Of scooldudes.com, a virtual space where students can bond, indulge in fun activities and learn too

“Tots awk!” says one. “Crashy!” says another. Don’t blame your vocabulary if conversations among school students hardly make any sense to you. Keeping up with the lingo of middle-and high-schoolers can be quite a task, the same goes for their ideas too.

At an age when it’s all about peers, acceptance and being cool, here’s a website started by Ramachandran Kannan that allows students a virtual space of their own where they can connect with one another and enrich themselves through a host of activities and out-bound learning. Scooldudes is a website ‘by students, of students, for students’.

“Kids want to be cool and address each other as ‘dude’ so I named the portal 'scooldudes'. The logo of the site, polls and contests to be run, the merchandise to be sold…we let our young members plan everything because what’s cool to them may not be cool for us adults,” says Kannan.

After working on it for two-and-a-half years, Kannan launched the website in July this year. Schooldudes is targeted at students in the 12 to 18 age group. “I commissioned a survey among parents and there was growing concern about the time children spent online. Another survey among students suggested that surfing the net is a favourite after-school activity. That’s how the idea came about to offer a platform with interesting activities,” adds Kannan.

The website offers a whole lot of games and contests. Members can write short stories and poems, and draw inspiration from the page titled High Fliers where young achievers are featured.

“A lot of our members also wanted offline activities. That prompted us to organise hang gliding, trekking, star gazing, scuba diving, fishing and jungle safari. We tie up with experts in various fields to train students, who also talk to them about career opportunities. We even have a calendar titled Wassup that lists our upcoming events.”

On some of these outdoor trips parents are also invited. “Children in the 12-15 age group are all right about parents accompanying them, but the 16-18 year olds make it very clear they don’t want them coming along,” he laughs, adding, “The portal has a small section for parents too.”

The latest addition on the website is ‘Work and Learn’. “This is a trend overseas and can be helpful when securing admission in colleges. During our activities we invite them to work with us as ushers, guides… Hopefully, other companies will come forward too and open their doors to the work-and-learn concept,” he says.

Schooldudes gets members from across the country. At present it has 2000 members and most of them are from Chennai, Delhi and various cities of Maharashtra. “Students get their fair share of school work but this website is all about out-of-classroom fun that will help them in their journey of self-discovery,” says Kannan.

This article has been edited for a spelling and factual error.