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IT Day 2006 - Mathara Rahula College

Me & Samantha (another lecturer) was invited to deliver a speech at the 'IT Day' of the school. Samantha talked on 'New Trends in ICT' and my one was on 'Technology for a Better Tomorrow'. Samantha was talking about high-tec consumer electronic items, Sensor Networks, Grid Computing, Mobile Robots, new network technologies (WiMAX, CDMA, etc). I presented a case study on HorizonLanka foundation and explained how Mahavilachchiya become the most IT savvy village in the country while enhancing the villages' life through use of ICT. The important aspect about the event was the approach that we used while addressing students.

Previous speaker talked on e-Commerce but it was too theoretical & hardly none of the student could understand content, including me. It was a good presentation but suites a more mature audience. The concept of knowing your audience was no there, it was totally outside the expectations of the students. Due to lack of interest on such technical content & standards students started shouting & having their own pocket meetings. It is pretty bad to see that the presenter was not in a position to read the students interest & some how the presentation went along for 1 ½ hours.

Then came Samanth's turn. He had to put lot of effort to get students attention back. He had to drastically change his content & had to look for real life examples that matches with the students world. He did a really good job & was able to get the attention of the audience. Unfortunately he also had to do the session for 1 hour. Students were too frustrated & keeping students sit in one place for couple of hours was impractical & that actually made them not to listen at all.

Next, it was my turn. I had only 15 minutes & lunch should have been served few hours ago. I didn't know what to do but suddenly remember that I had a slide with over 50 logs form different vendors related to ICT. I just projected that. I'm pretty sure that everyone was thinking “what the hell is he going to do, now”. Although it was a negative 1st impression at least everyone was looking & trying to figure out the logos that they know. I guess this is my biggest success in getting the attention of the audience during my carrier as a lecture so far. Then I started talking about the topic & always tried to explained only the relevance of new technologies for a better tomorrow. At time I may have used some hash worlds & statements but I guess none of those are out of the normal vocabulary of a school child.

The things that I want to highlight is this. As lectures we always try to teach only the theoretical or technical stuff. But when you are talking to an audience who are just poking into the world of ICT it will always fail. Too much of big terms, acronyms, & complex systems will keep them away from it rather than acquiring & making use of them. We should always start with very simple things. But I have seen some lectures think that as lectures they are suppose to teach only the advanced stuff. The stuff will be of no use if no one understands it & it actually ruins your reputations rather than earns it. We need to understand that the users & specially the background of villages and children. As teachers we should be flexible enough to understand the difference of an undergraduate & a kid in a rural village. Unless we change our strategy & adapt to their expectations we will never be able to build ICT enabled country. Local knowledge, understanding, & experience is the key for local success.

Comments

Thanks Dilum for selecting Horizon Lanka and Mahavilachchiya for your topic. We also thank for the constant support you gave us on voluntary basis to take Mahavilachchiya to what it is today.
can you email me: mcbratz-girl@hotmail.co.uk, i have some question wanna ask you.thanks

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