I taught another class at the NIBM (National Institute of Business Management – less serious than it sounds). These kids (?) are taking a 6 month class on er, whatsit, Certificate Course in Computer Applications. I’m teaching them Photoshop, which was mad frustrating at the bottom of the learning curve (last week) but more fun now. The computers are old, the Internet is slow, my check is late, but the students are brilliant.
This brings me to a little thread from LIRNEasia. I posted a link about e-Sri Lanka getting $53 million from the World Bank, which I’d say is a good thing, but one person commented:
Only 60% of Sri Lanka’s 20m people have electricity, only 18% can afford to use gas for cooking. What we really need is a system of cascading priorities. Clean water and proper road infrastructure spring to mind. Other than the business community and about 5m others, no one else will be able to use this E-services!
What I’m saying is, the kids in my class could use e-Services. I learn and produce as much as I do because I’m on the Net at least 5 hours a day. I haven’t done anything revolutionary, but I could. More to the point if we give 3 million Sri Lankan kids access to the Net one of them will blow up, – be the next Bill Gates or Pierre Omidyar.
Every year Sri Lanka has about 175,000 kids who don’t get to go to University. There’s only 13,000 spots, and only the keeners get in. So what are these 175,000 kids supposed to do? They can sit in their room and listen to the Cricket Match on the radio (for eight hours). Or they could mess around on the Net. Shawn Fanning was an 18 year old Northeastern dropout who messed around and wrote Napster. Nobody gave Shawn Fanning shit except a computer and Internet, and he changed the world.
I look at the students in my Photoshop Class and I’m amazed at all the talent we’re just sleeping on. This kid Nimantha is mad smart. I couldn’t teach him anything he didn’t know about Photoshop, and he picked up HTML and blogging software without fear. He can use e-Sri Lanka.
the picture up top is Shehari’s face shopped onto Rani Mukherjee (Bollywood). I showed them how to find images online (images.google.com), how to drag-and-drop them into Photoshop, and then how to extract the parts they wanted. Then I showed them how to work with layers to make their images multi-dimensional – putting Shehari’s face on top of Rani’s for example. In the last class I got a digital camera and had them take their own photos. Then we learned how to compress and optimize files for the Net. Finally I had them upload their optimized photos to an online gallery, which you can check out here. Nimantha also put up his own gallery here, which is notable most in that he uploaded multiple photos in one Zipped file, which is a useful trick.