Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

A tough call to make

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

While the use of mobile phones in schools was allowed and later withdrawn some years ago, current feedback from students, teachers and parents has been encouraging although some parties have reservations.

THE ONE thing that Form Five student Marissa Rahman (not her real name) remembers to do when she arrives at school every morning is to switch off her smart phone after her parents drop her off at the school gate.

Then she walks over to keep the phone in a locker, one of many that were built after the ban on mobile phones in Marissa’s school was relaxed two years ago.

Marissa and her schoolmates who bring mobile phones to school, strictly abide by school rules as otherwise their phones will be confiscated.

The students are only allowed to retrieve their phones from the lockers, which are secured by two padlocks and monitored by three CCTV cameras, when school ends each day.

Despite the strict regulations imposed, Marissa believes the rules are fair since the students are allowed to bring their mobile phones to school.

“Having my mobile phone around gives me a sense of security as I can contact my parents easily whenever I have to stay back in school.

“We only have one public phone in the school compound which breaks down all the time and is not calibrated to accept new coins,” says Marissa, who is studying at a government school in the Klang Valley.

The principal of the school says the decision was made after taking into consideration the concerns of parents who worry about the safety of their children.

“The location of the school is in a secluded area and it gives me peace of mind to know that students can use their mobile phones to call for help if anything should happen to them,” says the principal.

The recent announcement by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong to allow students to carry mobile phones and IT gadgets to school from next year has drawn mixed reaction from stakeholders such as teachers, parents, students and even the school administration.Students would be allowed to bring mobile phones and IT gadgets to school after rules and regulations under the Education Act 1996 were amended, he said.

The move, he said, was in line with the implementation of the virtual teaching and learning programme, dubbed 1Bestari which offered free WiFi services.

by Karen Chapman, Tan Ee Loo and Kang Soon Chen.

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No Mobile Phones To School Please! – PTA

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: — The Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) is against the Education ministry’s proposal to allow students to bring mobile phones to school, contending that it would have more negative than positive implications.

Its national chairman Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Ali Hassan said students should not be allowed to bring any electronic gadgets to school, including mobile phones or iPad because this would not only distract them from their studies but also create an unhealthy ’show-off’ culture among them.

He further pointed to the possibility of such gadgets being illicitly used to make recordings, besides adversely affecting the students’ health in the long run.

“Mobile phones should not be allowed during school hours. If it is after school hours, that is up to the parents or guardians,” he told Bernama here, when asked to comment on the ministry’s decision to allow students to carry mobile phones or iPads to schools, beginning next year.


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Students can take handphones, IT gadgets to school from 2013

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

PUTRAJAYA: Students will be allowed to bring mobile phones and IT gadgets to school from next year after the rules and regulations under the Education Act 1996 are amended, said Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

He said Monday that such changes needed to be made to encourage educators and students to embrace information technology in the 21st century.

He said the move was in line with the Education Ministry’s move to implement the virtual teaching and learning programme – “1Bestari” – nationwide.

Based on a survey conducted by the Education Ministry, initial findings had showed varied views from the stakeholders such as principals, teachers, parents and students.

“When the 1Bestari is in place, you will get free wifi. We want to provide the virtual learning environment so that students can use their gadgets to learn and do their revision.

“The world is totally different now. This is a trend. We can’t stop that,” he told reporters after chairing the student discipline committee meeting in Putrajaya.

Currently, students are not allowed to bring mobile phones to school.

Dr Wee also invited the public to voice their views and opinions via the Education Ministry’s official Twitter account @1KemPelajaran.

Dr Wee said the draft of the amendments would be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers within a week, and that a “stringent” guideline on the use of electronic gadgets in school would be set up by the Education Ministry.

“The teaching and learning process must not be disrupted. The guideline will outline how we allow and when we allow the students to use the gadgets,” he said.

He added another factor that came into the picture was the safety of students, because parents would like to use mobile phone to contact their children after school.

by Tan Ee Loo.

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Turn on the light

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Like flipping on a switch in a dark room, the right use of technology in education can do wonders to produce great minds and holistic individuals.

OBSERVING a trainee teacher teaching during her practicum one day, got me thinking again on how schools and teaching have hardly changed. From the time I was in school many decades ago, till this day and age where everything is going “e”, teaching has yet to embark on real change.

When my trainee teacher took out her laptop, connected it to the projector, and started her PowerPoint presentation, I was glad to see how she used a simple application and made it “powerful” from the very start of her class.

Her induction set incorporated music, attracted her students and got them all interested. She then went online to explain a concept for her lesson that day. “Wow!” I thought, “Now that’s something!”

The students were engaged in the lesson which was conducted in a more interesting manner than the usual chalk and talk method.

Active engagement

Effective technology integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows can deepen and enhance the learning process.

In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts.

Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.

Technology changes the way teachers teach, offering educators effective ways to reach different types of learners and assess student understanding through multiple means. It also enhances the relationship between teacher and student.

When technology is effectively integrated into subject areas, teachers grow into roles of adviser, content expert, and coach.

by Dr.Termit Kaur Ranjit Singh.

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Use Of Computers In Education

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Computers, over the years have changed the way the world works. They have proved to be an asset not only for the corporate sector, but also in other sectors such as medicine and education. They are machines which help us do our jobs much quickly and accurately, as compared to physical work. Many people are keen to know the advantages and disadvantages of computers in education. In the next paragraph, let us understand how the use of computers in education has opened up brighter prospects and faster learning for us.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Computers in Education

Computers are the best way of teaching subjects to students. These days, all schools and colleges have computer labs where they receive practical training from their teachers. Computers assist teachers in teaching their students easily and quickly. With the help of computers and the broadband Internet facility, students can search for the concepts or things which they wish to know, by referring to relevant websites. The Internet is an ocean of information and surfing daily will increase the knowledge of these students greatly. Another advantage of computers is that the students will be able to gain knowledge of various subjects and things which are other than their school syllabus. Such form of receiving education is considered to be more effective than only learning from textbooks prescribed by the authorities. Understanding the role of computers in education is a must for all of us.

Use of computers in the classroom can help teachers to teach much more than they can do without them. The students can be shown charts, diagrams and figures while teaching practical oriented subjects such as Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Biology or Botany. Teachers can give many assignments to students which they can complete with the help of computer packages. Introduction of computers in educational institutes can help students learn different computer software and hardware, under the guidance of their teachers. For example, students will come to know which are the important parts of the computer, what are their functions and how does a computer actually work. They can learn the new packages and software tools early in life so that they can grasp vital concepts in higher studies comfortably. Importance of computer education is highlighted with the fact that computer literate students have a greater chance of grabbing the best jobs in the industry than those who do not have the required computer knowledge. Students need to be aware of all computer uses for their own benefit.

Use of computers in education does not end here. Many times, it happens that students are not able to enroll for degree courses which they are interested in due to lack of money or because the institute is far away from their residence. The introduction of distance learning has solved all these problems. The distance learning programs or online degree programs, which involve learning with the help of computers provides education at much affordable costs than the costs incurred on full-time training. Also, students living far off, in remote areas, need not travel several kilometers and come to the city as they can now learn from the comforts of their home provided they own a desktop computer with an Internet connection.

However, there are certain disadvantages of use of computers in education which we must beware of. Firstly, doing all calculations with the help of software and calculator can affect our own mathematical ability. In simple words, computers can make us a bit lazy and this can cause problems while giving examinations which are not conducted online, but need us to do all calculations by ourselves. With ready-made information available on the Internet, students will not take any interest in reading reference books and searching for information using other sources. Reading less can hamper their progress and educational future.

by Charlie S.

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Setting the Internet ground rules

Friday, April 27th, 2012

It is time to create a protocol on how to guide our children on the use of devices that connect them to the cyber world.

IN the past 10 years, the access to cyber space has gotten easier and faster. Almost everyone who has a mobile phone can now “surf the Net” and be exposed to the wonderful borderless but seemingly rule-less world.

There is almost nothing you cannot do when you are on the Internet – you can read about anything, pretend to be anyone and do everything you fancy.

While there may be censorship laws in the real world, in the digital one there are plenty of ways to circumvent even the tightest of software security set up supposedly to control access.

Even a young child attuned to the wise ways of software and electronics can easily undo most of these “safety measures”.

One whole generation of children has grown up not knowing the world without Internet. Even their vocabulary is filled with words now commonly used by the digital age.

Apple now is no longer just a fruit and virus is something that attacks your electronic system and not just your body. And yes, the word net no longer means something you use to catch fish.

The acronym LOL is now widely used by everyone from seven-year-old Year One pupil to an 80-year-old grandmother. (For those who don’t know, it stands for Laugh Out Loud or Laughing Out Loud.)

It is a whole new culture when one is out in the cyber world. It is a whole new world and way of life. The Internet is a great equaliser and enabler.

Everyone is the same size physically there and it doesn’t matter if you are a king, president or a blogger because no one can tell.

However, this is where the easy access of the Internet gets dangerous because the cyber anonymity can easily be abused and many have already done so.

All sorts of crime are committed in the digital world that contravene both the rules and laws of the cyber and real world.

Recently, at a child security roundtable hosted by The Star in partnership with DiGi, it was revealed that in Malaysia the mobile phone penetration now stands at 130%, this means there are more phones in Malaysia than there are people.

Ten million of them are 3G (which means they can get into the Internet via their handphones) users and that 63% of all households in the country have access to broadband.

by Wong Sai Wan.

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Importance of Computer Education

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Computers have brought about a revolution across all industries. They have changed the face of society. They are no longer specialized tools to be used by specially trained people. They are ubiquitous and used in almost every sphere of life. Computers are the best means for storage and management of data, they can serve as huge knowledge bases and can be harnessed for all sorts of financial transactions owing to their processing power and storage capacities. As computers are a daily utility, they have gained immense importance in day-to-day life. Their increasing utility has made computer education the need of the day.

By computer education, we mean, gaining the know-how of the basic concepts related to a computer and gaining the basic knowledge of computer operation. Knowing about the basic components of a computer, the basic concepts behind the use of computers and the know-how of some of the elementary computer applications constitutes computer education. Learning about the computer basics followed by a practical experience of using a computer is the key to computer education. As computers are widely used today, acquiring computer education is the need of the day.

Computers are not only storage devices and processing units, but also are excellent communication media. They are the means to access the Internet and get connected to the world. They are also an effective audio-visual media. Computers can be used to access a vast knowledge base and search for information archives over the Internet. Only computer education can facilitate the use of computers for purposes of communication and entertainment.

Computer knowledge coupled with certain other job skills increases one’s chances of getting a job. Those with knowledge of computers are considered trainable for many kinds of jobs. As most of the jobs involve the use of computers, computer education is an eligibility criterion for almost all the modern-day jobs. Higher education involving network administration, hardware maintenance or software skills open doors for brighter job opportunities.

Computer education helps one manage one’s own business assets and personal finances. Computers serve as efficient means for management of information. Personal financial assets, medical records and important documents can be stored in an electronic format in a computer system. Today, banking transactions and payments of bills can be done over the Internet. Similarly, online shopping is becoming widely popular. To be in the race, it is very important to take computer education.

The word processing applications of a computer serve as an effective means of documentation. The database management software that are a part of computer systems serve as the means of managing large amounts of data. The networking capabilities of a computer facilitate connecting to the Internet to reach out to the world. Gaming applications and media players are some of the popular computer software, which are popularly used across the world.

by Manali Oak.

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Dangers of Technology Addiction

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The subject of technology addiction is relatively new as compared to drug or gambling addictions. This leads to a heated dispute over whether we need to consider the fervent need for technology and the monotony that the lack of technology causes, as an addiction. There are several qualifications that a craving needs to be termed as an addiction.

What Makes an Addiction?
The human state survival works on a simple reward system. Every time you attain a biological requirement like food, sex or lactation, the body releases a neurotransmitter called ‘dopamine’ (in this case, into the brain) that helps us decide the approach to something to be rewarded. This means the phase of wanting something and getting it, and the eventual liking of it is controlled by dopamine. It is this that fuels an addiction. Once you start using a piece of technology (like video games) and eventually start to like it, release of dopamine in the brain creates a reward system for it, which creates an addiction for it. The same example works for cigarettes – nicotine induces a dopamine release, creating the craving for more. An important point here is that people who seek more satisfaction from things, actually are seeking more in terms of dopamine release, and therefore require a larger release of the neurotransmitter, which in turn requires you to pursue that thing even more.

Apart from dopamine, there’s also ’serotonin’, the neurotransmitter that’s involved with mood control and sensory perception. Serotonin imbalance is a major cause of depression, suicidal tendencies and aggression. Norepinephrine is another mood control neurotransmitter that also can work as a hormone. It is directly related to stress.

Traditionally, all this was considered to apply to sectors that involve more physical activity (like sex) or actual substance consumption (food and drugs), which later translated to gambling too. We are now at the verge of seriously considering the very gadgets that help in making life easier as the gadgets that mark the very difference between success and failure. There have been many arguments over this issue – one side stating that technology addiction satisfies the scientific qualifications (dopamine release), while others say that overusing technology is only a phase that is a let go of the moment we set on something more challenging. But there lies the downside of calling something an addiction. When you’re ‘addicted’ to something, you forget all other needs and wants, concentrating solely on satisfying your now first priority, craving.

Students of the International Center for Media & the Public Affairs (ICMPA), along with the Salzburg Academy on Media & Global Change, conducted an online study, asking over a thousand students in ten countries across five continents to refrain from using any form of media for 24 hours. A majority of students considered this an impossibility in this modern age. Most kids today have grown with console and a cell phone in their hands, making them take technology for granted and completely shirk the idea of living without it. Most students failed to complete 24 hours, some described signs of withdrawal and early stages of depression, shocked by their total dependence on cell phones, computers and the TV. Only a small minority actually pulled it off successfully. It may thus be said that even if technology addiction cannot be called a medical condition, the cravings and the anxiety related to an addiction still exists.

Types of Technology Addiction and its Symptoms

An addiction to a piece of technology can be different, depending on the technology. But most of the symptoms remain the same.

Internet Addiction is the largest among them all. This includes online gambling, multiplayer gaming, social networking and cyber-sex (porn sites and adult chat rooms). You can tell if you can’t live off the grid if:

  • You lie about the time you spend online. Spending 4 hours online and telling your friends that it was only for 4 minutes means you know what you’re doing is wrong in some way. This is the major cause of depression due to excessive times spent online.
  • You feel that the Internet provides what real life can fail to. In a way it’s true, the fictional characters of ‘World of Warcraft’ are much more alluring than your school professors, because they are designed to attract. This can start off as something you use to take your mind out of a muddle. You slowly start drifting further away from all contacts to reality without you even realizing it.
  • The time you need to spend online keeps increasing. This means what satisfaction you used to get from 1 hour of online free poker now needs 4 hours. You start to develop a tolerance to the virtual treats and start to think you can spend an eternity online. The effect is strikingly similar to smoking cigarettes, the process that converts a cigarette a day to one every half hour.
  • Performances degrade in real life (whatever is left of it anyway). This applies to education and work alike. The effect is more pronounced in kids and students than an adult employee. The ratio leans towards the former because of the amount of responsibilities on both sides. This is one reason why technology addiction (or gaming addiction, rather) can be thought to be ‘cured’ as a person grows older.
  • It leads to intense withdrawal symptoms resulting in a feeling of a loss-of-self, depression and aggression. There have been reports of subjects who said they felt suicidal simply because their computer would crash at times. You may also keep getting frustrated because of lack of good bandwidth.

Internet addiction is now starting to gain acceptance as a disorder (maybe even calling it a compulsion than an addiction), with reSTART, an Internet addicts clinic outside Seattle, USA (2009).

Video Games has always been a cause of concern for most parents whose kids may spend hours in front of the TV, holding the console in their hands and concentrating on nothing else but infiltrating the enemy headquarters. You’re a video game addict if:

  • You are too preoccupied with the game to notice anything else around you. The difference between Internet addiction and video game addiction is that video games give you almost no contact with time in real life. You can spend five or six hours at a stretch on the console, thinking only an hour has gone by.
  • You show a general lack of control whenever you see your PlayStation lying there, unable to handle it and eventually starting to play. The addiction has a large negative impact on your life as you remain completely unaware of anything that goes outside. You won’t even be connected by the daily news or even your family.
  • A similarity between Internet and video gaming addictions is that both are designed to attract you in any circumstance and once you’re hooked, give you a constant sense of being undermined, eventually making you run around the place trying to find the hidden sword that helps you kill the final boss, or spending hours on making social profiles and making yourself look better in your online avatar. It is designed to make you euphoric at the beginning, making you constantly turning towards it for more and more.
  • You start to become more and more apprehensive towards anyone passing judgment on your habits. This works the same way as lying, you feel defensive and in denial of spending excessive hours on the console because you’re made to feel that it’s wrong.

The Smith and Jones Addiction Consultants opening a video game addicts treatment in Amsterdam, Europe (2006) signifies the public acknowledgment of this addiction.

Social Networking Addiction is another form of technology addiction, which includes overuse of networking sites leading to Twitter and Facebook addiction. This means you are hooked to your cell phone texting and incessantly updating your Facebook status.

by Arun Prabu.

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Benefits of Technology

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Technology has progressed by leaps and bounds in the last few decades, and the benefits of technology are there for all to see. One of the biggest arguments against technology is its sometimes ridiculously high cost which limits its usage and places it out of reach of many people. But it is an undeniable fact that technology has helped us make many tasks easier, and it has also made the world a much smaller place. Benefits of RFID Technology will also be an interesting read.

The latest developments in technology can be seen and felt in many industries, but there are some areas that have been benefited more than others. Costs of production have fallen, networking has become easier, employment levels have risen (in some cases), and we have certainly become more efficient at many complex tasks and processes. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the most obvious benefits of technology that we live with today.

What are the Benefits of Technology

Benefits of Technology in Healthcare
Perhaps the single biggest beneficiary of advancing technology has been the healthcare sector. Medical research has led to the end of many diseases and ailments, and also to the discovery of many drugs and medications that have helped prevent many lethal diseases and disorders. Personal records are easier to study now, and medical research has advanced magnificently. Millions of lives have been saved as a result of this. Here are some of the benefits of technology in this industry in brief.

  • Communication between patients and doctors has become easier, more personal, more flexible and more sensitive.
  • Personal records of patients are maintained, which makes it easier to study symptoms and carry out diagnosis of previously unexplainable conditions.
  • Several medical aids have helped people overcome many medical conditions which they had to live with earlier.
  • New medicines have led to the demise of many illnesses and diseases.
  • Medical research has become supremely advanced, and every ailment seemingly has a cure, or at least a prevention.
  • Costs of medical procedures and operations have fallen dramatically over the decades. Here are some more positive effects of technology on society.

Benefits of Technology in Education
It is no surprise that the benefits of technology in the classroom and the benefits of technology in schools have opened up a whole new learning environment. Knowledge can be easily procured with the help of Internet technology now, and it is easier to help children with special needs as well. Here are some more benefits of assistive technology that the educational sector has witnessed.

  • Personalized learning has come to the fore. Students can pick their own curriculum with ease, and set their own personal targets.
  • Distance learning has become much easier, and this has led to a rise in the number of people who receive education.
  • E-learning and online education has made it very simple and systematic for an individual to receive personal attention, so that all his specific needs are fulfilled.
  • Immediate response to queries and tests have made the whole education process a lot faster.
  • The use of computers and technology in classrooms has opened up a whole new method of teaching and effective learning. Read more on how has technology changed education.

Benefits of Technology in Communication
The communication industry has witnessed a huge growth. Social networking and blogging has opened up a whole new world to people from remote locations, and the reach of the mass media has increased thousandfold. People can communicate with each other on the move, and there are no limitations anymore to the benefits of information technology. Here are some more benefits.

  • The speed of talking to one another is instantaneous.
  • The mode of talking has become more personalized and can be done from just about anywhere.
  • The world has become a smaller place, since no one is out of reach anymore.
  • The clarity of communication has also improved with improvements in audio quality and video quality.
  • Information and news broadcasting has become more personalized as well. Moreover, it can reach more people at a faster speed, and people’s response can also be felt immediately.

Benefits of Technology in Business
Companies have become more profitable with the help of various advanced machines and equipment, and this has led to a rise in the standard of living of people. The national income of countries has also expanded as a result of this.

by Rahul Thadani.

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Negative Impact of Technology

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity. ~ Albert Einstein

When I was a kid, we had a social life, and it was called ‘outside’. And look at today’s kids – Facebook, PlayStations, iPhones, Blackberries, and not to forget, television sets with 300 channels. My grandmother used to say, one day when technology would hover, humans would stop thinking before acting. This statement makes much of a sense, and why not? Technology has sidelined ‘patience’ from our lives. Every second that passes by is making us all the more dependent on technology. Some may call it a bliss, but some differ. They may agree to the fact that technology has eased up life, but they also believe that it has cast differences between us and our close ones. Think of it, with the help of Internet technology, we no longer meet our loved ones in person, who may be living in the same town as we are. Instead, we call, chat, or e-mail them.

What’s more, we become anxious when the coffee machine takes a millisecond more in dispensing the coffee. We become fretful when a song takes a minute extra to get downloaded. Impatient as we’ve become, we humans might have eradicated this thing called ‘waste of time’, but many of us are still unaware of the stupefying negative impact of technology’s ubiquity in our life. Agriculture, business, media, etc. are some fields where technology has proved its mettle, but at the same time, the dreadfully negative consequences that it has led us to are worth a concern. So, why always talk about the positive impacts of technology on our society? It’s time to get real, and face the negatives too. The following bunch of words is an attempt towards understanding it all.

Negative Impact of Technology on Communication

Hi-tech gadgets, fast pace, computer games, microwaved food, and not to ignore, instant communication – this is what technology has bestowed upon us. However, have we paid attention to our lifestyles? Do you know you have your wife and kids waiting for you to come back from the office after a long day, and spend time with you? But what do you do? The moment you step into the house, you switch on your laptop, and start checking mails, Facebook, and other latest updates. And if that’s over, you have the television waiting earnestly for you to switch it on. When do you talk to your family? This is how we define ‘relaxation’ today. The ultimate bliss! You might be friends with a thousand people on a social-networking site, but ask yourself, how many of them actually have a face-to-face interaction with you?

I do agree that technology and Internet access have rendered ease to communication methods, and it allows us to stay connected 24×7. However, till when? It’s ironic that even though we have lunch with our family, we’re busy browsing our Blackberry! And of course, that means that we’re a close-knit family, doesn’t it?

Negative Impact of Technology on Education

Funny as it may sound, Google is God for students. Many of you might have stumbled upon this page hunting on what to write as an essay on ‘Negative Impact of Technology on Education and Society’. Well, there you have it all, a full-fledged essay. Yes, I do agree that there isn’t a source of information better than the Internet, and perhaps, can never be. However, don’t you think it has made students extremely lethargic? Consider college assignments. Today, in most of the schools and colleges, students are supposed to submit college assignments online. As a result, students spend a good hour searching for the best stuff on this platform that has virtually every information in this world. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+S… assignment done.

The negative impact of technology on students is known universally. Kids today know more than anyone about the latest gadgets, gizmos, etc. Well, even I would like to confess that I know more about the latest cell phones than my dad does! Kids know how to operate them, play games in it, and get used to them. Gone are those days when leisure time was about creative recreational activities. Video games, PlayStations, iPhones, and Androids are the new thing! And then we blame ourselves for not being creative enough.

by Veethi Telang.

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