Monthly Archives: March 2011

myEshala – an eLearning package oriented towards SSC board students

Technology pervades all aspects of our lives, and now even educational institutions are actively adopting technology based systems. Pune’s Millenium School, Pune after scouring the market for an e-learning tool and unable to find a suitable one, decided to develop one on its own, and it is now available for all children at

Basically, myEshala has video lectures, which they try to make interesting for the children, and quizzes/testing after every small segment to get an idea of whether the child has understood the lecture. Parents get a detailed report of what the child has studied, whether s/he has understood it, and whether they need to repeat any segments.

Why build myEshala when so many eLearning software packages already exist? This is the reasoning:

We have observed that there are lots of e-learning software product which sell “concepts”. Children are expected to use these concepts as and when necessary. We, on the other hand, have developed a product specifically targeting the Maharashtra State Board (SSC) for now. We provide a chapter by chapter tutorial for every subject (Hindi and Marathi excluded for now). We also do the same for quizzes. This makes it very tedious for us to make the content, but, the children get a huge benefit of seeing a monolithic lesson rather than picking up broken pieces here and there. This is especially true for the SSC Board, which is the most under-rated and the most neglected board in the country, for no apparent reason (there is an in-depth explanation of the same on our sister site)

This innovative tool – myEshala has thus been created people who have the software skills as well as hands-on experience in education and teaching. Nikhil Karkare, coordinator at Millennium National School, (and a very active member of CSI Pune and Pune Open Coffee Club) says, “Many of the e-learning tools in the market now, seem to have been developed by persons who do not have much experience in the education sector. Concepts are not set down in a child friendly manner and lectures tend to be long and boring – they don’t seem to really know what will or will not work in a classroom environment. So as engineers who could teach, we decided to combine our software and teaching skills to build this tool on our own.”

Once they developed and started using myEshala, the school found that parents and children benefited greatly from it. Students could take tests, view lectures (more than once), and play with widgets on the tool. Student performance and progress could now be accurately monitored and teachers too had more time to develop creative methods of delivery. “After implementing myEshala we have seen a significant improvement in the performance of students with the overall percentage increasing from 65% to 75%.” Nikhil Karkare happily adds.

The news spread and students from other schools as well requested to try out the tool. “This drove us to think that other children could also benefit from myEshala and we decided to put it on the retail market. Now other schools have started implementing myeshala as well.” Says Nikhil. Another goal in mind is to take myEshala to the rural areas as well where educational infrastructure is poor and challenges exist in imparting even basic education. “We want to make sure basic education reaches non-urban areas at a very low price.” Says Nikhil.

The use of technology however, is not new at Millennium National School. In fact they have always put it to use in a number of ways. Software was used to map each student’s home address on Google Maps, and then bus routes were planned accordingly. “This means saving of fuel and time, which is not only good for us, but for the environment as well.” Says Nikhil. They also predict the quantity of food to be prepared depending on the number of students present and certain other factors, by means of software. But, there are challenges too. “The end users are children of ages from Kindergarten to Std. 10. So usability sometimes becomes a big challenge. Again spending on technology is always limited, which is why we use Open Source technologies in most places.” Says Nikhil.

You can see the myEshala FAQ for more details.

PHPCamp – the biggest PHP conference in India – in Pune on 5th March

PHPCamp is back.

PHPCamp is the biggest PHP conference in India and happens in Pune every year. Why should you go?

  • If you’re a student interested in web development, you should go to find out what’s going on with the most popular web development language in the world.
  • If you’re a motivated student who would like to do some interesting projects, and are looking for a mentor/guide/advisor from Industry, PHPCamp would be a good place to find some
  • If you’re a web developer and would like to interact with other passionate web developers and find out what interesting things they’re working on, then the hallway conversations at PHPCamp should attract you
  • If you’re a non-technical founder of a startup and are looking for technical co-founders, this is the place to be.
  • If you’re looking for a development partner, or a small company to which you’d like to outsource web development work, then PHPCamp is the place to find the most interesting ones

What is PHPCamp?

It is a barcamp for those interested in PHP. A barcamp is essentially a conference but without a pre-determined schedule or invited speakers. Anyone can attend. And on the morning of the conference, there is a whiteboard put up with all the open slots (for speaking), and anybody who has an interesting topic can write down their name and the topic and sign up as a speaker.

See the PHPCamp FAQ for more details.

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. It’s on Saturday, 5th March, from 9:30am to 5pm, at SICSR, at model colony. Please register here.

Economic Times wants to know the stories of Pune Entrepreneurs

The Economic Times, writes articles about entrepreneurship on its page Emerging India, and they want to increase their coverage of entrepreneurship from Pune and bring the city’s entrepreneurs to the forefront. Omkar Sapre, Senior Correspondent, of The Economic Times in Pune is keen to interact with entrepreneurs in Pune and know more about their businesses. The newspaper wants to focus on trend stories about various developments in entrepreneurship.

Omkar is interested in hearing form readers of PuneTech – please write to him at, with an introduction of yourself and what business or startup you are in. Even if you are not entrepreneurs, you are requested to write in to him, with an introduction, where you work, what work you do, and whether you’re involved in anything apart your work. Please write the work PuneTech as the first word in your email subjectline, for easy management.

Any publicity is good for an entrepreneur, and more generally, publicity for Pune’s entrepreneurs is good for Pune as a whole. Hence, this is a great opportunity for the tech community in Pune to raise its collective profile. Hence, I would suggest, get in touch with Omkar, and talk to him not only about what you are doing, but if you happen to know somebody else who is doing exciting/interesting work, then talk about that too.

For more information about Omkar see his linked in Profile. And click here to email him:

Create a Startups Forum (“Open Coffee Club”) in your locality

Santosh Dawara, one of the founders of (and the primary driver behind) Pune Open Coffee Club, the very successful forum for Pune Startups, is challenging the entrepreneurs of Pune to create smaller Open Coffee Clubs for each region of the City. The idea being that Pune’s startup ecosystem is big enough that it can support independent events for Aundh/Baner, or Koregaon Park (which is already active), or Kothrud.

The Pune Open Coffee Club (and PuneTech) will support and publicize your initiative, and hopefully this will be the start of something big. This is your chance to strengthen the startups ecosystem in your area, and in the process help yourself by helping others.

Here is Santosh’s message:

The Pune Startup eco-system has taken on a new life and has been growing in leaps and bounds. Startup events have been drawing record audiences of 100+ entrepreneurs and enthusiasts every time. I believe this is a story unique to amchi Pune and credit is really due to those supporting the eco-system by attending events, making useful contributions by speaking, organizing and making monetary donations. A special word goes out to the Startup Saturday folks who are putting together great events besides the POCC.

Here’s an opportunity for all of us to jumpstart an Open Coffee Club in our own way and share in this phenomenon.

For the month of March I would like to invite you to create an Open Coffee Club in your own locality.

Why do this? Originally, the Open Coffee Club was really a small group of entrepreneurs who met up regularly at a coffee shop to network, get to know each other and help each other out. The Pune Open Coffee Club is now just too big to ever meet at a single cafe, or for one person to run. However, the need for a local support group of entrepreneurs has not gone away.

To make it easy for you to get the group started, I am offering to collect all the local OCC’s and spread the word to all the entrepreneurs on informing them about the local groups, when and where they plan to meet so that they can select the most convenient or interesting group.

If you are interested in getting an OCC up and running, all you need to do is the following:

  • Select a date + time + coffee shop in your area
  • Add the event on
  • Ensure that you have enabled RSVP’s on the event to collect the contact information of all those interested in your OCC
  • E-mail me at [sdawara at gmail dot com] with the link to the new event
  • I’ll make sure the word gets out
  • Just show up at the appointed date and time and be yourself
  • Make sure your personal profile has a clear photograph so people can recognize you!

For example,

Grubshup Cafe Open Coffee Club,

Law College Road,

co-ordinator: “Your Name”

“Date / Time”

Sounds interesting? Look forward to getting in touch with you!

I would add the following tips:

  • Use the Pune Startups mailing list to find other founders in your vicinity, and publicize your event.
  • Use the PuneTech Calendar to ensure that your event does not clash with another important event
  • In my experience, establishing a regular venue is one of the most important things you can do. That allows you and other people to schedule an event with a minimum of fuss. The venue could be a coffee shop as Santosh suggests, or it could be a meeting room in some startup or company that is generous enough to allow their premises to be used. Or you can use an old school or a college.
  • Coffee/snacks/tea etc. are not a requirement for an event. Somehow, I’ve noticed that many people feel that organizing snacks, and creating posters, and other paraphernalia is necessary for holding an event. These things add significant overhead, not to mention expenses, and don’t really add that much value to events. I’ve found that for sustaining volunteer driven forums like open coffee clubs, doing away with all these overheads is the best thing, and reduces the effort it takes to organize the event.
  • Don’t give up too early. The first few events will have only a few people attending. Keep at it, and as long as you’re having meaningful conversations at the events, you will succeed eventually.

Updates: The following POCC branches have been created so far. They’re listed below with the date of the first meeting and the person who took the initiative to start the branch.

MARCH 19th:
Aundh Open Coffee Club
to RSVP and to see who is attending:
Pimpri-Chinchwad Open Coffee Club
18 are attending
to RSVP and to see who is attending:
MARCH 26th:
Kothrud Open Coffee Club
31 are attending
to RSVP and to see who is attending:
APRIL 2nd:
Tilak Road Open Coffee Club
to RSVP and to see who is attending:
Yet to meet:
Kalyani Nagar Open Coffee Club
To join the group and fix up a meeting:
Pashan-Sus Road Open Coffee Club
To join the group and fix up a meeting: