Archive for the ‘Educational Technologies’ Category

Not all video games are bad.

Friday, December 27th, 2013

AWARENESS: Contrary to what many think, gaming has its benefits, if only they weed out the good from the bad.

Video games help in problem solving, planning, estimation and analysis of the moves or actions of the player and his opponent.

VIDEO games have been receiving  a lot of bad publicity lately, especially due to violence related events.

The repertoire of many video games involves violence in some or very small aspects. The lack of social involvement with society that affects gamers has also been a cause of distress to senior generations.

In addition, the sedentary lifestyle of habitual gaming and 24-hour non-stop playing has also affected the health of current generation, especially in terms of obesity. It also distracts children from more important things as it takes up an awful lot of hours.

These seem to indicate that there are a lot of bad influences video gaming has brought upon society. Is that truly the case?

As human beings, we have a tendency to be tunnell-visioned in perspective. What I’m saying is that not all video gaming is bad. There are some merits to such activities.

Gaming has become a huge industry in the world. Japan, United States, and Europe have hosted many corporations and studios. Graphic designers, animation engineers and even music orchestrators have their jobs in the gaming industry. Millions of dollars are invested by major corporations in the gaming industry.

Sony, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Rockstar are multi-billion dollar companies with a lot of shares in stock markets that help propel the world economy. In Malaysia, the gaming scene is not as huge as in the West, but is relatively big in the Southeast Asia region.

Video gaming also helps in learning. What now? Some of you may agree and some may differ, but there are certain aspects of gaming that help in educating children.

Language is one aspect of learning that video gaming has helped. My experience has seen a good improvement of vocabulary in my children. Some of the vocabulary that they picked up from games really took me by surprise. Words like rendezvous, colonised, astounding, astonishing, anonymous, telepathy, gigantic, resourceful, covert operation, solemn, mesmerised and many more were easily acquired by my 10-year-old boy.

eShop, but don’t drop (your guard)

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Protect your identity and finances as you hunt for that perfect gift online.

Think before you click: Retail apps and local online shopping have seen a boom. But as you e-shop to your heart’s content, don’t do it until you drop all your defences.

Think before you click: Retail apps and local online shopping have seen a boom. But as you e-shop to your heart’s content, don’t do it until you drop all your defences.

THE holiday season is here, and for many, that means the arrival of the shopping season too!

Malaysians’ love for shopping could not have found a bigger outlet than the World Wide Web store, with the help of their very own personal shopper – their mobile device.

It is no wonder retail apps and local online shopping have seen a boom. But as you e-shop to your heart’s content, don’t do it until you drop all your defences, warns safety giant Symantec Corporation. Cyber criminals are also getting a lot of joy this festive season, having a merry time pouncing on the unaware and careless.

Here are a few e-shopping safety tips to protect yourself as you hunt for that perfect gift. Don’t let the time you save on travelling on jam-packed roads, fighting for parking spaces and waiting in the long cashier lines be wasted queuing at the police station.

Don’t be too “App”-y: Think twice before downloading unknown apps from third party app stores. They could come bundled with malicious software or adware. Also, read the permissions the app requires carefully before downloading.

Think before you click: Have your guard up for email and text advertising holiday deals that seem to good to be true. No matter how harmless a spam looks, avoid clicking on the links and downloading the files if you don’t know the sender.

Beware the friendly reveller: Even if the mail makes your day with its cheery message: “You have received a Christmas Greeting Card!” or “Cash for the New Year”, check before you open it. Norton has found some of these holiday mails to contain viruses and worms that will damage your computer, or worse, send you and your children to websites designed to steal your bank account details.

Look for the ‘s’: To make sure you are shopping from secure sites, look for the “s” after “http” in your browser address bar before providing personal or credit card information. Whether shopping from a smartphone, tablet or home computer, only use reputable retailers and websites.

Secure your phone: Your phone now is also your wallet these days, so take precaution with a mobile security solution to protect your phone no matter where you shop, surf or share.

by Hariati Azizan.

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Are kids safe in the virtual world?

Monday, December 9th, 2013

THE safety of children in the virtual world is something that I would like to bring to your notice.

The Internet has opened up our world to endless opportunities with the way we communicate and learn.

More than that, we have to be aware of the possible risks and dangers that come with new technology.

As teachers and parents, it is our responsibility to safeguard our children from the Internet and its resources without fear of becoming a victim to “corrupt hunters” in the virtual world.

Dangers and threats in the virtual world can be in the form of cyber-bullying, pornography, violence, racial abuse and hate. Users can also become addicts to online gaming and can be easily deceived.

Despite all these negative factors, do we have an education system that is able to teach students both in primary or secondary schools regarding the safety of the virtual world?

These days, children and even toddlers are able to use electronic tablet devices with ease.

Being young, they are ignorant and have no concerns about the safety of the virtual world.

For that matter, even adults are just as ignorant about the virtual world? They have become victims and are tormented in many ways.

We should perhaps come up with a subject or chapter that teaches students about the virtual world.

It should touch on cyber safety, awareness and the precautions they should take. This would empower them and help them deal with the virtual world more rationally.

The subject Kemahiran Hidup (Living Skills) should perhaps include a section on the virtual world so as to keep students abreast with new developments and technology.

Schoolchildren these days are not as “hands-on” as the generations before them.They are unable to saw wood or darn a dress although they may be savvy enough to pick up a thing or two from YouTube.

by Lau Teng Lye, Penang.

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Enter no-touch computing

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

NEXT WAVE: Touchless control, a new way of interacting with computers, will make its way into devices, writes Chandra Devi Renganayar.

HP ENVY17 Leap Motion Special Edition Notebook.

THE buzz now is about touch computing but in a couple of years, consumers will be able to use motion gestures to navigate and access functions on computers.

Whatever you did with keyboards, mice and touch screens to take charge of your PC will be possible with just a wave, swipe, grab or poke motion.

Touchless control or the ability to contol your laptop with your eyes or your hands is not far off as PC manufacturers are already testing aspects of this technology.

Leap Motion, a company that manufactures and markets a hardware sensor device that supports hand and finger motions as input, has entered into partnerships with PC makers Asus and HP to embed its technology into their computers.

In September, HP rolled out its first laptop with Leap Motion technology, the HP ENVY17 Leap Motion Special Edition Notebook.

It has the Leap Motion micro sensor technology embedded below the keyboard allowing easy 3D control for apps such as gaming, making music and education.

YTL Communications, Intel Malaysia to produce 4G laptops, tablet solutions for education sector

Friday, December 6th, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Communications Sdn Bhd has teamed up with Intel Malaysia to roll out 4G laptops and tablet solutions for the education sector in the country.

YTL Group of Companies Managing Director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said the collaboration is aimed to equip all primary and secondary government schools across Malaysia with high-speed 4G Internet connectivity.

This programme seeks to deliver a cloud-bases virtual learning platform and high-speed Internet connectivity to 10,000 schools nationwide, he told reporters after the two companies signed a collaborative agreement to accelerate progress in the 1BestariNet Programme.

“At YTL Communications, we believe that access to knowledge via quality Internet connectivity should be readily available to all Malaysians, particularly Malaysia’s next generation.

“We’ve been working to equip more than 10,000 primary and secondary government schools nationwide with high-speed 4G Internet connectivity on our Yes 4G network and the Frog Virtual Learning Environment through 1BestariNet programme,” he said.

1BestariNet, introduced by the Education Ministry, is the first programme on this scale aimed at furthering the long-term success of the education transformation goals.

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Nationwide network for education

Monday, November 11th, 2013

BY THE end of the year, all schools — primary and secondary — under the Education Ministry are expected to be connected to a single, cloud-based learning platform and have high-speed 4G Internet connectivity under the 1BestariNet initiative.

As one of the 11 shifts in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the initiative’s aim includes bridging the digital divide between rural and urban schools.

Under 1BestariNet, all schools under the Education Ministry will have access to a cloud-based learning platform: the Frog Virtual Learning Environment (VLE); and have high-speed 4G Internet connectivity.

“Thanks to 1BestariNet, there will no longer be any gap between rural and urban areas. We want to democratise education,” said Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan who was at the official launch of the 1BestariNet Frog VLE Roadshow in Muar recently.

“(It) gives the opportunity to everyone to access ICT, allowing students in urban and rural areas access to international resources,” he said.

He added that the system would constantly be updated and improved based on feedback from users (teachers and students).

Kamalanathan admitted that there were some difficulties setting up the network at certain schools due to issues such as distance or network disruption.

He said they would look for solutions, adding that this was one of the areas where public-private partnerships might play a role.

by Jeannette Goon.

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An app-solute class experience

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Getting connected: Students of SJK (C) Sentul demonstrating the Chinese Smart School courseware to Yap (second from right) at the launching of the project.

Getting connected: Students of SJK (C) Sentul demonstrating the Chinese Smart School courseware to Yap (second from right) at the launching of the project.

TEACHERS and students of Class 4M in SJK(C) Sentul have of late been enjoying more lively and exciting teaching lessons with a boost in their grades and attitude towards learning to boot.

They had been chosen to pilot the “Learning in the Cloud” Project that utilises technology to enable teaching and learning beyond the physical classroom and improve learning outcomes.

In partnership with SJK(C) Sentul, YTL Communications, FrogAsia and CSS Management carried out a pilot initiative to provide the national curriculum via the Frog VLE and Chromebooks.

The project was launched by Deputy Education Minister Datuk Mary Yap together with YTL Communications executive director Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng, YTL Communications CEO Wing K Lee, CSS Management Sdn Bhd CEO Thomas Chee Kong Yong and SJK(C) Sentul Board of Governors chairman Eddie Heng Hong Chai.

The “Learning in the Cloud” Project is in line with the vision of 1BestariNet, a project by the Education Ministry to equip over 10,000 schools in Malaysia with high-speed YES 4G Internet and the Frog VLE to make learning more engaging and effective.

“This ‘Learning in the Cloud’ project is in line with the Education Ministry’s efforts in encouraging students, teachers and parents to come together and accept technology into the classroom, and include it as part of the education process,” said Yap.

“It is exciting to know that as part of this project, every student is able to use the Frog VLE to learn all their core subject lessons through Chinese Smart School courseware developed by CSS Holdings,” she added.

Heng stated that teachers and students had adapted very well with teachers carrying out their lessons in “a joyful and lively manner”.

“In the last six weeks, the school has seen an increase in student engagement in the classroom and increased efficiency in work done by students. This in return is making the teachers enjoy teaching their lessons more,” he said.

Students enjoyed the interactive software, improved academic results and lighter school bags.

by Rebecca Rajaendram.

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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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