Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Five Tips every connected students must know about

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Students are learning differently than we used to do. They are probably lucky to be born in such a highly focused digital age where information and knowledge belong to everyone with an internet connection. This democratised form of knowledge sharing has created a new type of students called the connected learner.

The connected learner is a concept grounded in the theory of connectivism which presumes that Learning takes place as a part of a social network of many diverse connections and ties. This very network is made possible thanks to the various tools of communication technology. Tools themselves are not as important as the connections made possible by them. Social media empowers students to make new connections and learn from what others share.
As a teacher you might be feeling the pressing need to get your students engaged in such a connected and socially-based digital learning but this can not be achieved without the right and proper tools. You might probably be thinking now about what these tools are and how you can get access to them; well think no more, the list below has everything you will need to help your connected students learn in a digital way.
Teachers need to make sure  that their students know how to  :
1- Effectively search the web

Searching content on the web is an art that students should master. It can save them so much of their precious time and get them focused on their learning. Check out these tools to learn how you can teach them  to do that .

2- Evaluate content on the web

Students need to know how to sift through content online and recognize the good from the junk. To do this they need to be equipped with the necessary know-how which This Article can provide them with .

Untangling a wired addiction

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Class in progress: Children at an elementary school in Seongnam, south of Seoul, being counselled during a special class on smartphone addiction. - AFP

Class in progress: Children at an elementary school in Seongnam, south of Seoul, being counselled during a special class on smartphone addiction. – AFP

South Korea is conducting special classes to help its young people break away from their over-reliance of smartphones and all things digital.

SHE pulls no punches as she warns a classroom of wide-eyed South Korean 10-year-olds that they stand on the edge of an addiction that will turn them all into “mindless slaves”.

Social campaigner Kim Nam-Hee’s grim presentation follows a survey with the title:”Who’s your real family?” The survey asked the students to compare the hours they spent on their smartphones with the time they spent interacting with relatives.

South Korea’s pride in its high-tech prowess, from ultra-fast broadband speeds to its own cutting-edge smartphones, is now tinged by anxiety over digital addiction — with even preschool children showing symptoms of IT obsession.

The country has long promoted Internet technology as a key driver of growth, and its capital Seoul is often referred to as the “most wired” city on the planet.

About 70% of South Korea’s 50 million people have smartphones — the highest penetration rate in the world, according to the market research firm eMarket.

But the country’s fixation with everything digital has parents worried about its impact on young people especially children, many of whom are not even of preschool age.

Worrying issue

The concern is shared by those in other advanced economies, but the South Korean government has gone furthest in its response.

“We felt an urgent need to make a sweeping effort to tackle the growing danger of online addiction, especially given the popularity of smart devices,” the science ministry said when it announced a policy package on June 13.

The initiative, organised in conjunction with the health and education ministries, requires schools to teach special classes on Internet addiction and organise holiday “boot camps” to wean students off their dependency.

According to government data, more than 80% of South Koreans aged between 12 and 19 owned smartphones in 2012, which was double the figure from the previous year.

Nearly 40% of those in this age group spent more than three hours a day tweeting, chatting, or playing games — despite attempts by teachers to confiscate all devices at the beginning of the day, and return them when classes were over.

An annual government survey estimated that nearly 20% of teenagers were “addicted” to smartphones.

Addiction was defined by certain criteria which included anxiety and depression when separated from a smartphone, a repeated failure to cut back on usage time, and feeling happier using smartphones than being with family or friends.

The problem is not exclusive to teenagers, and the government’s education policy targets primary schools and even preschoolers.

by Jung Ha Won.

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The 33 Digital Skills every 21st Century Teacher shoule have.

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Every single teacher is concerned about his/ her teaching practices and the skills involved in this process. How many times have you wondered about a better way to teach the same lesson you have delivered to an earlier class? How often have you used technology to engage your students and improve their learning ? These are some recurring questions we keep regurgitating each time our teaching skills are put to the test.

It is amazing how technology has changed the whole world giving rise to new forms of education we never thought of. Our students are more digitally focused than any time before. They spend more time interacting with their mobile devices than they do with their parents or close relatives. Admittedly, this digital boom has both  positive and negative impact on our students. Lack of concentration, short attention span, distraction, visual  stimulus overload, identity theft, lack of real world socializing, privacy issues, depression, and many more are but a direct result of the growing exposure to this technology. Studies have even proved that multitasking, which some educational technology experts brag about in relation to the use of today’s technology, reduces the power of our concentration to the half.  We should not, However, only look at the empty side of the cup, the other side is way bigger.

There are  actually several pluses for the use of technology in education and to try and list them  all here is way beyond the scope of this short post. Generally speaking,  no two argue over the fact that technology advantages in education ( and in our life at large ) way  outnumber  its downsides. It is thanks to technology that you are now reading this post and will probably share it with your colleagues.

There is no blinking the fact  that the type of students we teach today are completely different from last century’s. We , definitely, need to look at some of the skills we, as teachers, need to equip ourselves with to better live up to the challenge. Among all the challenges we would have in education, there is not as daunting a challenge as catching students focus and getting them engaged in the learning process. For this particular reason, and in addition to the skills I initially mentioned in 21st Century Teaching Skills article, I would like to provide you  with another list of  some equally important digital skills that you, as a teacher, need to seriously consider if you want to pave the way for the 21st century teaching. I have added a list of web tools under each skill for teachers to better exploit it.

Open source system proves effective in public sector.

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

ADDED VALUE: Govt saves RM 370m and provides 6,206 jobs in ICT field.

PUTRAJAYA: THE government has saved more than RM370 million through the Malaysian public sector open source software (OSS), which was launched in 2004.

The savings were made cumulatively by 921 government agencies, or 99.6 per cent of the public sector.

Originating from a cabinet decision, the programme was launched on July 16, 2004 to create and enhance value using OSS within the public sector’s information and communications technology framework in providing efficient, secure and quality services.

Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit director-general Datuk Wira Omar Kaseh said through the programme, 36 Multimedia Super Corridor-status companies had been established, providing jobs to 6,206 skilled workers.

According to a report by Multimedia Development Corporation, he said, patent-free computer applications generated RM595 million in revenue, with exports valued at an additional RM234 million.

He said through OSS, software developers enabled users to customise programmes to suit their needs.

“The implementation of OSS in the public sector has also shown commendable achievements such as the appointment of 16 certified training providers from universities to train students and civil servants.”

Omar said this after handing appointment letters to four newly commissioned Open Source Competency Centre (OSCC) suppliers yesterday.

The four — Dataware Sdn Bhd, Reolv Technologies Sdn Bhd, Salesfoster Sdn Bhd and Multimedia Synergy Corporation Sdn Bhd — are tasked with expanding 10 generic products over the next two years.

by A, Azmi Idris.

Giving the freedom to be tech-savvy children

Monday, July 8th, 2013

SETTING GUIDELINES: Over recent years, parents have been faulted for buying all sorts of gizmos to appease their kids. Many of these have been blamed for bad behaviour and a drop in grades. However, recent studies have suggested that parents who deprive their kids of these gadgets are stifling their creativity, Psychologists and therapist share their views on this with Audrey Vijaindren.

“MY friend’s mother let her open a Facebook account, why can’t I?”, “Jimmy has the latest smartphone, it’s not  fair.”

Well-meaning parents are bombarded with such questions on a daily basis, for years. While many refuse to budge from their stand, believing the are protecting their children from this harsh world, others eventually cave in.

While those who cave in are detested by the rest, experts today believe that allowing a little dose of technology into a child’s life may not be such a bad thing after all. However, like most other things in life, there needs to be boundaries and rules.

HELP International School principal Dr Gerard Louis believes parents need to pick their battles carefully when it comes to tech toys, if they don’t want to damage their relationship with their kids.

“You may not subscribe to the tech lifestyle your kids wish to have, but they’re living in that world. Instead of restricting the use of technology altogether, it’s best to minimise the negative effects, otherwise it just gets in the way of more important things in your relationship with them.

“For instance, when they nag you to allow them to open a Facebook (FB) account, don’t immediately shut the idea down. Find out why they feel the need to have one. If it’s because they want to connect with their friends, but you don’t feel they’re ready, why not suggest adult-supervised group outings instead? Explain that you’re uncomfortable with the idea of them having an FB account now, but will consider it at a later time.

by Audrey Vijaindren.

Raising the game on IT

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Dr Halimahton says that the tech industry is facing a talent crunch.

Dr Halimahton says that the tech industry is facing a talent crunch.

APPLE co-founder the late Steve Jobs once said that computer science is a liberal art. Of course, he was referring to the creation of Apple gadgets which combined aesthetics and technology to achieve its user-friendly interface.

“In my perspective … science and computer science is a liberal art, it’s something everyone should know how to use, at least, and harness in their life.

“It’s not something that should be relegated to 5% of the population over in the corner. It’s something that everybody should be exposed to and everyone should have mastery of to some extent, and that’s how we viewed computation and these computation devices,” said Jobs.

With his trademark turtleneck and cult following, there was little doubt that Jobs had succeeded in what few computer scientists did — making the profession look cool in the eyes of gadget-loving youth.

Now with the rising popularity of young tech billionaires such as Mark Zuckerberg, will students be flocking to take up computer science studies in droves?

A Sputnik moment

The enrolment in the computer science programme peaked in the late 90s following the launch of the Multimedia Super Corridor by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to leapfrog the country into the information and knowledge age.

by Kang Soon Chen.  

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Becoming digitally savvy

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Technology may not be everyone’s cup of tea but with young “teachers” everywhere, embracing the digital side becomes a piece of cake.

AT THE time of writing this article, my younger daughter was in Madrid, Spain, watching a bullfight.

She sent me a 30-second video of it through WhatsApp along with the words: “Mum, the matadors kill the bull at the end and throw a piece of it to the crowd!”

Meanwhile, my elder daughter was at Sepang, catching her first car race in the Malaysian leg of the Super GT. Also using WhatsApp, she sent me some shots of the event, including a photo of herself taken with a model next to a fabulous car.

Within minutes, I received another message, this time from my husband informing me that he had landed safely in Jakarta, Indonesia. His message was accompanied with a love emoticon.

Isn’t technology amazing? I was at home in Malaysia yet I could communicate with and feel connected to all three members of my family.

Digital storytelling

Last week, I finished a book that I feel all English language teachers should read. Written by Lisa C. Miller, it highlights the technique of digital storytelling; a method of teaching writing in which students use their own words and images to convey content in a digital format.

Because creativity, writing and research are still involved, it is a powerful method of taking a student from “reluctance to stamina”.

Personal stories matter. And, if they can be told using a digital format students love to be engaged with, it will also encourage them to write. Here is where teaching writing comes in.

The teacher gets her students to brainstorm and draft a story. Once the writing is done and illustrations are picked, the story is then digitally recorded in the student’s own voice. Images, words, voice-overs and music make the final digital story.

by Nithya Sidhhu.

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Teachers Guide on The Use of Graphic Organizers in The Classroom

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Gone are the days when planning and thinking were done mainly by pen and paper.Technology have made it pretty much easier to think in different other ways. Free mind mapping , brainstorming and concept mapping applications are ubiquitous online and more and more teachers are using them . The 21st century education is based , on a large part of it, on the visual output. Students, who due to their excessive use of and exposure to technology have become digitally focused, tend to show more  interaction and response towards these visual stimulae .

This visual thinking exhibited by our students can be expressed in many ways. Graphic organizers are one way for visual thinkers to arrange their ideas. There are a variety of ways to express these visual ideas and graphic organizers have several of them including : visual maps, visual organizers, cognitive organizers, concept diagrams, and mind maps.These visual helpers are great learning tools that depict the relationship between facts, terms, and ideas within a learning task. Let us explore some of the ways we can benefit from graphic organizers in our classrooms.

The benefits of graphic organizers in education.

  • Teachers can use graphic organizers to engage visual learners and help them organize their thoughts
  • Graphic organizers help students make powerful connections between  ideas and concepts
  • They help students develop their convergent thinking  by providing a framework for the development of new ideas through analysis, reflection and display.
  • They also help students promote their divergent thinking by using such techniques as brianstorming to generate ideas.
  • They can be used for developing vocabulary skills and improve reading, writing and communication skills.
  • Students can easily learn new concepts and think in new novel ways using graphic organizers
  • They help students focus on connections rather than words
  • Finally , graphic organizers can help both teachers and students develop creative and critical thinking skills.

Some free resources on Graphic Organizers:

The following are some of the best websites where teachers can have free access to a variety of graphic organizers templates and other relevant materials. While this list is not conclusive, I am pretty sure it has all you would need in a graphic organizer.

1- Educational Place

This website contains dozens of pre made graphic organizers that you can easily download or print off to use use in your classroom.

2- Ed Helper

This is another popular website where teachers have free access to a plethora of printable graphic organizers covering all kinds of topics and themes.

3- Education Oasis

This website contains over 50 free printable graphic organizers for teachers to use with their students.

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Relationship Between ICT And Education Remains Contested – Muhyiddin

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR:  — Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today reminded the people on the contesting relationship between information and communication technology (ICT) and education.

“ICT does make a difference. And I think, this is our stand. We cannot afford to take a chance with the future of Malaysia,” he said.

Muhyiddin said that over 30 years of research had not yet concluded that ICT had impacted education.

“Instead, it is very much correlational and this is recognised even by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).

“In 2011, their publication stated that the relationship between ICT and student learning was more complicated than one based on mere availability or use — what matters is how ICT is used and what is tested.”

Muhyiddin said this in his speech for Digital Education Show Asia, here, today. The speech text was read out by Deputy Education Minister I Datuk Mary Yap Kian Ching.

In the speech, Muhyiddin also related the value and danger of ‘digital nannies’ where parents gave tablets to their children as young as four to take time off from the kids.

“In the current trend, children as young as four years old have IPads and other tablets which parents have given to them as a learning tool. Children’s uptake of these tablets have been phenomenal; they use these devices without having to learn from their parents. They just pick up and use them.

“However, I contend that this trend has both value and danger. Though learning can occur using these devices but more often than not, they are used as distractors, filling a gap where parents require ‘time off’ – digital nannies if you will,” he added.

Muhyiddin said many reports had stated that children played games and interacted online without supervision which had led to children being addicted to these devices.

He said this gap between learning and consuming was a paradox.

“At one end, we would like to see that children learn with these devices but at the same time, we want them to consume content and applications responsibly and ethically.

“Thus, I believe digital literacy is important as it ensures responsibility and ethics as part and parcel of being a netizen in Malaysia,” he said.


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Data mining an ad-ded distraction to students at school

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: There is growing concern that students using the Internet in class may be influenced by online advertisements received through a digital marketing strategy known as data mining.

Data mining is when Internet service providers sell student information collated from online activity to cyber vendors.

This results in the youngsters being targeted to receive specific advertisements when using the Internet for studies that could seriously interfere with the learning process.

“It is not hard to imagine the risks involved when we give our privacy to someone else to keep. Aside from the more obvious reasons such as data being leaked or stolen, our children’s data might be collected for target marketing, which will be a distraction to students who should be focused in class.

“Digitalising education is an ambitious but much needed step to skill our students, and ultimately to reach a level that is on par with the developed world. But as with any change, we must be fully prepared for new responsibilities,” said Parent Action Group for Education (Page) president Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim.

She was speaking at a forum organised by CyberSecurity Malaysia yesterday which was aimed at finding ways to protect students’ data privacy. The forum was organised in collaboration with CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition and

Among the projects to digitalise education that Noor Azimah referred to was the 1Bestarinet project, where schools nationwide are provided Internet access for educational purposes.

by Loshana K. Shagar.

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