It all started with a call to Susmit way back @ Nagpur, that we had to a teach teachers using GNU/Linux and other FOSS tools (mostly those which are useful for everyday works and teaching aides). So I came down to Barasat with only a day of rest after Nagpur trip. The team consisted of Indranil Das Gupta, Susmit Shannigrahi, Debanjan Chakraborty, Sharbartha Sengupta, Rabi Kumar and of-course me 🙂 , well that was the group from ilug-cal. First of all, special thanks to IOTA and West Bengal State University’s niche initiative to train teachers into FOSS, as this can really propagate things into huge numbers.

It was a three-day program. Started with an initial introduction by Ashok Ranjan Thakur (Vice Chancellor, WBSUB). Numbers were quite good, ~45 each day, and mostly included school teachers and principals from North 24 Pargannas, West Bengal.

So, then things started in full swing. Wifi Network was setup in the 1st day morning. Credit goes to Susmit for bringing all those wifi router, cables and networking accessories all the way. Indra da then started with the overview of FOSS and GNU/Linux. After that Susmit took over with the Fedora installation part. Then was the time for teachers to install Fedora on the lab systems.

The second day was mostly taken care by the trio, Sharbartha, Debanjan and Rabi, giving demos and presentation on OpenOffice.org. Good job guys! We were also around there delving querries etc. But, most of  this day i was busy creating the 160-page document/handbook on FOSS, Fedora Desktop Environment and OpenOffice.org from online resources that would finally be printed and handed out to the participants after puja. Both Indra da and Susmit da helped me a lot with this.

In the last day, most of the session was taken by Indra da. This was mostly based on Internet, emails, google searching and discussions on educational content like wikipedia, project gutenberg, bengali books @ bengalionline.net and more of them. Then was the exhaustive Q/A session and finally the program was wrapped up with a final note from VC on benefits of FOSS and ICT. Couple of videos from FOSS enabled computer aided learning at Bijra High School were also shown.

The most important thing that came out was the perpective or the necessity that the school teachers have, the daily things that they need to to do and also their feedbacks. Like one of them came up with a question that, ‘How do i write fraction in OpenOffice? I need that to make maths question paper, and I couldn’t do that in M$ Office‘. I showed how easily it can be done in Writer. These gave an overview of the ground reality from a different perpective.

So that’s it!! Durga Puja starting from tomorrow. I really need to move back to Durgapur tomorrow 🙂


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