Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

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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Free lifelong learning platform for all ages

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

LTT Global, a pioneer in mobile learning, has launched the, a free online learning platform. The fast and easy platform, designed for all age groups, claims to provide access to some of the world’s best professors and study materials.

In its first phase, the has 12 channels, which include a wide range of university and professional courses; preschool, primary, high school and college programmes; life skills, lifestyle and lifelong learning; how-to guide, video talks, study tools and e-books; and news, music, motivation and informational resources.

The site’s next phase of development will include free content from universities, companies and non-governmental organisations to power human capital development. is developed in partnership with Open University Malaysia, Multimedia Development Corporation and Mobile Monday.


Dell has launched the Latitude 3330 to help educators teach and personalise learning opportunities in the classroom. According to Dell, the easy-to-use laptop can be integrated into a school’s existing IT infrastructure without hassle.

The lightweight laptop has a 13.3-inch anti-glare screen that minimises the scrolling required of smaller screens, an HD 720 webcam and WiDi support for virtual classroom collaboration.

It supports Microsoft Windows 8, Windows 7 and Linux Ubuntu. Storage technology options range from the standard hard drives to high-performance SSD.

Latest in touch computing

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

OPTIMISED FOR TOUCH:  Several new computers — PCs, ultra-books,  all-in-one desktops — available today redefine the touch computing experience, writes Chandra Devi Renganayar.

Lenovo ThinkPad Helix

Designed for business professionals on the move, the convertible laptop-tablet device combines the performance of a business ultrabook with the mobility of a Windows 8 tablet.

It has an 11.6-inch full HD 10-point multi-touch IPS screen and features Intel Core i7-3667U 2.0GHz processor with 8GB of RAM.

Weighing just 835g, the tablet portion has two full HD cameras — a 2MP front-facing and a 5MP rear module with low-light sensitivity and face tracking technology. The tablet also houses a USB 2.0 port, a mini-display port, an audio combo jack and a 3G (and optional 4G LTE) SIM slot.

As an ultrabook, the ThinkPad Helix runs up to 10 hours for a full day of work and play. It retails at RM6,500.

Acer Aspire P3

Acer claims that the Aspire P3, a new form of ultrabook, is powerful enough to be a primary PC as well. The ultrabook, which has a 11.6-inch high definition display with IPS technology, can be used as a notebook, hybrid or tablet effortlessly. The model is only 9.95mm thick and weighs 0.79kg. It has 2GB of RAM and 60GB of SSD storage, and supports Windows 8 OS.

by Chandra Devi Renganayar

Positive impact of video games

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

EVEN as video games come under scrutiny for potential harmful impact, researchers and developers are touting digital games for positive effects on health, learning and other social goals.

The immersive power of games is being used to encourage children to develop healthy eating, help seniors maintain brain functions, and even to tackle problems like poverty and climate change.

Most Americans in a recent online survey said they see a link between video games and violent behaviour.

United States (US) Vice President Joe Biden, who convened a White House meeting after the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connec-ticut that saw a man gun down children and adults before taking his own life, has said more research is needed on how games affect users.

However, researchers say there is little evidence that playing games can cause users to become violent, and instead have a positive impact.

“Games particularly with psychological functions, are good” said Jason Allaire from North Carolina State University’s Gains Through Gaming Lab.

“We focus on cognition and learning, trying to understand the exact mechanisms, such as the impact on reaction time and memory.”

Allaire led a recent study that found seniors who played digital games showing higher levels of emotional well-being than non-players.

Digital games “get a bad rap because they are often played to excess” but blaming games for societal ills is “simplistic”, he added.

Still, he said researchers are reviewing their thinking following a spate of shootings.

Allaire argued that “there is no evidence to show that playing a violent video game can cause you to engage in destructive behaviour.”

Big game companies and independent developers have created many games aimed at positive skills and habits.

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Seven Steps to Creating Screencast Videos for Online Learning

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

When I first started teaching online, one of the most frustrating aspects was that I did not have access to an old-fashioned blackboard to give students a visual map of what I was teaching. I felt restricted by the text-based instruction of the discussion board and eventually began creating colorful flowcharts to teach essay structure, for example, or PowerPoint slides to explain the MLA style format.

However, I still missed my blackboard where I could walk students through the lesson — step-by-step and in real time. That is until I discovered screencast technology. Suddenly I got my blackboard pointer back and I was able to lecture by pointing to concepts as I went along just like I did with my face-to-face classes. The screen capture technology records and synchronizes whatever I have on my computer screen with my voice narration. It is not hard to learn, just sign up for a free account, watch the tutorials and start recording! The technology I use is called Screencast-o-matic but there are other free products, including and Screenr. There’s also the well-known Camtasia Studio line from TechSmith, which is not free but educational pricing is available.

Here are some tips for creating a good screen capture video:

  1. Keep your lesson short. Focus on a single skill that takes about five minutes to teach. For my classes, it’s concepts such as how to write a conclusion paragraph or understanding the different parts of an essay. Examples of my videos are at Yvonne’s Writing channel. Most of my video lessons are five-eight minutes in length. Any longer than that and students have trouble staying focused on the lesson.
  2. Talk in a conversational, yet professional manner. Pretend you are talking to a friend or visualize a class in front of you as you talk. In other words, whatever pleasant tone you use in front of your traditional class, make an effort to ensure that tone comes through in your screencast video. Remember, if they can’t see you’re smiling or gesturing, they have to hear it in your voice.
  3. Do not worry about making mistakes. You can keep rerecording over and over again until you get it right. Screencast-o-matic has a “redo” button. I usually have to rerecord myself at least two or three times to get it the way I want it.


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