Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Getting students to understand cyber security

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

"Digital learners: While ICT is so much part of learning at all levels, such facilities should be used responsibly by its users.- File photo"

“Digital learners: While ICT is so much part of learning at all levels, such facilities should be used responsibly by its users.- File photo”

CHANGE is happening very rapidly in today’s world and education has evolved bringing on more responsibilities for the educator.

It goes beyond teaching students the knowledge and skills. In fact, teachers need to prepare their charges for the real world.

In the past, adults had access to developments in technology, had a “hold” of the changes and then passed down their knowledge to the next generation.

With the “tsunami-like” nature of new digital technologies, children these days are learning to use technology at the same time as the adults.

This sometimes leads to misunderstandings and uncertainties of how technologies can or should be used.

Schools must respond to students’ changing needs. In the working world, increasingly complicated issues will require solutions that cross disciplinary boundaries, and go beyond “one-box” solutions.

Though the urge to cut corners may be strong, standards for respectful and ethical conduct should be cultivated.

Nurturing each of these minds will help ensure that the next generation is willing and able to meet the still-unknown challenges of the future.

With many businesses moving online, there will be a need to get employees with at least basic cyber security knowledge to protect their online reputation.

Hence, all new employees will need to have the basic knowledge of cyber security to be competitive in a working market where there is more and more unemployment worldwide!

by Dr Termit Kaur.

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Of technology and pedagogy

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Technology as an enabler and an aid to teaching and learning, can play a good role in delivering lessons effectively.

THE profession of teaching is a challenging career and a form of art in its own ways.

A good teacher is always a gift to every student because, without him or her, one cannot learn efficiently.

Teachers can deliver “perfect” lessons and express accurately what they want their students to understand thus speeding up the learning process.

Many teaching practices of the past are valuable and we should work to help hesitant educators see how these practices can be even more effective when students are engaged with digital learning tools.

So how does one become a successful teacher? For some, it is about imparting knowledge.

For others, it is about creating a safe container for learning to happen. And for others, it lies somewhere between the two. I find that the best teachers do both at the same time.

It is unfortunate that generally, we as educators have lost sight of how important these questions are: What are students’ needs? What are their interests?

We have instead cloaked these matters with “high stakes testing”, “university preparation” and “standardisation”.

Right focus

To be a successful teacher, one has to always focus on the student; his needs, interests and what he is passionate about.

A teacher must begin by designing the experience he or she wants the students to have.

Once there is a plan, the teacher can then embed the content to be learnt, and then choose the proper tools to help achieve the end result.

by Dr Termit Kaur Ranjit Singh.

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Influence of science on humanity

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Have we become so dependent on technology that our very own humanity is at stake?

WE are indeed a generation which has become highly dependent on technology. We live in an increasingly science and technology-driven world and, by necessity, make scientific and technological decisions every day.

As scientific advances improve our lives, they also complicate how we live and react to the new technologies.

Increasingly, human values come into conflict with scientific advancement as we deal with important issues such as nuclear power, environmental degradation, information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, etc.

Science and technology have undoubtedly benefited us but will it destroy our humanity?

Humanity is not only about our biological mechanisms, but also include aspects like culture, nature, individualism etc.

Science fiction does suggest that some day, we might be overtaken by technology.

Today, our lives are indirectly being monitored via technology.

When we post our personal information online, we are actually posting our whole identity.

Yet, we do not know how safe our personal information is.

If the information is saved, will it be accessed by the IT staff? Will he release the information if he is paid by a third party?

The concept of our technology today is like “Big Brother is always watching over you” which emphasises how control surveillance might become in the future, and the consequences thereof.

by Nor Azaruddin Husni Nuruddin.

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Dr Mahathir: Impose internet control over pornography

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Dr Mahathir speaking during his keynote address at the National ICT Association (PIKOM) Leadership Summit on Wednesday.

Dr Mahathir speaking during his keynote address at the National ICT Association (PIKOM) Leadership Summit on Wednesday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants the authorities to impose some form of control to shield youths from online pornography.
An advocate of non-censorship of the internet, Dr Mahathir lamented that the easy access to sexually graphic sex sites are “negatively stimulating the minds” of the young.

This, the former prime minister noted, has led to the rise in violent sexual crimes.
“There must be some form of code of ethics to prevent such sites from being accessed.

“The governments of the respective countries should take action against those responsible for polluting the minds of young children with pornography,” he said in his keynote address at the National ICT Association (PIKOM) Leadership Summit.

He admitted that there was opposition towards censoring the internet when he launched the Multimedia Super Corridor over a decade ago.

“There was an international panel of advisors (when setting up the MSC) and one of them advised me that the internet must never be censored.

“At the time, I agreed as I did not fully comprehend how much information could pass through the internet,” he added.

However, he said the recent rise in violent sexual crimes and declining morals due to exposure to online pornography was alarming.

Dr Mahathir stressed that control of the internet should be limited to pornography and not towards curbing freedom of expression.

“I don’t mind some people writing nasty things about politicians of which I sometimes agree,” he quipped, drawing laughter from participants.

by Martin Carvalho.

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PCs for work and fun

Monday, October 7th, 2013

THE LATEST: If you are looking for an affordable PC for work or entertainment, Chandra Devi Renganayar gives some options to consider.

HP’s new range of AMD PCs

The PC maker announced a line of devices running on the new AMD accelerated processing unit (APU). These include the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 14, HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11, HP Pavilion TouchSmart 20 and the HP Envy 110 Desktop PC.

The devices are powered by AMD Dual Core A Series chipsets, which are designed to support the latest user interfaces and media and graphics intensive workloads. The devices, according to the company, are affordably priced between RM899 and RM2,199.

The most affordable among the new line-up is the HP Envy 110 Desktop PC, which is priced at RM899. This model is good for your daily tasks like web browsing, email and social networking.

Next comes the HP Pavilion 11 TouchSmart Notebook, which is available on the A4 and A6 APU priced at RM1,299 and RM1,499 respectively. The Windows 8 notebook has an 11.6-inch, 10-point capacitive touch screen. It comes with a 500GB hard disk drive and and 4GB DDR3L standard memory.

Priced at RM1,899 is the HP Pavilion 20 TouchSmart All-in-One PC. The TouchSmart PC features a 20-inch diagonal full HD display and an IPS panel with wide viewing angles.

If you are looking for a touchscreen notebook that is small, portable and affordable, the HP Pavilion 14 TouchSmart Sleekbook might just be what you need. Priced at RM2,199, the notebook comes with a 14-inch HD flat display and a DDR3L system memory with dual channel memory support up to 12GB. Hard drive is available at 320GB, 500GB, 750GB or 1TB.

Alienware gaming machine

The latest gaming desktop from Alienware is the Aurora. The machine is built for intense gaming experience with the new IvyBridge-E family of Intel Core i7 4 and 6 core processors and the next generation NVIDIA and AMD graphics.

The ‘ugly side’ of technology

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: TECHNOLOGY if used wrongly could lead to mayhem, said Universiti Malaya Pro-Chancellor Raja Dr Nazrin Shah yesterday.

The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, presenting a scroll to Dr Surin Pitsuwan at University Malaya’s 52nd convocation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. Pic by Rosela Ismail

Raja Nazrin, who is also the Raja Muda of Perak, said Malaysians should invest more time in learning the ways of using technology to benefit mankind and not the other way round.

“Technology is created in such a way that it not only makes learning easier, it also helps to speed up the process of receiving and sending information by users all over the world.

“However, this also makes it a very influential channel to spread lies and defamation.

“This is why we have to know how to embrace the goodness that comes with technology and guard ourselves from its ugly side,” he said in his speech at the opening of Universiti Malaya’s 52nd convocation yesterday.

A total of 4,449 graduates will be receiving their scrolls over the course of the five-day event.

A dream for Digital Age to bridge the divide.

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

TECHNOLOGICAL GAP: is reaching out to the two-thirds of the world’s population without access.

FIFTY years ago, Martin Luther King dreamed of an America that would one day deliver on its promise of equality for all of its citizens, black as well as white. Today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has a dream, too: he wants to provide Internet access to the world’s five billion people who do not now have it.

Zuckerberg’s vision may sound like a self-interested push to gain more Facebook users. But the world currently faces a growing technological divide, with implications for equality, liberty and the right to pursue happiness that are no less momentous than the racial divide against which King preached.

Around the world, more than two billion people live in the Digital Age. They can access a vast universe of information, communicate at little or no cost with their friends and family, and connect with others with whom they can cooperate in new ways. The other five billion are still stuck in the Paper Age in which my generation grew up.

In those days, if you wanted to know something but did not own an expensive encyclopedia (or your encyclopedia was no longer sufficiently up-to-date to tell you what you wanted to know), you had to go to a library and spend hours searching for what you needed. To contact friends or colleagues overseas, you had to write them a letter and wait at least two weeks for a reply. International phone calls were prohibitively expensive, and the idea of actually seeing someone while you talked to them was the stuff of science fiction., a global partnership launched by Zuckerberg last month, plans to bring the two-thirds of the world’s population without Internet access into the Digital Age. The partnership consists of seven major information-technology companies, as well as non-profit organisations and local communities. Knowing that you cannot ask people to choose between buying food and buying data, the partnership will seek new, less expensive means of connecting computers, more data-efficient software, and new business models.

by Peter Singer,

No Child Left Untableted

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Sally Hurd Smith, a veteran teacher, held up her brand-new tablet computer and shook it as she said, “I don’t want this thing to take over my classroom.” It was late June, a month before the first day of school. In a sixth-grade classroom in Greensboro, N.C., a dozen middle-school social-studies teachers were getting their second of three days of training on tablets that had been presented to them as a transformative educational tool. Every student and teacher in 18 of Guilford County’s 24 middle schools would receive one, 15,450 in all, to be used for class work, homework, educational games — just about everything, eventually.

There was, as educators say, a diverse range of learners in the room. Some were well on the way to mastering the tablet. Ben Porter, for instance, a third-year teacher who previously worked as an operations manager for a Cold Stone Creamery franchiser, was already adept at loading and sharing lesson materials and using the tablet’s classroom-management tools: quick polls, discussions, short-answer exercises, the function for randomly calling on a student and more. Other teachers, including a gray-bearded man who described himself as “technologically retarded,” had not progressed much further than turning it on.

Smith, the most outspoken skeptic among the trainees, was not a Luddite — she uses her Web site to dispense assignments and readings to her students — but she worried about what might be lost in trying to funnel her teaching know-how through the tablet. “I just don’t like the idea of looking at a screen and not at the students,” she said.

Brian Finke for The New York Times

A couple of seats over from her, I was thinking the same thing. I teach college students, not middle schoolers, but I count on being able to read their faces and look them in the eye, and I would resist — O.K., freak out — if obliged to engage them through a screen in the classroom. And as a parent of middle schoolers, I would strenuously oppose any plan by their school to add so much screen time to my children’s days. The tablets, paid for in part by a $30 million grant from the federal Department of Education’s Race to the Top program, were created and sold by a company called Amplify, a New York-based division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and they struck me as exemplifying several dubious American habits now ascendant: the overvaluing of technology and the undervaluing of people; the displacement of face-to-face interaction by virtual connection; the recasting of citizenship and inner life as a commodified data profile; the tendency to turn to the market to address social problems.

by Carlo Rotella.

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Frog, virtual learning platform for over 10,000 schools in Malaysia, wins ICT Provider of the Year

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: FrogTrade Ltd, developer for the Frog Virtual Learning Platform which is currently being implemented in over 10,000 schools in Malaysia, recently won the title of “ICT Provider of the Year” at the prestigious BETT Awards 2013 held in London.

This accolade follows on the heels of the 1BestariNet project launch in Malaysia, which saw the nation become the first in the world to equip all its schools with an integrated learning solution comprising of the cloud-based Frog Virtual Learning Environment (Frog VLE) and 4G Internet connectivity.

Organised by i2i Events Group and the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the Bett Awards are  considered to  be the  most prestigious in  the  education  sector, and are committed to celebrating a  distinctive  and  diverse  digital education resources market that meets the needs of the education system.

Every year, only the most deserving winners make it through several rounds of rigorous judging as  a panel of 50 judges drawn from a bank of experienced teachers with outstanding ICT knowledge and understanding, education consultants and advisers, and high profile ICT journalists, search for and shortlist organisations and products that show a clear understanding of the sector and its needs, with a focus on what actually works in the classroom and school.

Caroline  Wright, director of BESA and chair of  judging, said, “Despite  schools  now realising that they do  have  strong  available  budgets, teachers are  becoming  more shrewd in assessing the  aptness  of products  for their specific needs. Products therefore need to  be  of the highest standard to  ensure  that, aside from the  initial purchase  price, the total cost of ownership is low. This is what the  judges  have  identified;  products that offer the highest quality and are fit for purpose.  These  Bett Award finalists  are  certainly companies that schools can safely consider to be amongst the best available.”

Winning the award comes as another high point for Frog, a company that has enjoyed a user-base expansion from 1 million users in 700 schools to 12 million users in over 10,000 schools worldwide, 10 million of which are users in Malaysia, where the landmark 1BestariNet project is being carried out.

Under the 1BestariNet project, YTL Communications and FrogAsia, both part of the YTL Group, are working closely with FrogTrade to deliver a holistic learning experience to all primary and secondary schools in Malaysia through the award-winning Frog VLE.  YTL Communications is in the process of delivering the high-speed 4G internet infrastructure and connectivity to schools, while FrogAsia is delivering training, mentoring and support in the usage of Frog to schools.

Frog has also recently acquired I Am Learning, which specialises in games-based revision and assessment. The acquisition, which puts the I Am Learning assessment software at the heart of Frog’s learning platform, shows Frog’s long term commitment to education and signals its move towards assessment in teaching and learning.

On winning the award, Gareth Davies, Managing Director of Frog, said, “We are absolutely delighted to have won the BETT Award for ICT Company of the Year! We are always developing new innovative solutions, but no matter how big the company gets, we will always stay close to our customers.”

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Change teaching techniques to win over students – trainer.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

KOTA KINABALU: Educators have been told to change their teaching techniques to win their students’ attention if they refused to learn and be guided.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Professor Madya Dr Hamzah Md Omar, a specialist in teachers training from the university and a former teacher, stated this at the Teknopen Kinabalu 2013 held at the Mini Putrajaya auditorium near here yesterday.

He urged educators not to be afraid to try something new in order to win over their students and get them to enjoy learning.

To garner new ideas and approaches, Dr Hamzah encouraged the educators to read more books and magazines that focused on improvisation.

“I realise however that most teachers are already so busy and have no time to read. But teachers must learn to teach correctly so that their students will learn the correct way,” he said.

He also said that as educators, they must strive to do their utmost best for their students, just as they would for their own children.

Dr Hamzah also discouraged educators from labeling their students, particularly when it came to students who were faring badly in their studies and seemed not interested to learn at all.

“As teachers, our role is to ensure that they move a step up. We must not leave any of our weaker students still in the same state. They have to be further improved, at least a step up the ladder,” he advised.

by Jenne Lajiun