It was a pleasant Tuesday morning when we met the teachers – all agog with curiosity – they were going to learn something new – GIS, remote sensing and GPS. India has an ethos of map making, but much can’t be said about their map reading skills. An average Indian would shy away from anything that looked ‘mappy’ relying chiefly on ‘mandir ke paas‘ (near the temple) directions from roadside bullies. Here then, was a technology that could not only save you time, it could map your route and build layer upon layer on information to give you details like how many hospitals/schools/hotels you crossed, what rivers and channels were before you – and just about anything else that your heart longs for. But to use it, one needs to understand the technology and that was exactly why we were at Mysore.
With a larger aim to help students orient towards this techno savvy world, LIGHTS (Learning in Geography, Humanities, Technology and Science ), a not for profit organisation and G’nY’s research wing sought out senior secondary teachers from reputed government and public schools to train them. A free of charge countrywide Data Users’ Workshop cum Training programme run by LIGHTS has till date covered six cities in two years, with a total of 360 beneficiaries trained in geographical information system (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) and remote sensing, and how to use data as teaching tool.
The training in Mysore was the last but one of LIGHTS’ nation wide journey – the culmination being in Imphal later this year. Teachers from Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat region attended the Mysore training from 28 to 30 August 2012 at the Central Institute of Indian Languages. LIGHTS coordinated with the Kendriya Vidyalayas, the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, Department of State Educational Research and Training, and well-known public schools and opened its doors to the most interested and vibrant teachers. Though the training was meant for 40 senior secondary teachers, the event saw an overwhelming count of total 60 participants, many of whom were principals of their schools. The hands-on training in the lab and the GPS training on the field left the teachers asking for more. A few local teachers sought permission to include meritorious children in the training and 40 local students were allowed to attend for a single day.
The Programme was covered by well known English and other vernacular newspapers – The Hindu, Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Star of Mysore and Mysore Samachar and the Kannada news papers such as Sanjivani, Vijayawani, Karanji, Andolan, Samyukta Karnataka, Kannada Prabha and Kranti Kannada Daily. The papers showered appreciation and covered several aspects of the training printing multiple news over several days.
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