Children were sitting around a teacher on the floor exchanging cards of different shapes and with colourful drawings. Some feet away, R. Parameswaran, a class IV student, seated along with his friend in front of a computer screen, was busy clicking the mouse going through an animated story.
Some more children were also playing on other computers. All these happened not at any hi-tech air-conditioned private school but at the Corporation Primary School at Thathaneri, thanks to information technology major IBM that donated 100 computers for the benefit of students of Corporation schools. Twenty schools have got five computers each.
“IBM is engaged in such activity in over 130 countries in the world. Our aim is that every child, especially the under-privileged, has access to computers that facilitate learning,” said its vice-president (Tamil Nadu and Kerala) Girish Vasudevan. He said that IBM had been working with only government schools in India.
IBM had spent Rs. 65 lakh on the computers and peripherals under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) scheme. It would also give training to Corporation school teachers on using the systems for learning. The Kidsmart Early Learning Programme would facilitate the children explore on their own subjects such as science and mathematics along with English, said Prince Nehemiah, Manager (CSR). “It will help the children in grasping concepts and improve their creativity,” he said.
“This programme is not about computers alone. It's a three-corner model wherein we have a reading corner, technology corner and a craft corner,” said Malliga Ganapathy, coordinator of Promise Foundation that handles the teaching part for IBM. The children would use various models and drawings for reading corner. The materials would be prepared by themselves at the craft corner. The same concepts would be learnt through audio-visual presentations on the computers.
“This concept makes the children enjoy learning. And the learning goes beyond classrooms and textbooks,” she said.
Deputy Mayor P.M. Mannan, Chairman (North Zone) Esakkimuthu, Chief Educational Officer Vaidhyanathan, KR. Gnanasambandan, chief operation officer, Aathma, that facilitated the project here were among those who were present.