it’s not just about science or technology, but also art and entertainment; and everything kind of links together. I made it a place where you could watch documentaries, read reports or listen to discussions — and all of this will help you find your niche or style when it comes to education. So everything you want to know, you can find it on Eclectic,” Alisha said. Some content, like blogs, will be refreshed daily, while others, like podcasts and e-magazines, will be updated weekly and monthly. Users will be able to access everything on the website for free while feedback will be collected through the site’s online community. There is also a plan for an app version of her platform to be released later this year.

The website is up now and Alisha has already been working for months, creating content that is now “ready to go” until March.