Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Keeping pace with technological literacies

Saturday, December 9th, 2017
Do you understand all that your handphone can do?
By EMILLIO DANIEL - December 6, 2017 @ 11:38am

THE Oxford English Dictionary defines literacy in its extended use as the ability to “read” a specified subject or medium.

Normally we think of a literate community as in a state of being able to read and write with language, and has the ability to communicate. The first writing systems dated back to 3200 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, and with 21st century advancements, what is considered the norm of literacy has changed.

Today, we need to consider technological literacy as part of the fundamentals of survival in this new world. The Colorado Department of Education defines technological literacy as the ability to appropriately select and responsibly use technology. Students, who have attained technological literacy, are able to problem-solve, communicate, locate, use and synthesise information found using technology, and develop skills necessary to function in the 21st century.

The Department of Statistics Malaysia stated that in 2015, the percentage of individuals in the country aged 15 years old and above who used the Internet was at 71 per cent after a 14.1 per cent increase compared to 2013. Following that trend, as of 2015, 97.5 per cent of individuals in the nation are reported to have access to mobile phones. The digital age we are now a part of means that most Malaysians have a computer in our pockets most of the time. But do we understand the technology we use daily?

Let us assume you’re trying to buy a laptop for a college student. Go to a computer store and look at the specifications for laptops. You see terms such as DDR3 RAM, SSD versus HDD and Gigahertz clocking speeds, and a plethora of brand names. If you do not understand these terms and how each affects the build of a computer then it is time to look them up.

I do not mean that we need detailed understanding of technology on par with a computer scientist. But we must have enough knowledge regarding the technology we use daily to make informed decisions when faced with its use.

In every college classroom, most students have a laptop to type in notes and the working environment they’ll be entering soon is very reliant on the use of technology. We are getting increasingly dependent on technology but we cannot go back to the literacy of reading and writing as our standard. There is much more to it than typing words with a keyboard and reading from a screen. Issues arise such as online security, getting overcharged by stores because one does not understand the goods on sale, not knowing the data still stored in phones when reselling them and the ability to spot spam.

One of the key points to keep in mind when discussing the issue of literacy regarding technology is to realise that it is not a singular-based issue. At a TedTalk in 2012, Dr Doug Belshaw, a researcher and analyst at JISC Advance, clarified that we should be thinking in the plural, as in “digital literacies”, because the issue is context-dependent. We cannot simplify it by creating a generalised framework for educating people on the use of technology; technology is far too nuanced for that. We must think of technology as having multiple facets and tackle it in such a way.

From the Colorado Department of Education definition of technological literacy, it is evident that it relies heavily on separate aspects of technological literacies. To solve a problem using technology, the first thing is to look it up online in a search engine. Where does one find the related error messages or the possible hardware and software functions that relate to the problem?

On the matter of communication, being literate in the Internet’s own highly context-based use of images can come into play. It may seem trite but memes have become an important part of the online diction; being able to read between the lines of this vernacular can be daunting to those unfamiliar with it, and can create misunderstanding between an older family member and a younger one on social media platforms.

Functioning in the 21st century with the use of technology (a matter I deem the most important aspect of technological literacies) requires a broad overarching understanding regarding technology. Technology plays a part as a medium in everything from voter information, identification numbers and shopping to informing your boss that you may not be able to come in to work.

To draw all this closer to the daily lives of a tertiary student, let’s take another look at the fact that most college students are reliant on a laptop in class. Almost every class has the basic requirement of an essay or research paper as part of its syllabus. Formatting digital-based papers using MLA or APA styles can be confusing to the uninitiated and formatting itself takes a hefty chunk within grading rubrics. Missing out on a good grade just because one does not know how to format a paper due to lack of technological literacy should not be a problem in this day and age.

While technological literacies are an issue that can be overcome with education, we need to emphasise the need for proper teachers. A paper published by the College of Information Technology at the University of Dubai in 2007 stated: “Instructors are feeling increasing pressure to use IT, but they commonly face several obstacles when attempting to use technological teaching techniques. Institutions of higher education must strategically develop IT integration plans that help overcome these obstacles, addressing the needs of diverse pedagogical agendas and multiple levels of comfort with technology. Barriers can make technology use frustrating for the technologically perceptive, let alone the many teachers who may be somewhat techno-phobic.”

Educational institutions must ensure their educators are adequately equipped mentally in addition to having the right equipment for creating a conducive environment for learning to use technology properly.

There are far too many aspects of technological literacies to cover here and every country including Malaysia must take measures to prepare future generations for the inevitable when technology will be so integral to society that everything may be handled in some way using digital technology.

If we do not put a foot in the door now, we may find ourselves completely segregated from humanity itself in terms of progress. It is not just the responsibility of educators but us, as learners, to make sure we are well-equipped in this matter.


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How evil is technology?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
Online is a place for human contact, but not intimacy. Online is a place for information, but not reflection. It gives you the first stereotypical thought about a person or a situation. FILE PIC

NOT long ago, tech was the coolest industry. Everybody wanted to work at Google, Facebook and Apple. But, over the past year, the mood has shifted.

Some now believe tech is like the tobacco industry — corporations that make billions of dollars peddling a destructive addiction. Some believe it is like the NFL — something millions of people love, but which everybody knows leaves a trail of human wreckage in its wake.

Surely the people in tech — who generally want to make the world a better place — don’t want to go down this road. It will be interesting to see if they can take the actions necessary to prevent their companies from becoming social pariahs.

There are three main critiques of big tech.

The first is that it is destroying the young. Social media promises an end to loneliness, but actually produces an increase in solitude and an intense awareness of social exclusion. Texting and other technologies give you more control over your social interactions, but also lead to thinner interactions and less real engagement with the world.

As Jean Twenge has demonstrated in her books and essay, since the spread of the smartphone, teens are much less likely to hang out with friends, they are less likely to date, they are less likely to work.

Eighth-graders who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56 per cent more likely to say they are unhappy than those who spend less time. Eighth-graders who are heavy users of social media increase their risk of depression by 27 per cent.

Teens who spend three or more hours a day on electronic devices are 35 per cent more likely to have a risk factor for suicide, like making a plan for how to do it. Girls, especially hard hit, have experienced a 50 per cent rise in depressive symptoms.

The second critique of the tech industry is that it is causing this addiction on purpose, to make money. Tech companies understand what causes dopamine surges in the brain and they lace their products with “hijacking techniques” that lure us in and create “compulsion loops”.

Snapchat has Snapstreak, which rewards friends who snap each other every day, thus encouraging addictive behaviour. News feeds are structured as “bottomless bowls” so that one page view leads down to another and another and so on forever. Most social media sites create irregularly timed rewards; you have to check your device compulsively because you never know when a burst of social affirmation from a Facebook “like” may come.

The third critique is that Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are near monopolies that use their market power to invade the private lives of their users and impose unfair conditions on content creators and smaller competitors. The political assault on this front is gaining steam. The left is attacking tech companies because they are mammoth corporations; the right is attacking them because they are culturally progressive.

Tech will have few defenders on the national scene.

Obviously, the smart play would be for the tech industry to get out in front and clean up its own pollution. There are activists like Tristan Harris of Time Well Spent, who is trying to move the tech world in the right direction. There are even some good engineering responses. I use an app called Moment to track and control my phone usage.

The big breakthrough will come when tech executives clearly acknowledge the central truth: Their technologies are extremely useful for the tasks and pleasures that require shallower forms of consciousness, but they often crowd out and destroy the deeper forms of consciousness people need to thrive.

Online is a place for human contact, but not intimacy. Online is a place for information, but not reflection. It gives you the first stereotypical thought about a person or a situation, but it’s hard to carve out time and space for the third, 15th and 43rd thought.

Online is a place for exploration, but discourages cohesion. It grabs control of your attention and scatters it across a vast range of diverting things. But, we are happiest when we have brought our lives to a point, when we have focused attention, and will, on one thing, wholeheartedly with all our might.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that we take a break from the distractions of the world not as a rest to give us more strength to dive back in, but as the climax of living. “The seventh day is a palace in time, which we build. It is made of soul, joy and reticence,” he said. By cutting off work and technology, we enter a different state of consciousness, a different dimension of time and a different atmosphere, a “mine where the spirit’s precious metal can be found”.

Imagine, if instead of claiming to offer us the best things in life, tech merely sees itself as providing efficiency devices. Its innovations can save us time on lower-level tasks, so we can get offline and then experience the best things in life.

By David Brooks.

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How much screen time should we allow children?

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR 20 Septenber 2013. Mendidik anak-anak dari kecil untuk kejayaan di masa depan.-

THE school holiday is here again! I’m sure you will agree with me that school holidays are the best times of a student’s life. It’s a welcome breather — a break from the monotony of having to wake up early in the morning and prepare for school.

School holidays offer the opportunity for more family time and for parents to improve their communication and relationship with their children. Most parents I know have plans with their children — for a family vacation or other recreational activities.

All these are expected to bring the family closer together and should have a positive impact on the children’s well being.

In this digital age, there are also parents who believe that technology and gadgets are essential for a child’s development. That these devices are a good companion and teacher. Thus, they feel it is all right to allow their children almost unlimited screen time, as long as everyone is happy.

Screen time refers to any activity done in front of a screen, be it a television, computer, smartphone or tablet. It is a sedentary activity that requires very little energy or movement.

But, how much screen time is okay? And how much is too much?

Used wisely and in moderation, screen time offers a lot of benefits to viewers, in particular, the youth. Studies have shown that playing video games can boost their motor skills and other elements like problem-solving skills and memory boost. Other research has documented, qualitatively, that video games promote social interaction and friendships. The children make friends with other gamers, both in person and online. They talk about their games with one another, teach one another strategies and often play together, either in the same room or online.

But, it becomes bad when children use it excessively or they are exposed to screen time too early.

A study in South Korea has reported a delay in language-learning among children aged 24 to 30 months with time spent in front of a TV. Another study in Thailand reported children from 6 to 18 months who are exposed to the TV showed emotional reactivity, aggression and externalisation behaviours.

Dr Daniel Fung, chairman of the medical board at the Institute of Mental Health in Singapore said: “Too much screen time takes young children away from real human interaction. This can lead to impaired social learning and damage their  emotional development.”

Canadian addiction expert and author of Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids Dr Nicholas Kardaras said there were over two hundred peer reviewed studies that correlate excessive screen time to everything from ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) and depression, to anxiety and psychotic-like symptoms.

As with other technology usage, screen time is a double-edged sword. It’s bad when used excessively. I’m a firm believer that technology is good for everyone, including children. It is only bad when their screen time is not properly managed and disrupts eating and sleeping patterns, causes obesity and eroding social skills.

Perhaps, this school holiday is a good time to get our children to put away those gadgets and enjoy the world outside. While our weather may be humid and hot, the evenings are still great for a visit to the park for a walk. Let’s find alternatives to screen time for our children, such as building Lego blocks, solving puzzles, colouring, assembling car toys and dressing up dolls. Or, having family board games and hide and seek. The most important thing is to spend quality time with the family.


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Learning to be safety-savvy online

Sunday, October 8th, 2017
Education Director-General Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yuso

Education Director-General Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yuso

With more youngsters accessing social media, the Government is introducing online security in schools to create good digital citizens.

INTERNET users are getting younger with every click, and the Education Ministry wants to make sure that children from as young as six, are protected from growing online threats.

The ministry, says its director-general Tan Sri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof, is introducing an Internet safety, online ethics, and time management module, for Years One and Two students.

The objective of the first module, Dr Khair explains, is to ensure that pupils:

> Practice Internet usage rules and ethics.

> Ask their parents, or teachers, for consent before using the Internet, computers, and other mobile devices.

> Follow age-restriction rules when opening social media accounts.

> Can differentiate, and evaluate, the sustainability of content, or materials, on websites and social media.

> Know about personal information safety, and understand the effects of disclosing personal information in cyberspace.

> Can identify healthy communication in cyberspace.

> Respect the privacy of others.

> Understand the need for, and abide by, the Internet usage timetable set by parents at home, and by teachers in school.

Other module topics are on cyberbullying, social media, and digital citizenship.

“The modules, to be accessible online by students, aim to strengthen digital resiliency, foster good digital citizenship among schoolchildren so that they know their roles and responsibilities, promote a safe and healthy digital lifestyle, and guide students in understanding the day-today digital risks like cyberbullying and cybercrime, when they go online,” he says, adding that the modules will be piloted in selected schools once ready.

The pilot study is to allow a review of the modules’ feasibility in terms of student understanding, content relevance, competency of teachers, and infrastructure readiness of the schools.

“The results of the pilot test will be useful in improving the modules,” explains Dr Khair.

CSM, he says, was entrusted under the 11th Malaysia Plan to investigate the level of cyber security awareness among primary and secondary students nationwide.

A six-month survey was conducted last year to obtain baseline information on the level of cyber security awareness among students, and to do a gap analysis of ICT education in schools. The results were used to prepare lesson modules to raise cyber security awareness among students.

“The modules will be of great benefit as they provide structured content with guided activities for students, teachers and parents.

“When the modules are implemented, students will not only gain new knowledge, skills, and information, but they’ll also be entertained. It’ll take education beyond classroom walls,” offers Dr Khair.

Teachers and parents, he says, can use, adapt and adopt, the modules to suit their needs. Parents can also monitor their child’s progress through formative and summative assessments derived from the modules.

Cyber security and cyber safety awareness, he says, is part of digital learning. “Learning nowadays is facilitated by technology, or by instructional practice, that makes effective use of technology. This is true across all areas, and subjects.

“There’s a wide spectrum of learning that uses technology. From blended and virtual learning, and game-based learning, to accessing digital content, collaborating locally and globally, participating in online communities, and creating and expressing new ideas and innovations, we turn to technology.

“So, our task is to ensure that students have the knowledge, and skills, to protect themselves, and to be responsible when online.”

While there are no plans to teach cyber wellness as a subject, Dr Khair stresses that cyber safety, and ethics, are already embedded within the ICT curriculum in primary and secondary schools.

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Need for teachers to keep up with new technologies.

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

EDUCATION is evolving at a very much faster pace. The current education landscape demands educators to be equipped with teaching methods, techniques and strategies to meet the needs of the 21st century learners.

Deputy Rector of the Institute of Teaching Education Malaysia, Dr Rusmini Ku Ahmad, said that learners today needed to be equipped with communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creative skills to be competitive global players in a highly challenging world.

She was speaking at the closing ceremony of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) 2017 at the English Language Teaching Centre (ELTC) in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

The three-week course which ended recently, saw both local and international participants in attendance. Dr Rusmini said for this year, the course focused on Online English Language Teaching (ELT) for trainers.

“I believe that through this programme, we can also create professional learning partnerships between the participating countries and ELTC.

“I am confident that such partnerships will yield numerous technology benefits beyond the tangible outcomes and output of this programme.

“We expect this programme to enable participants to implement the skills learnt into their own practice and to disseminate what they had learnt to other ELT practitioners in their respective countries,” she said.

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Technology, disruptions and the geek economy

Friday, September 29th, 2017
(File pix) Malaysia is experiencing an increasingly geek economy. Malaysians are among the highest users of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram applications. EPA-EFE Photo

THERE are old questions that resurface when we talk about technology and innovation: Will new technology and innovation change the employment structure and the way we work? Will the latest technology result in unemployment and create growing inequality, the world is now witnessing? How does innovation and technology square with Malaysia’s political economy? Are we technology laggards? How can the state cope with technology and innovation?

There are two effects of technology and innovation. The first is that new technology is disruptive; it replaces labour with capital. This means that new technology could see more people being unemployed or forced to seek new ways to gain employment. The second is that technology brings new capital into the economy. This will create new demand for goods and services and produce new jobs and business models.

There are some of us who are less sanguine about the impact of technology and innovation on society. The pessimist among us think that the collapse of the old economy will create widespread unemployment. The mismatch of skills generated by new technology would produce new social, political and economic challenges.

To be fair, these could be true. As it is, new technology and innovations are creating fewer jobs than jobs being displaced. Traditional jobs are now at risk because of technology. Technology has taken over some parts of the jobs carried out by lawyers, financial analysts, librarians and journalists. The commercialisation of 3D printing and advances in biotechnology could also mean that manual jobs would be threatened with obsolescence.

The optimists among us, however, think that we are better off embracing technology given our dexterity to adapt even when innovation changes the way we work, live and play. History has proven that humans have managed to negotiate difficult turns in fortune and adapt to the harshest of environment. We have avoided the Malthusian trap because new technology has forced us to come up with new things and learn new skills. The optimists believe that new technology will release new ways of living, create new employment and produce more prosperous, informative and knowledgeable society.

More recent phenomena give reason to be positive. Take the case of the agricultural sector in America. Agriculture used to take up 90 per cent of employment at the start of the 19th century. Now, the sector employs only two per cent of American workforce but without disruptions to its political economy.

More recently, the late Steve Jobs released the ubiquitous iPhone that would prove to be a game changer. The iPhone changes radically how the economy is structured. In releasing the iPhone, Apple, provided a collaborative platform when it invited outside application developers to create applications for the iPhone. That triggered a deluge of applications that are friendly to both iPhone and Android phone users. So amazing was the growth of the global application economy that by 2015, the global application economy generated US$100 billion (RM420 billion) in revenue. Such development has generated a whole new economy — the geek economy. The Uberatisation and Grabisation have changed or disrupted transportation, logistic and services industries. Alibaba and Instagram have become convenient platforms for shared or collaborative economy. Blockchain and bitcoins are now the talk given their scalability.

The huge development in technology has given new set of challenges to governments. The disruptiveness posed by technology are forcing states to find new ways of thinking to make sense of the changes and how best to facilitate, regulate and adapt to an increasingly geek economy. Is Malaysia ready for such so-called fourth industrial revolution?

Two reasons to be optimistic. First, thanks to a growing economy, Malaysia is creating a new generation of Malaysians that breathe the Internet. We are seeing a new generation that is highly adept and dependent on the Internet, so much so that Malaysia is experiencing an increasingly geek economy. Malaysians are among the highest users of WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram applications, where numerous transactions and employment are being generated. Grab has its roots in Malaysia.

The recently launched Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) could be an important collaborative or shared platform that should be harnessed to unearth new services and employment.

Second, Malaysia’s open trading economy naturally ties it with the latest development in the global economy, inevitably making Malaysians natural adopters of the latest in globalisation trends. The growth of the past years and the openness of the economy have unintentionally geared up the young to be Internet ready and savvy. When viewed from a bigger scheme of things, Malaysians are well poised to take advantage of new advances in technology.

But, there is more to gaining an edge. Countries that offer the best of Internet infrastructure and technology would be among the leading pack of innovative states. Smart applications, smart cities and the continued pursuance of various collaborative applications require that we constantly change  our mental model when it comes to technology, innovation and new forms of employment.

By Dr Abdillah Noh.

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Cyber threat: Are we ready?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
It is fallacious to dismiss the government’s effort in improving the effectiveness of cyber security in Malaysia.

IN 2016, CyberSecurity Malaysia (CSM) reportedly detected attempts of intrusions in several local servers some of which belong to Malaysia’s Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) — government agencies, financial institutions and universities.

It means that Malaysia could not hide from malicious acts in the cyber domain, and moreover, Malaysia has been listed as among the main countries susceptible to cyber threats, according to a study by International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

In response to growing trends of securing critical infrastructure, Malaysia has gradually shielded its CNII with more systematic protection in multiple ways, which are in tandem with the National Cyber Security Policy (NCSP).

First, as part of the government’s initiative to bolster cyber defence, the National Security Council (NSC), in collaboration with CSM, organised the annual coordinated simulation exercise, X-Maya, to assess the cyber security emergency readiness and preparedness of CNII agencies against cyber attacks.

This year’s exercise also witnessed the utilisation of the National Cyber Coordination and Command Centre (NC4), a national level state-of-the-art cyber security centre devoted to confronting cyber threats and crises. The exercise also highlighted the importance of communication between agencies to ensure effective measures are taken against the cyber threats.

Second, in keeping with the government’s consistent reinvention of its cybersecurity programme, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had, in June, announced that the government will endeavour to introduce a new legislation, the Cybersecurity Act 2017. The new legislation would empower the National Cybersecurity Agency (NCSA) to act as the “mother agency” coordinating all efforts against cyber threats faced by the country. Employing NCSA would complement the role of the NSC as the highest security agency in the country.

The new legislation could positively address legal measures on managing common forms of cyber attacks and not just be limited to content-related offences. This far-reaching legislation would address the illegality of malicious acts in cyberspace with proportionate penalties.

Arguably, the legislation is essential to deal with the multifaceted nature of the increasingly sophisticated cyber threats that are not just content-related. In addition, given the dynamics of cyber threats, it may increase the risk of conflict with national security priorities, such as censorship, surveillance and other probable measures over computer networks, which could supersede civil liberties of its perpetrators.

Incidentally, most governments in the world face the complexities of balancing the different aspects of state security risks.

Third, earlier this year, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein announced the establishment of the Armed Forces’ Cyber Defence Operation Centre (ATM CDOC), which will be under the purview of Defence Intelligence Staff Division (DISD). ATM CDOC is entrusted with monitoring, preventing, controlling and analysing cyber threats, with primary functions of securing the national defence system.

Currently, ATM CDOC operates incognito, and it was promoted by our defence minister as the most advanced cyber operation centre among Asean countries.

Fourth, the government has
elevated efforts in securing the cyber domain at international and regional levels by participating in various processes. This includes the inaugural Asean Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) in Singapore last year.

The AMCC highlights extensive compromise between Asean member states, as an agreement was reached on the value of developing a set of practical cybersecurity norms of behaviour in the Asean region to ensure a secure and resilient cyberspace.

Discussion at the regional level is important as it is also intended to improve regional understanding of cyberspace, from finding common lexicon to setting the norms. It is important because routine misperception of the word “cyber” is one of many reasons why most countries do not have a common framework to discuss cyberspace.

Furthermore, the outcome of those processes could lead to a comparative study of approaches of states in the region and ultimately, yield a better sense of shared priorities and divergences among the states. Cyber threats are a serious impediment to bolster and achieve a safer cyber environment.


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Industry 4.0: The future is here

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Malaysia cannot afford to lag in a world facing swift, exponential change driven by technological innovation.

AS early as the 6th century BC, Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted this certainty: the only constant thing in the world is change.

Since then, the world has undergone tremendous changes.

Today, it has segued into yet another monumental era – the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, the name given to the latest evolution in the digitisation and automation of manufacturing processes.

It incorporates advanced sensors, machine-to-machine communication links, 3-D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and cloud computing technology.

These cyber-physical platforms monitor factory processes and make decentralised, self-governing decisions, leading to “intelligent” or “smart” factories.

Industry 4.0 covers the entire value chain, including suppliers, procurement, design, logistics and even sales, resulting in higher productivity and flexibility.

There is less wastage or storage, better monitoring and maintenance of machinery, and improved security and safety.

The first industrial revolution started in the late 18th century with the shift from human or animal power to machines run by water or steam.

The second occurred between 1870 to 1914 with the introduction of electricity, and the rise of the steel and oil industries, triggering the era of mass production of goods and vehicles.

The third significant shift began in the 1960s with the entry of the first programmable logistic controllers and early versions of computers, boosting automation and control of production lines.

This spurred the extensive use of computer networks, and the eventual birth of the Internet changed the world in ways that no one could have imagined.

Industry 4.0 is a German strategic initiative mooted in 2011 under its High-Tech Strategy 2020 and adopted two years later.

It is aimed at revolutionising the manufacturing industry, by switching from centralised to decentralised networks under which connected equipment and devices communicate with each other to analyse and respond to information received.

In the United States, the term “Internet of Things” (IoT) is used for networks of computers, scanners and other devices collecting and dispensing information to end-users in homes and companies.

Application of the IoT in manufacturing is referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things, or just Industrial Internet.

In Britain, the preferred reference is Fourth Industrial Revolution, while in Russia, it is “Advanced Manufacturing”.

China has its “Made in China 2025”, which has a broader scope to bridge the gaps and uneven matches between the quality and efficiency of its rising number of manufacturers.

There is much confusion over these interconnected terms. What is clear, though, is the global acceptance of this significant technological advance.

Sadly, Malaysia has been rather slow to embrace it, compared with Vietnam or Thailand which already have Industry 4.0 policy frameworks.

The Malaysian Government is still in the process of formulating the National Industry 4.0 Blueprint, which is expected to be ready before the end of 2017.

The cost of adopting Industry 4.0 is the main reason for small and medium industries’ hesitance.

Many prefer to keep their foreign workers, rather than to invest in automation and IT.

As a result, Malaysia is regarded as stuck at the level of Industry 3.0 in terms of manufacturing technology.

In May, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan said 65% of jobs in Malaysia could be lost because of technological advancements.

“We are unable to catch our breath because the world is moving at a fast pace with the digital economy,” he was quoted as saying.

According to Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) chief executive Datuk C. M. Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, most of the 15 million Malaysian workers in the private sector need to be upskilled or trained to be multi-skilled to meet requirements under the increasing digitalisation of workplaces.

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Need for change to remain relevant and competitive

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
NSTP Kuching Branch Manager and Advertisement (East Malaysia) Senior Executive Venitia Samue (second left) and The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Advertising Department General Manager Jeannie Leong having a group discussion after the seminar. Pix by Goh Pei Pei

KUCHING: Digital transformation has become a must for businesses to move forward as well as to stay relevant and competitive in the modern world.

The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Advertising Department General Manager Jeannie Leong said the organisation had shifted the delivery platform, focussing on digital first, print later as newspaper remains the core business.

“We can’t totally get rid of the print as there are people who prefer to read newspapers. Hence we are offering readers our content on various platforms, including social media such as Facebook, Instagram as well as the online portals,” she said.

Speaking at the NSTP’s seminar on digital advertising here, Leong said there was a need to embrace the changing environment whereby technology had become part of daily lives.

“We are here to introduce you (participants) the beauty of digital advertising whereby we can customise a client’s campaign direction, targeted audience, display and content,” she said.

More than 90 participants from government agencies, corporate groups as well as Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participated in the seminar.

Meanwhile, Digital Sales Advertisement Senior Executive Mohd Muzainy Chik Mustafa shared several ideas on how digital advertisement works.

Based on information gathered by the group, more than 90 per cent of the viewers used mobile phones.

“Thus it’s important to design a website that’s mobile-friendly as most of the people own at least a smart phone that can go online in the modern era. It’s weird when you are not connected with internet these day,” he said.

For those who were interested to create a video for their products, Muzainy said a maximum of 30 seconds would be the most ideal length.

“People are consuming more and more digital content on a daily basis. Therefore digital advertising offers more options to the clients. It could be news on the portal, video, Facebook live or even just a picture in Instagram,” he said.

A participant Norhasyimah Ahmad Merrican, who is a SME for beauty and food industry, said she had benefited from the event.

“I’m aware of the trend whereby SMEs kick-start their business online and there are successful online entrepreneurs. But I don’t have much knowledge on how to do it (online business) and where to start,” she said.

” I came here to learn and it was a very useful seminar. I am planning to focus on e-commerce as I am confident that my products have the potential to go global.”

By Goh Pei Pei

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Use Of Technology Vital For Better Grasp Of Stem Subjects – Abang Jo

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

KUCHING, Aug 28 (Bernama) — The use of technology must be given a strong emphasis in the teaching and learning of STEM subjects in Sarawak schools in order for the state to be able to create a solid foundation in science and technology.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said computer and internet technologies had become the primary aid in the study of STEM subjects in schools which Sarawak education system should capitalise on.

“Students need to do well in science and mathematics as these subjects are the foundation to internet and computer technologies upon which Sarawak’s future hinged on,”he said when addressing the people in SMK Temenggong Oyong Lawai Jau at Long San in Upper Baram, Miri yesterday.

Abang Johari made a flying visit to Long San to launch a tuition programme that was initiated by the Temenggong Dato Lawai Jau (TDLJ) Education Trust Fund after launching the biennial Baram Regatta in Marudi earlier in the day.

He was happy to note that the 600-odd students at the school were provided with tablets to help them in their studies and that the students had shown signs of improvement in their grasp of science and mathematics.

Abang Johari also thanked the two volunteers who had close connection with the Silicon Valley in California, United States for helping out to bring the tuition programme to the students at the school.

He said all that would be needed was for the school to have a 24-hour supply of electricity and good internet connection for the students to have full access to internet services in the remote Kenyah settlement.

“I have instructed the Miri Resident to study how a mini-hydro power plant at the village be redeveloped and combined with solar energy to produce a 24-hour hybrid power supply,”he said.


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