Web Literacy at Nanaware Night School

For the first time, I was conducting a Web Literacy campaign at night school. So, it was totally a new experience for me right from the inception of the idea. From past 2-3 years, few V.J.T.I. students of B.Tech and M.Tech were actively participating in activities of various night schools including “Nanaware”. Their contribution was in terms of giving lectures, conducting competitions and helping schools organize annual functions. This year, they had planned two new activities in their schedule, first was the science day and other was the Web Literacy Drive. Being a volunteer this year, I was suggested to conduct one.

In the previous week, I had visited the school twice to familiarize with the students. I came to know about the ethics and discipline that a night school usually follows. The school comprised of children of very tender age without any adult student.

Challenges in front of me: As a Mozilla Rep, I was used to deliver talks to students, developers, entrepreneurs and professionals, but I was going to face children for the first time. Also, I was told not to have any preconceptions about their innate knowledge. Hence, I had to start right from “What is Computer” and reach till “How to use Internet effectively”. Secondly, it was a Marathi medium school. Hence, not only that I had to speak in Marathi, but also prepare slides in the same.

Fortunately, I managed to prepare well and with the help of other volunteers, the infrastructural requirements like projector were arranged very smoothly. I started with the talk mentioning that it will be an interactive session and hence, I will keep on asking questions. Students were extremely enthusiastic and I felt synergy propagating towards me. All of them actively participated in every kind of discussion. I really admire their ability to listen without a pinch of boredom.

I started with “What is Computer” and migrated through hardware and software devices including different types of computers. Then explained bit about the i/o and processing. After that, I briefed about how computers are useful in modern world. The next section was about Internet. I started from basics to general working. I focused more on how Internet is a boon to the society and how one should use it properly. Also, I made students aware of the negative side of Internet, how people become victim to frauds and how children get addicted. Lastly, I ended my session with few tips on “Do’s and Don’ts” while using Internet for social networking.

Next activity was to introduce “MS powerpoint” to kids. I explained few operations which students demonstrated on laptop under the supervision of volunteers. They were very excited as they got to handle the computer and at the same time got some productive learning.

I loved interacting with kids as it helped me discovering a child within me. I became one amongst those while conducting the activities. It gave me more confidence which would help me in my further presentations. Also, one thing I discovered that there are hardly any tutorials or presentations available regarding computer basics and web in our local languages. Hence, we must come forward and take initiative individually to develop those. I will upload the slides, not only on this topic, but develop on other tech topics as well. Overall, the event was an amazing experience for me. Thanks to “Friends of Nanaware” for the initiative and overall support. I would write the blog post on the main event soon.


An Era of Dangerous Living…

           It is almost impossible for us to locate a single day when newspapers don’t bear a news of any brutal activity taking place in the nation. Every now and then, a girl is either raped or molested or stabbed or harmed in some other way. If not this, then we have terrorists blasting off a part of the nation or beheading the faithful and sincere soldiers. If not even this, then there are numerous scams, scandals and other news of corruption for our further discontent. So has transformed the condition of India. Once a free spirited country, bound by water bodies in three directions, it has been subjected to mental siege, a paranoid mindset that has overtaken lives of millions of families. Post 2012, Indian mind is filled with dread and head is cocked for the sounds of bombs ripping the local trains or blasts overriding the peace and sanctity at Taj Hotel or the cries of helpless girls being tortured. A series of questions raid our minds. Why these dastardly activities go on multiplying day by day ? Who is responsible for all these ? According to me, three major factors are responsible.

          First, The Government of our country still believes in negotiations and non-violence. They don’t realize that at the heart of the matter is a core truth about non-violence and its ability to bring about change: it only works if the oppressive regime is also a moral one. This is something Mahatma Gandhi himself admitted; thus his success against the British empire or Martin Luther King Jr’s in his fight for desegregation. When that crucial quality is missing, non-violence is rendered toothless. In such circumstances, the options are either to continue a doomed struggle or to turn to means that might actually bring about positive change. It isn’t much of a choice.

          Second is the complete failure of law and order of our nation. Compare the measures taken by USA after the 9/11 attack and those taken by India after the 1993 blast. So great was George Bush cabal’s unsighted anger that it led to a catastrophic deviation of war into Iraq. There was no trace of another attack in a decade . Also Osama Laden was killed. The nation was successful because of their intelligent inputs and technological outputs. On the other hand, after 1993, 15 local attacks and 2 major attacks took place in India which were of much higher intensity than 1993. Terrorist surprise us because we are not able to surprise them and to surprise them, you need knowledge domain. And that cannot exist amongst a fragile law and order. We apply same measures every time. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results next time is how Einstein defined insanity. Due to this, people have lost faith in Government. Faith is the first step when we don’t even see the whole staircase and once lost, it is difficult to retrieve.

         Third is our attitude towards the problems. Busy schedule keeps us completely away from society and nation. We totally neglect the crisis as if someone had un-paused the button, and the picture had begun to move again with this big difference. We never realize that Life hadn’t merely been muted, or on hold, it had been obliterated while the Scorsese scene had overpowered the screen. Unless and until we don’t bring back the same unity as it was during the revolt of 1857, we can’t expect the enemies to retreat. Till then we have to live in an era where woman fears to step out of the home at night, a single isolated bag at public place grips us with fear, inflation and corruption knows no bounds and a criminal is more secure behind bars. Hence this era can be termed as an Era of Living Dangerously.