Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Expert: Many Net users are easy prey

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

PETALING JAYA: Many Internet users, especially beginners, tend to believe everything they read in e-mails and become easy prey to cyber criminals out to steal their personal and financial information.

“And most Malaysians are unaware of how to protect themselves online,” said criminologist and Malaysian Association of Certified Fraud Examiners president Datuk Akhbar Satar.

He said although they enjoyed the convenience of online banking and shopping, many failed to take the necessary precautions to protect their confidential information.

Akhbar said most scam e-mails and fraudulent banking websites were professionally designed and difficult to identify.

“It is best to avoid clicking on any links provided in the e-mails,” he advised, adding that users should contact the bank or retailer by phone to verify if the e-mail was genuine.

Akhbar also attributed the rise of online banking fraud in the country to the lack of enforcement by authorities.

He said criminals targeted Internet banking as it was the easiest way to steal cash and also the most difficult to detect.

Unlike in the “real world”, he said cyber criminals did not need to deal with competing groups or individuals.

“Complex criminal activity, such as robbing a bank requires organising several people and to a certain extent equipping and training them,” he said, adding that in the cyber world, the risks were much lower.

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Take interest in ICT, school heads told

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

IT is pertinent for school heads to completely embrace information and communication technology (ICT) in the current information era, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“The time has come to re-conceptualise the role of the principal in managing schools as learning organisations,” said Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister.

At school level, the school head or principal must be involved in ICT by encouraging continuous innovation and improvement, he said at the 5th roundtable meeting of Asean Educational Leaders and the 3rd Conference of South East Asian School Principals Forum in Brunei recently.

The events were held in conjunction with the 46th Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) Council Conference (SEAMEC) and 6th Asean Education Ministers Meeting (ASED).

Schools and their principals should not depend on archaic methods, but should move towards keeping up with technology and making decisions and improvements that are current and relevant, he said

For a start, he said school principals being the “implementers and translators of policies”, should be ready to face and resolve problems experienced at all levels .

At the same time, Muhyiddin stressed that they should not expect to implement change if no attempts were made to understand the context of change.

Sharing the Malaysian experience, he said the ministry had launched several initiatives to improve the education standard.

“We have developed clusters of excellent schools under the High Performing School Programme where school leaders are encouraged to share best practices in order to enhance student learning. This programme has brought about positive results,” he said.

He said 20 schools obtained high performing status last year and many more would meet the benchmark this year, including those from remote areas.

“We have also embarked on the School Improvement Programme to accelerate school transformation on a wider scale,” he said adding that since its implementation last year, 40% of schools had demonstrated marked improvements in student performance.


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Education Remix: Unlocking Creativity to Boost Learning

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

When considering the major advances in communication — from the printing press, to the telephone, to the television — each medium shared the characteristic of allowing either one-to-one communication or one-to-many communication. But social media changed all that. For the first time in history “many” can speak to “many,” and this has radically changed our world.

People are just starting to understand the fundamental transformation in communication that has occurred during the past five years, and some educators don’t believe in the power that social media can bring to learning. They think of social media as students sharing personal information on Facebook. But many students are well beyond that in using social media as a combination entertainment/learning device.

One example is through the new remix culture. Not only do ordinary people create videos that are viewed by millions on YouTube, but when they become popular others soon create remixed versions that interpret it in their own way. For instance, there are scores of remixed versions of “Charlie Bit My Finger” floating around YouTube. Each revises certain elements to apply the central themes to some other area, such as work, sports, etc., thus making it their own.

While fun to create, a remix also can be used as a learning activity. A group of medical students did a remix of Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” that they titled “Diagnosis Wenckebach.” Wenckebach is a cardiac arrhythmia, and the resulting video has been viewed by millions. It is now being used by medical students around the world to learn about the condition.

Creating the video was a learning activity. The students who developed it had to fully understand the condition and how it is treated in order to create a coherent and accurate narrative that fits the melody, as well as elements of the original theme.

Remixing is also a fundamentally creative process, as the creator must develop links between two different topics. The process forces the creator to see the topic from new perspectives. This gets to the very heart of creativity, and even genius. Many great scientific breakthroughs were a result of connecting seemingly dissimilar elements. For instance, Einstein came up with his General Theory of Relativity when he saw workers on a roof outside of his window and imagined what would happen if one fell off.

One simple way to use remixing in your classes is to provide extra credit to students who develop a short video that reinterprets some part of popular culture in a way related to the class subject. The original can be a song, commercial, movie, etc. Students can also remix elements of photographs or text.

Consider how remixing can foster engagement, creativity, and learning in your classes.

by John Orlando.

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The Trouble with Facebook’s ‘See Friendship’ Feature

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Facebook normally catches flack for making private information available to advertisers. But last month, the social-networking site with half a billion users quietly added a feature that makes your private information available to the friends of your friends, which may be a much more nefarious group. A button called “See Friendship” aggregates onto a single page all of the information that two friends share: photos both people have been tagged in, events they have attended or are planning to attend, comments they have exchanged, etc. To see this stuff, you need only be “friends” with one of the people. So let’s say I’ve turned down an ex-boyfriend’s request for friendship; he can still peruse my pictures or trace my whereabouts by viewing my interactions with our mutual pals.

The “See Friendship” feature was launched by Facebook developer Wayne Kao, who credited his inspiration to the joy of browsing through friends’ photos. “A similarly magical experience was possible if all of the photos and posts between two friends were brought together,” he wrote on the Facebook blog. “You may even see that moment when your favorite couple met at a party you all attended.”

(See pictures from inside Facebook headquarters.)

The problem with that, according to the more than 3,800 users who have joined a Facebook group demanding to be given the ability to opt out of the feature, is that the couple might not want friends of friends seeing that moment. They might not even want many people to know they’re a couple. Barry Wellman, a University of Toronto professor who studies social networks and real-life relationships, thinks Facebook developers don’t understand the fundamental difference between life online and offline. “We all live in segmented, diversified worlds. We might be juggling girlfriends, jobs or different groups of friends,” he says. “But [Facebook thinks] we’re in one integrated community.” (Comment on this story.)

In this era of “media convergence” — when GPS and wireless devices are colluding to make one’s offline location known in the virtual world — friendship pages allow you to see an event your nonfriend has RSVP’d to or a plan he or she made with your mutual pal. At best, “See Friendship” is an invasion of privacy (one disgruntled user likened the feature to having sex on a football field in broad daylight). At worst, “it brings cyberstalking to a new level,” says Kevin Wright, a professor of computer-mediated communication at the University of Oklahoma. “We’re just beginning to see the toll this is taking on people.”

(Watch a video of quick and easy Facebook tricks.)

And then there’s the already gnawing problem of Facebook, one this new feature will only exacerbate: seeing all the fun your friends are having without you. “You’re making a normally ambiguous situation very concrete,” says Wellman. “People don’t call you up and say, ‘Hey, we’re not calling you.’”

by Lisa Selin Davis.

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Get noticed with a projector

Sunday, October 24th, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: Whether in a classroom, training room or auditorium, a projector can help enhance presentations and captivate the audience.However, how do you select a projector that can take you a long way in terms of usage?

Look for a model with an advanced LED light source such as Samsung’s F Series projector, the F10M, said Yap Chee Chen, Samsung Malaysia’s product manager for large format display.
“LED provides bright, high-quality light which is important when you want presentations to be vivid to everyone in a room. The F10M performs at an 1,000 ANSI lumens offering brighter, clearer and more colourful projection.”

Also, he said, it does not require lamp replacement and is mercury-free, making it eco-friendly as well.

“The F10M has the lowest total cost of ownership with 50,000 hours of lamp life.
“The LED light source is capable of maintaining its brightness over the entire life of the projector. Powered eight hours a day, the projector has a lifespan of more than 10 years.”

Another advantage of the LED technology, Yap said, is that the projector needs less time to warm up and cool down, enabling a safer operating temperature for the duration of its life.

“The projector also takes less than three seconds to turn on and off which is crucial when you need to present information.”
Projector noise is another vital point to consider, said Yap.

“You certainly don’t want your presentation to be hindered by a noisy projector. This is another reason why the F10M is ideal.”

To ensure perfect projection, it features Auto Keystone Correction which automatically adjusts image distortion and stretching due to incorrect projector placement.

The F10M, optimised for business purposes supports various formats — PDF, TXT, HTML, MPEG, JPEG, Power Point, Word, Excel and movies — and has a variety of features. These include office viewer, remote management, convenient screen controlling and easy picture adjustments. It has eight user-setting display modes — dynamic, standard, presentation, text, movie, game, bright and user to provide clear and lively image quality.

Users can easily select the optimal display mode with the remote controller. Users can hook up all their multimedia gadgets with input options that include 1HDMI, S-video, USB, and PC ports.

by Chandra Devi Renganayar.

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ICT to be prime mover in teaching process

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday launched the Information, Technology and Communications in Education Policy which aims to make ICT the prime mover in the teaching and learning process.He said the policy would be carried out through a centralised management programme to co-ordinate all ICT in education initiatives.

In ensuring its effectiveness, Muhyiddin said the new policy would be supported by four components, which include Third Party Outsourcing, Public-Private Partnership, the involvement of Communities of Practice as well as Extended Communities.
The policy is already in place in many developed countries and their benchmarking tool would also focus on eight main areas of education.

“These practices, which will be used as benchmarks, will ensure that all components of ICT in Malaysia’s education system meet international standards.

“This policy, which is a continuation of the Smart School initia-tive, emphasises the use of technology as the tool to promote creati-vity, learning through cooperation, critical thinking and problem solving.
“It will merge and coordinate with all existing ICT initiatives, such as the SchoolNet, the Computer Laboratory, the EduWebTV, Access Centre and also other ICT initiatives which would be implemented in future with the aim of raising the performance of the students,” said Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, after launching the policy here, yesterday.

by Farrah Naz Karim.

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SchoolNet bridges digital divide

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Schools are being connected to the broadband infrastructure as part of the Government’s efforts to develop a world-class education system and produce a knowledge-based nation.

BACK in 2004, the then Energy, Water and Communications Ministry mooted the idea of setting up SchoolNet, a virtual private network that provides broadband Internet connection to schools in the country as the latest approach to provide learning facilities beyond the classroom. This initiative was part of efforts to realise the Govern­ment’s aspirations to develop a world-class education system and produce a knowledge-based nation. It was also meant to bridge the digital divide and information gap between schools in urban and rural areas.

GITN Sdn Bhd (GITN), a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia (TM) which offers infrastructure, hardware and software to government agencies, was mandated as the project manager to roll out SchoolNet via its Internet Virtual Private Network.

Since then, five SchoolNet schools in Cyberjaya, 20 in Putrajaya and one in Muar have been wired up via fibre optic (Fibre-to-the-School or FTTS) infrastructure, which provides a broadband connection of 10Mbps. The teaching and learning applications riding on the 10Mbps Internet connection include podcasting, video conferencing and SchoolZone Portal. In future, the infrastructure is expected to be expanded to accommodate 10 gigabyte speeds.

The SchoolNet infrastructure is delivered through three technologies – asymmetric digital subscriber line, wireless and very small aperture terminal technology.

As the broadband infrastructure provider for the project, TM also showcased teaching and learning applications such as podcasting and video conferencing with Sekolah Seri Puteri and the SchoolZone portal. It also demonstrated how to manage a local area network, which is a computer network covering a small area.

SchoolNet’s applications include e-mail and newsgroup, remote access application, file transfer application, information distribution application and information search application.

It provides quick access to online education information as well as interactive communications, enabling students to exchange data and information with other users in the network.

The teachers in all SchoolNet schools can use the infrastructure to provide a richer, more effective, more interactive and advanced experience for students.

The webportal for SchoolNet, known as SchoolZone, was introduced two years ago.

Students and teachers can look for information on other schools and SchoolNet, enhance the sharing of information and news about their schools and communicate with each other as well as optimise the role of specialised teachers in the country. The portal also enables teachers to share their teaching and learning modules with each other.

To ensure full utilisation of SchoolNet, a school adoption programme called GITN TechnoGogy Learning in Schools (GTL Schools) was initiated in collaboration with the Education Ministry two years ago. GTL schools have SchoolNet facilitators who educate students, teachers and communities on ICT applications and how they can use ICT to teach and learn.

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Many in the dark over content code

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
MANY Internet users are still oblivious to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code.

The Content Code provides detailed guidelines for different media from advertisement to Internet and was released to the public in 2004. It contains several general principles including making sure that the content will not be indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person as stipulated under Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The code also stressed on respecting diversity.

Another no-no is spreading materials that can offend good taste or decency; be offensive to public feeling; encourage crime, lead to disorder or is abusive or threatening in nature.

It also stated: “There should be no discriminatory material or comment based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status or physical or mental handicap”.

The code does acknowledge that every person has a right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms as stipulated in the Federal Constitution and other relevant statutes.

Still, no one is above the Malaysian laws as legal action can be taken against offenders, including those involved in sedition, pornography, defamation and breaching of intellectual properties.

For any complaint found to have breached the code, the Complaints Bureau may impose fines and other penalties, namely issue a written reprimand, impose a fine of not more than RM50,000 and/or require removal of the content or cessation of the offending act.

The bureau may also refer the offending party to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission for further action deemed necessary.

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SchoolNet enables the sharing of knowledge

Monday, September 27th, 2010
THE SchoolNet network infrastructure was implemented in 2004 to equip up to 10,000 schools with broadband Internet access through a virtual private network.The then Energy, Water and Communications Ministry mooted the idea.

GITN Sdn Bhd (GITN), a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia (TM) that offers infrastructure, hardware and software to government agencies, was mandated as the project manager to roll out SchoolNet via its Internet Virtual Private Network.
GITN provides the infrastructure through three technologies — asymmetric digital subscriber line, wireless and very small aperture terminal technology — and provides broadband connectivity.

SchoolNet’s applications include email and newsgroup, remote access application, file transfer application, information distribution application and information search application.

It provides quick access to online education information as well as interactive communication.
Students can exchange data and information with other users in the network.

The teachers in all SchoolNet schools can use the infrastructure to provide a richer, more effective, interactive and advanced experience to students.

The webportal for SchoolNet, known as SchoolZone, was introduced two years ago.
Students and teachers can search for information about other schools and SchoolNet, share information and news about their schools and communicate with one another.

Teachers can also share their interactive learning and teaching modules with each other.

The schools can use the portal to communicate with other communities in SchoolZone.

A SchoolZone facilitator will train information technology teachers to use the portal.

To ensure full utilisation of SchoolNet, two years ago, a school adoption programme called GITN TechnoGogy Learning in Schools (GTL Schools) was initiated in collaboration with the Education Ministry.

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E-readers are good news for bookworms

Monday, September 13th, 2010

PETALING JAYA: Good news for bookworms – you can now read up to 2,000 books or more at any one time.

This is made possible through the availability of many brands of electronic e-readers which are not only environmentially-friendly but space-saving too.

MPH Bookstores Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Donald Kee said e-readers could help resolve the problem of students having to lug heavy school bags.

“E-readers are popular in many advanced countries. It is common to see people reading them on public transport,” he told The Star.

In Malaysia, most buyers are urbanites aged between 25 and 35 years.

Malaysian Nature Society president Tan Sri Salleh Mohd Nor however said it is a misconception that e-readers protect forests because books are usually made from trees grown on plantations,

“We support e-readers as it’s good to use less paper.

“However, many older people might prefer reading from a traditional book,” he said.

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