METRO PLUS

President turns teacher

Kalam Sir's class is fun

Kalam Sir's class is fun  

Over 2,000 school students participated in an event, the first of its kind in the country, where the President taught enthusiastic youngsters all about computers.

IT WAS an experience shared by Roshna, Rohini, and 45 other Class 12 students from Bangalore's National Public School. Then there was Maruti with 140 schoolmates from the rural Morarji Desai Residential School, and many others from across the length and breath of Karnataka who were equally excited.

The reason for this excitement was a joint computer class where the teacher was none other than A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President of India. The Kanteerava Indoor Stadium was converted into a gigantic interactive classroom, with 600 select students from all over the state and many more watching from the galleries, being guided by the President through a crash one hour session to introduce them to the Internet.

"What do you want me to talk about - Internet or Life?" asked Mr. Kalam as soon as he arrived after inaugurating Bangalore IT.com - City's Annual Computer Mela. And the juvenile crowd shouted back: "We want to know more about you."

"No, first the Internet, then Life," decided Mr. Kalam, flashing the opening slide of his powerpoint presentation: "Welcome, my dear friends, join me to explore the world of the Internet..."

In next to no time, the President was deep into the concepts firing off questions: "What is a browser? What is a portal? What are search engines...?" Not comfortable, lecturing from the podium, he plunged amidst the ranks of the children, and thanks to the wireless microphone, he continued teaching as he moved from one student to another, helping each to answer the interactive questions. "Let us learn how to search for information on the Internet. Go to google.com and enter Bangalore Schools. See if you can find information about your school... Got it?"

Soon the 600 students were exploring websites about Indian technology, biotechnology, space science, defence, and research.

The President patiently guided them to use web sites such as howstuffworks.com to find out about everyday devices and instruments.

By then the children, who had easily lost their inhibitions, were shooting questions at him: "How does interactive TV work, Kalam Sir?" or "What is nanotechnology?"

But our dear Kalam "sir" was unfazed by questions like that and went on answering the several queries. Finally, it was time to wind up the session.

Mr. Kalam flashed his final message on the huge screen: "Dream, dream, dream... Dreams turn into thoughts and thoughts translate into action." Then he was gone as swiftly as he had come.

The Students Internet World continued at the venue for another four days, albeit with other teachers.

But for the lucky few, who attended that first class, it was an experience they will cherish all their lives.

And those of us who were watching from the wings won't forget it either.

A. VISHNU

(vishnua@hot-mail.com)

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