ICT Conclave

After much anticipation and preparation, the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Conclave began on 19 October, 2016, with much grandeur. In association with Microsoft Corporation, Welham Boys’ School hosted 35 schools, all the way from Chennai to as close as across the street. We saw bright minds showcasing exhibits ranging from intuitive games to water management models.

Mr. Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman - Microsoft India, joined us as the Chief Guest for the Opening Ceremony along with Mr. Darshan Singh, Chairman, Welham Boys’ School, as the Guest of Honour. Present on the occasion were eminent personalities like Dr. Vinnie Jauhari, who is the Director for Educational Advocacy for Microsoft India,Dr. Prashant Gupta, IDC EDU Research, Microsoft, Mr Vinay Thakur,Project Director, NIC, the Principals of twelve schools who were gracious enough to take time to be with us, including Ms.Jyoti Gupta, recipient of the National Award to Teachers, 2012, by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and Mr. Arunabh Singh, the Director of Nehru Public School, New Delhi

Welham Boys’ School displayed working models of a Techno Farm, Home Automation System, Private Radio System, Robotic Arm, 3D Scanner and a Colour Sorting Robot. Bharat Sharma, winner of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2016, was present to demonstrate his winning entry, a tuna fishing game. Some projects, including the Techno Farm and 3D Scanner by Welham Boys’ School, the Water Distribution System by Pathways World School, the 3D Printer by Delhi Public School (Ghaziabad) and the Kodu Game by Sun City School and the Medicine Dispenser developed by an eleven year old girl of Hyderabad Public School, were awarded for their innovative concepts.

Throughout the course of the conclave, the topic ‘Will Technology Ever Replace Teachers?’ was widely discussed. Panel discussions, a workshop on Think in Ink and a Teachers’ Discussion were held to address the topic. It was observed that the teachers and the panelists widely accepted that technology can never replace a teacher but can only act as its extension to improve the learning experience of the students. Teachers also displayed why they firmly believed this, through demonstrations of how they used OneNote, a Microsoft product, to track the progress of the class, understand each student’s problems separately and to make their lessons available to the students at any given time.

A quiz, a Kodu and App Development workshop were also held for the participating schools. The quiz was largely based on Microsoft and comprised two rounds, the preliminary round and the final round. There were four teams, namely, Yammer, Bing, Sway and Skype which competed against each other. Team Sway won the final round. The students were trained on how to design a game using Kodu, a game developing platform by Microsoft, to make them familiar with the working of the platform. The App Development workshop was an extension of the Microsoft Program that has been going on in the school for the past eight months. The students from various schools were taught how to use various software and platforms such as Touch Develop to create visually appealing and innovative applications. An Experience Zone was also set up by Gaming Monk, an e-sport organizing enterprise and game retailer, so that the participants could have a little fun throughout the conclave. Eight XBox One and six Microsoft Surface Pro 4 were put up and students were allowed to play Forza Horizon 3 and use the laptops to gain experience and get a feel of the products.

A game developing Kodu Competition was held on the second day of the conclave. Suncity Public School emerged victorious and their game was selected by Microsoft to be displayed at next conclave. A Think Ink session (not to be confused with the Think in Ink session) was also organized by Microsoft to inform the participants about the new Think Ink feature of Windows 10 which enables the user to make smart notes and sketch in a much more realistic way. The participants were also given a brief on the recently updated MS Paint and how it now supports 3D sketching and modelling.

The conclave concluded with a didactic speech from Mr. Darshan Singh, the Chief Guest for the Closing Ceremony. The participants grasped a lot about technology and the heights one can achieve through it, during the conclave that lasted only for a day and a half. From learning about how a small application such as OneNote can bring about a whole new revolution in the learning process, to assimilating how HoloLens is going to make understanding things a lot more easy, from playing games on the Xbox One to using Kodu to bring forward our imagination to create games that teach us a lot more than what a race in Forza might, from using technology for entertainment purposes to understanding how we can use it in the smallest of our day to day activities, the ICT Conclave helped the participants to learn a lot more about technology than what we had thought of. This conclave not only helped teachers and students showcase their best talents but also collaborate with other schools to build a platform where they can exchange ideas and provide these ideas with technological artistry.

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