Python workshop at MES Asmabi College, Kodungallur

2010-1-21

I was at MES Asmabi College, Kodungallur today to conduct a Python workshop for math students. Happy to say that due to the initiative of an enthusiastic lady computer teacher, this college which is situated at a supposedly "backward" coastal region of Thrissur district had one of the best lab set-ups I had ever seen during my recent workshop series; I did not have to use the Phoenix Live CD on any of the machines as all of them were full fledged Ubuntu systems with all the necessary packages installed! The students already had one or two classes on elementary Python - I started off not knowing this and had to fast-forward a bit!

Out of a total of about 40 students for the BSc maths course, there were only three or four boys; it seems as if boys preferred more "job oriented" courses like Commerce. It's equally likely that the boys just like to wander around aimlessly and are not interested in anything even remotely intellectual like Calicut University Physics or Maths! Broadband was available in the college and there were a lot of "orkut" users among the students! Some of the girl students were very smart - going by my experience teaching engineering students for more than ten years, I have a theory that you will find most of the people who *really* deserve to study engineering in "ordinary" degree colleges - majority of the guys who are doing "engineering" (at least in the private engineering colleges) get there on the strength of their parent's bank balance and not due to any kind of intrinsic merit.

The youngest GNU/Linux user in the audience was the 4 year old kid of the computer teacher who dropped in towards the end; he likes to play the games bundled with the Ubuntu DVD. He ran around banging on the keyboards, trying to switch off the machines and generally pulling and pushing whatever he could lay his hands on! This little kid, and the enthusiasm of the teachers and students made my day!

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