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The Net as their playground

The savviest screenagers also seem to have begun to make money from their endeavors.

Among them is Raphael Kang who began MP3 2000, an extensive MP3 resource Web site in mid-1998 as a hobby. Audio solutions provider MusicMatch Inc signed an advertising deal with the enterprising Kang, only to discover later that he was all of 14 years old.

"The techie part of the Web is starting to become a level playing field for teenagers. However, being under 18 is restrictive and makes it hard for us to sign contracts," said the South Korean boy who juggles schoolwork and manages the site with friends from the U.S., Australia, Canada and Israel.

What is his advice to kids who want to start a business online? "Never make a site or start a business online thinking about money. I got my first small check after a year of three- to four-hour daily work." Sage words that even some adults should take note of.

School principal Tiong Ting Ming is an advocate for immersing children in the info culture early. Tiong has set up three networked classrooms in his school with 60 PCs, and given all 700 of his students personal email.

This year the radical principal yanked out Biology as a subject from the official school syllabus and replaced it with Information Technology. Better to teach children to dissect software and learn inner workings of networks and PCs than about plants and animals, he figured.

Next year, 120 of his students will be doing IT as an O-level subject and will be sitting for the inaugural exam.

"I embarked on getting the funding, hardware, applications, a new building, network equipment and support seven years ago," said the resourceful principal whose school, SMJK Dindings, is located in the rural backwaters of the northern state of Perak, near Lumut.

Fringed by coconut trees and palm oil estates, the school boasts its own Apache Web server and offers Web publishing and C and Linux programming to its students.

"Today, my students not only know how to use a computer but can appreciate what it can do for them in a networked environment linked to the world. I am preparing my students for the real working environment of the future," he said.

It's teen spirit!



Digital kids

The Net as playground

It's teen spirit!

Playing the future

Malaysian Schools Online

List of Malaysian schools online 

DJNET, a well-developed site by Damansara Jaya secondary school 

SMJK Dindings, a cyberschool in Lumut 


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