Call him Mister Android. This teacher from a Sanskrit school in Rajasthan’s Alwar district has created 42 Android apps, and counting, in just three years. While these apps have been downloaded by 2.5 million users until now, the screen views alone have come up to 18 million.
What’s more, the good teacher says this is only the tip of the iceberg. “This data pertains only for my last seven-eight apps,” he clarifies. “I learnt about Google Analytics only recently.”
Meet Imran Khan, a 34-year-old mathematics teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school in Alwar who moonlights as a super-creator of educational apps. With no formal education in computers, leave alone app development, Khan has learnt everything he knows from books and that all-encompassing source of knowledge called the ‘Google gurudev’. In fact, his tryst with software development began only in 2005, when he designed a website – www.gktalks.com – to answer general knowledge-related questions.
“My younger brother, Idrees, left his books at home after he bagged a job at a Gurgaon software firm. He had completed his B Tech in Computer Science from the Institute of Engineering and Technology in Alwar. As I was free after school, I began looking up those books. I learnt html and designed a website,” he says. “Last month, when I ran Google Analytics, I found it had got 2.5 lakh page views.”
Imran said though he has created more than 100 websites until now, he manages only two –www.gktalks.com and www.gyanmajari.com.
Imran even participated in a national seminar on education organised by the ministry of human resources in September 2014, and undertook sessions on IT in education at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, with trainee IAS officers as his audience.
By Imran’s own admission, his app journey began at a time when he didn’t even know what the word stood for. “The then district collector of Alwar, Ashutosh AT Pednekar, saw my website and sent for me. He asked me to design the website for the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET). Pednekar was the one who suggested that I start developing apps. I had no clue what an app was – he had to show me some on his tablet,” Imran recalls.
In 2012, he developed his first app – the NCERT Learn Science – for the Class 9 students. Of all the apps he has made so far, General Science in Hindi is the top grosser, with around 500,000 downloads.
Imran, who did a two-year basic teacher training course after his senior secondary degree, became a third grade government teacher in 1999. He was posted in Kota for four years, before being transferred to the government school in Jaton Ka Bagh – just five kilometres from his native village, Khareda, in Malakhera.
Pednekar, for his part, believes he was lucky to chance upon a gem like Imran. “We were looking for private players to develop websites for us when somebody suggested his name. So we asked him to develop a couple of websites for us.”