Students from Govt. and tribal schools get to know about latest gadgets

Friday proved to be their window to the virtual world. Students from rural Government and tribal schools went online, for what was possibly their first time. They also got to see the latest in touch-based technology such as i-pad, tablet, and smart phones, and learnt to use the same for educational purposes.

All this happened at the third and final day, “Vikasa”, which was organised for students from Standards VIII to Standard XI at the second edition of the Amrita International Conference on Women in Computing, hosted by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

The children, from the remote corners of the city and from the borders of the forest area, got to operate the systems with the help of some student volunteers.

The organisers used the services of the staff of CREATE (Center for Research in Advanced Technologies for Education) of the university, based on their Amritapuri campus in Kerala to demonstrate the hardware and software to the students.

As many as 250 students from 18 Government schools located in rural areas, and tribal schools, went through the novel experience.

One of the resource persons from CREATE, K.S. Sudheer, who oriented the students, said the awareness among students was quite good.

“Though they have not seen and handled tablets and i-pads and gone online, they are aware of the gadgets and the internet. We have given them a feel of the gadgets, taught them to access the Internet for education content, and also taught them the basics of programming. Infrastructure in the Government schools is not suited for catering for ICT-based education for all students,” he said.

CREATE was focusing on education content for schools and also planned to extend their expertise to offering this content in a few Indian languages.

K. Gayathri, student from Government Tribal Residential High School in Muttathuvayal, along with her classmates, was among the many who were awed by the technologies shown to them. She had seen personal computers, but not the sophisticated gadgets she got to see and the functions they could perform.

They also got to witness some gaming programmes, developed by the students of the Department, and got some hands-on time on computers too.

R. Maria, a teacher of the Government Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Thondamuthur, said that though the students in the middle school had syllabus on computer science, it was all theory-based.

“Most of the Government schools have computer laboratories only for students in the higher secondary sections. The practical session that was handled here today was very useful for the middle school students,” she said.

Besides the sessions, working models under the theme “Scientific solutions for energy, water and environment protection” were displayed by students from urban schools. They also got to display their computing skills at a multimedia competition held for them.