Category Archives: Exun 2019

Teacher Interview – Shalini Harisukh

Why are people pursuing liberal arts preferred in tech companies?

What matters now is not the skills you have but how you think. It a matter of whether you ask the right questions or whether you’re fully aware about the problem you’re trying to solve.

A liberal arts education is intended to expand the capacity of the mind to think critically and analyze information effectively. It develops and strengthens the brain to think across all disciplines. 

People coming from a liberal arts program who possess excellent human skills that translate to a variety of jobs are appealing because they are already intricate thinkers.

The demand for tech companies is creating a ripe environment for people who are in non-traditional majors and introduce a new dynamic in the sphere of technology.

In 2010, Steve Jobs famously mused that for technology to be truly brilliant, it must be coupled with artistry. “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough,” he said. “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” Other tech CEOs across the globe agree that liberal arts training, with emphasis on creativity and critical thinking, is vital to the success of their business..

Vice Principal’s Address

The Exun Clan has, insofar, never hesitated to surpass the high expectations set for it every year. In my time at this school, I have seen Exun grow from a small group of individuals to the nationally recognized club it is now. Exun has always been an example of how curiosity and interest can take one to great heights. In the case of Exun, committed, curious individuals, have revolutionized the attitude of the administrative and student population of the school for nearly two decades now. The outreach of Exun is unquestionable, as every year, the number of participants goes up, and the geographical boundaries expand. Last year, 1700 students participated in Exun’s annual event. A milestone achievement for a high school organization. Technology has become such an intrinsic part of our lives that it has become essential to include some form of it in the system. Exun has not just widened our perception here at DPS, R.K. Puram. It has widened the spectrum of possibilities that we can explore. The most remarkable thing about Exun as an organization is perhaps that they continue to be passionate about what they do. Exun has come a long way and has a long way to go.

Teacher Interview – Anjana Virmani

How important would you say cybersecurity is for modern establishments?

The rise in the widespread use of technology has brought with it a surge in cybercrime. For hackers, the possibilities, along with the potential rewards, increased tremendously. At one end of the scale, you have “script kiddies,” hoping for a modest payday by unleashing some ransomware or nasty virus to a single computer. On the other hand, there are “state-sponsored” hackers, who’ve switched to cybercrime as a method of war, viewing it as both a cheaper and a faster way to earn money.

The fact that cybercrime now permeates every facet of society shows why cybersecurity is crucial. For example, Facebook, the social media giant had over 540 million user records exposed to Amazon’s cloud computing service. Yahoo suffered a breach which affected every single one of its 3 billion users. Besides the reputational damage, direct costs of the hack ran up to $350 million. 

Teacher Interview – Hema Jain

Do Smartphones add value to school students?

It’s been said rightly – “Technology is a double-edged sword”. If we use it to our advantage, it can be a boon.

I feel that the same applies to students using smartphones. 95% of the school students end up using them for social media presence and interaction.

Guiding them in the right direction, and assessing their maturity level to handle the device for their advantage is essential. The dependency on “online notes” from friends which they could have completed in class but didn’t, leads to irregularity and procrastination. I have invariably come across students who complain that they are behind their peers in terms of knowledge if they don’t have a smartphone. Children also complain that they are ostracized and feel out of place if they can’t contribute to the discussion about the latest web series. This ultimately leads to frustration and anger against the authority at home who isn’t allowing them to possess a smartphone. On the one hand, the constant use of smartphones by school students traps them in a virtual world and takes away their ability to interact with their peers. But on the other, it helps them stay abreast of the news and enables them to access any sort of information at their fingertips. 

On the whole, being in the teaching profession, my conclusion is that the exclusive use of smartphones should be allowed only after a certain age. Even though it adds value to school students, it ends up being a big distraction and leads to many psychological and physical ailments.

Teacher Interview – Sarika Kaushal

Does photography lend positive, creative perspective to the lives of students?

Photography is a skill which can instill a sense of originality in students all across the globe. 

How? Well, photography is the skill of identifying frames artistically as well as geometrically. It helps to position your mind in a place where it is continuously seeking the more artistic side of mundane things. Emotions conveyed through photography can influence masses of people which in turn has a positive impact on society. What you see and how is it being portrayed in a picture are two different things. If something is exquisite in real life, but if it is not depicted well enough in a photo, it doesn’t captivate the audience. Similarly, something which might not be that appealing in real life, if illustrated well, can turn into something surreal. 

Teacher Interview – Shekhar Sharma

Should AI be used to judge in courts of law?

In retrospect, AI judgement would be logical and unbiased. However, for the same reason, conversely, it might be unfavorable and uncomfortable to have computers or machines judging cases of moral or ethical concern. Besides this, to assume that an artificially intelligent judge would be completely unbiased is also wrong. In every algorithm, the inherent biases of the programmer tend to seep in. Not in terms of the biases being literally coded into the machine, but in the form of unfair stereotypes or negative associations that could cause the propagation of injustice. 

While law and order are usually assumed to be uniform over a specific landmass, the definition of justice tends to be variable. Hence, to provide accurate and realistic judgements on a case, specifically those involving ethical evaluations, it may also prove necessary to take into account regional diversity when making decisions.  

That being said, machine-learning could be used in the court of law if it manages to successfully asses the varying forms of justice by analyzing the current ethics in the form of a database and expanding upon that with coherent, logical proof.

Is automation in the surgical industry a good idea?

Automation in the surgical industry could prove useful in many ways. Firstly, the combination of a patient’s past medical records with the database of treatments for patients suffering from similar disorders will subsequently improve the treatment process. Vice-versa, data from ongoing treatments and developments will assist in the expansion of the database and help in research. However, this would have to go hand in hand with rigorous data protection methods to ensure that patient-doctor confidentiality is not breached. Automation in the surgical industry would likely increase precision and reduce the time taken to perform the surgery.

Principal’s Address

Exun: A larger number of Indians than ever before are moving to countries such as the United States in search of work and opportunities, especially workers in the technology industry. What can we do at the high-school level in order to keep Indian students excited about remaining in India and giving back to their own communities?

Principal Ma’am: Students aren’t aware of the immense opportunities India has to offer. It’s important to provide students with access to internships in the areas of their interest including the technological industry so that they can experience the potential of the Indian business landscape first hand.

Exun: With governments such as those of the United States, Australia, China, and the United Kingdom pushing for more and more surveillance of citizens under the guise of improving national security, where should we draw the line between national security and personal liberty?

Principal Ma’am: There are legitimate uses for surveillance technologies, but world governments today are getting carried away when it comes to spying. It’s said that any time you make a phone call or send a message to some countries, the concerned government knows what you’re doing—that’s an example of surveillance technologies taken too far. That is not to say that all surveillance technologies are harmful, though: for instance, security cameras in schools and in the homes of the elderly go a long way towards ensuring safety, so there’s certainly a balance to be made here. As with all technologies, it’s very important that the human touch is not lost.

Exun: A large proportion of India’s population lives in rural areas. How can we ensure that the benefits of education and technology get to these individuals, who arguably need them the most?

Principal Ma’am: A lot of countries have mandatory service requirements for citizens to fulfill after they graduate. In Israel, citizens volunteer for community service in a kibbutz; China has similar requirements in place. All of this creates a more aware and conscious population while simultaneously instilling values and propelling the development that India needs. If proper measures are taken to ensure that reforms such as these are implemented in society down to the grassroot levels, the benefits of educational and technological advancements can reach every citizen of the country.

Teacher Interview – Mohit Dey

What is the confluence AR gaming technology and AI?

Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are distinct technologies. When used together, they form unique and realistic experiences. AR technology holds the key to the mechanics of navigating a virtual world, and AI makes the experience more immersive as artificial neural networks advance the understanding of human perception.

In AR, a 3D representation is created by taking into account both the physical and the digital world. Accelerometers and gyroscopes typically facilitate the creation of such a representation. However, since deep neural networks on their own have become adept at creating and understanding 3D functioning (multiple planes and depth), the two technologies are combined to form startlingly realistic virtual worlds. On the one hand, Smaller and faster AI models will be the engine of successful AR technology, and on the other, the development of AR technology will consequently make more integrated artificial neural networks.

What is your opinion on games designed to teach children to code?

On the most basic level, coding is how we communicate with a computer. Learning to code is like learning how to speak and write in a particular language – a computer’s language. Interactive learning platforms designed for children provide an optimal starting point as the visual interface helps build a base and interest for putting together logical statements which yield specific results. Learning a new language is difficult because, without meaning, words are just random combinations of letters. Thus, it’s not enough to be able to pronounce something—you need to be able to understand what every word means to form a logical statement. 

A programming language is made up of its vocabulary and set of rules, and each of such language is based on its unique syntax (grammatical structure) and semantics (meaning).

While there are many such coding languages, apps like scratch are available that represent what a child should start with to be able to learn to code. Scratch programming is popular for kids because instead of using lines of code, children learn through colorful command blocks and cartoon sprites. They begin to test the limits of their creative thinking to solve a problem.

With scratch and other visual programming apps, it’s all about the simplicity that gets kids excited about coding. The immediate gratification of dragging and dropping commands and then seeing interactive stories, games, and animations unfold is insanely powerful.

Like scratch another such visual programming tool is Lua. It is an excellent language for kids and teens who want to pick up a language quickly. In Lua, coding students begin with Roblox’s built-in editor to create 3D worlds and slowly expand their functionality. From there, they can develop scripts for their own game, or even sell scripts to other designers for use in their games.

These types of apps are perfect for anyone who wants to take baby steps towards learning how to program.

Teacher Interview – Sangeeta Rana

How do you feel about apps such as Byjus which are decreasing the role of teachers?

The perception that technology in classrooms will reduce the role of teachers is, in my opinion, completely incorrect. The value of teachers has never been greater in human history as it is at present. Technology assists educators by establishing a proper channel through which education can be imparted to the students.

As educators, we strive for students to engage with our subject beyond a superficial level. We want them to be active learners who have a thirst for knowledge. Technology places the world in the hands of each student in the classroom.  It augments the teacher’s ability to get information across to the students. The introduction of new technology will however, replace some of the things that teachers do for. For example, assignments would be likely be graded by a software instead of a teacher in the near future. 

Teacher Interview – Ajith Kumar

Can someone with no prior experience indulge in robotics?

At the high school level, prior experience is certainly not a prerequisite. Robotics is learned primarily through hands-on sessions. 

That being said, the starting point is assumed to be a position of no prior knowledge. The mentor starts from scratch and explains the key concepts to the students, followed by the application of those concepts. This is keeping in essence of how robotics is utilized in the real world and makes robotics uniformly more accessible to anyone passionate.

Robotics leads to drastic improvements in the students’ problem-solving skills. Hence, I would recommend students to acquire this skill set.