Archive for the ‘Technologies’ Category

Learn to benefit from tech

Monday, October 7th, 2019

Gobind visiting Sunway University’s iLab before the talk.

THE Communications and Multimedia Ministry is making sure that all schools are wired up with Internet speeds suitable for future-driven content.

Conventional jobs are being taken over by machines. We will have to look at re-skilling a huge section of society and the workforce so that they can keep up with the change, its minister Gobind Singh Deo said.

“We’re going to have different jobs in future. There’s an urgent need for us to figure out and re-configure our education system. That comes under the Education Minister but my ministry is responsible for building the infrastructure,” he told StarEdu before the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (Asli) “Towards Media Freedom and Combating Fake News in Malaysia” talk at Sunway University on Sept 26.

He said education is key to Malaysians benefiting from Internet connectivity and the ministry is looking at how it can bring education, in respect of technology, to schools.

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), he said, has come up with MyDigitalMaker – a programme that brings computer programming, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, to classrooms.

“It gets students excited about technology and what it has to offer. We’re building on that now. Many people have approached us asking if we are prepared to expand the programme, so MDEC is looking into that.”

He said the ministry is also hoping to bring some international programming schools here.

“We’ve looked at different programming schools around the world. I’ve seen a few that are very exciting.

“Hopefully we can bring them to Malaysia because computer programming schools are popular these days. We’re not going to say who they are now because discussions are ongoing but I’d like to see more focus on connectivity and e-learning systems in our education system.”

He said education in technology isn’t just limited to the young – it’s across the board. Even those with degrees and are already working, and the elderly, need to learn how they can use tech to their advantage. If given connectivity and infrastructure, they can use tech to improve their livelihood.

He said conversations about what tech can do and how people can use smartphones and devices like tablets and computers in a way that benefits them, must take place. Besides using these devices to surf the Internet, watch videos and go on social media, the public must look at how tech can improve their lives.

In the past, prices of broadband were very high, so the ministry’s push to make sure prices come down and speeds go up was to enable more people to start using broadband.

We are moving to a time where everybody will be dependent on technology. People need to be connected, he said.

“I envision a Malaysia in which we have quality broadband and connectivity across the country. And if you have access to the Internet, you’ll need to know how to use technology to your benefit. So infrastructure, technology and education are equally important.

“For example, look at e-commerce platforms – how do you learn about fintech and the different areas which will impact your daily lives using the Internet. That’s what MDEC is trying to do,” he said, urging telcos to find more ways of assisting different communities such as the disabled.

The ministry, he said, is in discussions with telcos on sponsoring educational programmes or providing facilities for these groups to have better access to technology.

“I met a group of people who were using e-commerce to run businesses. That initiative was run by a non-governmental organisation and it was very useful because many people with different abilities came, learned how to trade online and were able to make a decent amount of money from it.

“I’ve asked some of the telcos to see whether they can assist by scaling up important programmes like these and maybe even offering tuition classes to educate the public,” he said, adding that the companies have been very supportive.

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Print media has to adopt interesting features, digital paper is the future

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

New Straits Times Group Editor Rashid Yusof (centre) speaking to participants at a talk at Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) campus in Pekan, Pahang. -NSTP/Muhd Asyraf Sawal.

PEKAN: Print media still remains the platform for authentic news and continues to adopt old-fashioned journalism practices.

Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) Senior Publication Officer, Muhammad Azli Shukri said despite massive reforms in journalism with the emergence of social media, people still have faith in mainstream media, including newspapers to provide authorised and genuine news reports.

He said a challenge the mainstream media is facing now is to make their content attractive to entice readers and lure youngsters.

“Traditional mainstream print media still practises the five Ws and one H (who, what, when, where, why and how), so on most occasions, readers will have all their questions answered. However, social media only provides quick updates and at times, many questions are left unanswered.

“These days, news articles should be accompanied with colourful graphics which will make the presentation of a report more attractive and allow readers to have a quick read. Including videos and audio with online news articles will certainly provide readers with better understanding,” he said when met after a talk by New Straits Times Group Editor Rashid Yusof at UMP’s Pekan campus, here, today.

Azli, who handles the publication for UMP’s in house research, admitted the younger generation no longer read lengthy news articles and preferred to only understand the gist of a story.

“This is where graphics, video and audio related to a certain topic will be useful. They will watch the video, listen to the audio and read the graphics to have a quick understanding. A news report accompanied by attractive pictures, graphics, video and audio will be able to attract more readers.

“I find the print media have become more creative lately in presenting their ideas. Besides the news report, they have detailed graphics along with other opinions… a catchy front page lay-out will also be able to attract readers,” he said.

Meanwhile UMP’s Industrial Management faculty senior lecturer Dr Puteri Fadzline Muhamad Tamyez said she subscribes to the digital (Epaper) edition to keep herself updated with the latest in local and global news.

“I usually sit between meals or before going to bed to read newspapers including NST, Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia. I find my day incomplete if I do not read the digital version of the newspapers.

“I never trust social media and have even deactivated my Facebook account. News shared on social media cannot be trusted and remains unverified, and at times raise more questions than answers,” she said, adding that digital newspapers are set to become a must-subscribe in the future.

Puteri Fadzline said she is surprised that these days, both the young and old blindly share news through social media without verifying its contents.

UMP’s public relations and media officer Mimi Rabita Abdul Wahit said the campus continuously encouraged its undergraduates to cultivate a reading habit.

He said students are advised not only to read materials related to their studies but also various sources of mainstream newspapers to ensure they are kept up-to-date.

Meanwhile Rashid said it is important to continue cultivating the reading habit especially among youngsters as many seem to keep their eyes glued to their smartphones these days for updates from social media which sadly ends up as unverified news.

He also encouraged university lecturers to share their research findings in newspapers as it could help disseminate vital information to readers.

“There might be people who can benefit or find the respective piece of news on a certain topic interesting. Do not assume readers may not find it beneficial, instead share whatever gained during the study (research) and let them (readers) judge for themselves,” he said.

By TN Alagesh

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E-learning to kick off next year

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Fun day out: Maszlee (with sunglasses) together with officials, teachers and differently abled children at the launching of the Merdeka Special Charity Run held at Xtreme Park in Pasir Gudang. — Bernama

PASIR GUDANG: Teachers in Malaysia will soon be able to teach their students through recorded materials from other outstanding teachers from next year onwards as part of the Education Ministry’s e-learning initiative.

Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the method will be introduced in schools as soon as possible as part of the ministry’s effort to speed up e-learning.

The Simpang Renggam MP pointed out that the method has already been tabled to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad several months back, and it was intended to ensure teachers would not be confined to their classrooms when teaching.

“We have several platforms that are currently being developed, and this is Dr Mahathir’s aspiration.

“The ministry is trying to start this programme next year and would make the announcement when the time is right, and maybe Dr Mahathir will officiate it,” Maszlee said when met after officiating the Merdeka Special Charity Run held at Xtreme Park here yesterday.

In a recent visit to Japan, Dr Mahathir was quoted by Bernama as saying that the government was looking into the possibility of using recorded lessons by selected teachers to be shared with other schools.

The method was aimed at, among others, simplifying and enhancing the quality of teaching back home, he said.

“We are trying to simplify teaching because (not all) teachers are the same, so what we want to do is make use of good teachers, record their lessons, and use the recorded lessons for other schools where teachers will guide the students,” he said.

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Bringing the world into the classroom

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

Students listen attentively to the briefing for news reporting via the Instagram competition. NSTP/SADDAM YUSOFF.

THERE is no denying that social media usage has a powerful presence in young people’s lives.

Recently, in a collaboration with the New Straits Times, a News Reporting competition via Instagram took place at #MySchoolGoals International Festival.

It saw 26 students producing news reports that were complemented with interesting photos and videos on the social media network platform.

Hosted by SMK TTDI Jaya, Shah Alam, its Language Department head and #MySchoolGoals programme manager Adibah Omar said: “Some educators refuse to include social media in education, thinking that it will only be harmful to students.

“What we should do is show students how to use social media responsibly for educational purposes. If you can’t beat them, join them,” she added.

With this in mind, Adibah decided to elevate the usual school co-curriculum carnival to a bigger scale.

Themed “Bringing the World to Your Classroom”, the inaugural #MySchoolGoals International Festival attracted students from schools in Malaysia and neighbouring Asian countries such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and even Saudi Arabia.

With its aim of cultivating a love for reading and promoting a positive learning environment, students also found themselves engaging in other competitions and activities such as Cool Coding, MySchoolGoals Idol, 3R Competition and the Young Adult Book Fair.

Alfin Nurfadhilah Ramli, 16, from Al Azhar Senior High School, Indonesia, said that he was happy to be a part of the festival.

“It was my first time joining a news writing competition. I was also very happy to get to socialise with students from other countries.”

Nur Aina Nazurah Mohamad Imran, a student from SMK TTDI Jaya, who clinched the gold award for News Reporting, revealed that she initially lacked the confidence to write.

“I decided to give it a shot anyway. In order to build better self esteem, I knew that I must be ready to step out of my comfort zone.

“Through the competition, I was able to improve my English language skills and gain new and exciting experiences.”

Surprised to emerge as the winner, Nur Aina Nazurah added: “I was overwhelmed with joy. Winning this competition has undoubtedly motivated me to continue writing in the future.”

Angellyn Loh Jeng Man, 17, who took second place, revealed that her curiosity about a reporter’s functions spurred her to participate.

“This competition was the perfect opportunity for me to dig deeper into journalism. In my passion for writing, I was supported by my teachers and parents. News writing is nothing like writing an article in school. I never knew there were so many important details necessary for a news report until I tried writing one myself,” said Loh.

Another student, Anton Yeoh Zhen Feng, 14, pointed out that a briefing given by a New Straits Times journalist was very helpful.

“I learnt that before writing a news report, we should research the topic, compile all the facts, interview key people of interest, start writing the lead and do a fact-check before publishing.”

The highlight of the festival was the largest Book Swapping event in Malaysia where 4,584 students exchanged books and made new friends.

SMK TTDI Jaya student, Ayra Amani Zulkifli, 16, said that her love of books was the reason behind her participation.

“I developed a keen interest in reading after borrowing a friend’s book back in primary school. Aside from romance and young adult genres, I enjoy reading biographies such as Princess Diana – Her True Story. So how could I miss the largest book swap in the country? I will cherish this experience for a long time.”

She added: “The festival has helped me a lot as a student because it has enabled me to enhance my communication skills and develop leadership qualities.”

Finalist Aiden Lim Kaiven, 14, from SMK TTDI Jaya, who participated in the Cool Coding competition, pointed out that games are educational too.

The Cool Coding competition required students to complete a game-based coding exercise. “I joined the competition because playing games is fun and it keeps my mind active. I did not have any prior experience in coding. So I strongly believe that this competition should be in the next festival,” Lim said.

To shed light on the issue of plastic pollution in Malaysia, students showcased their innovative skills in the 3R Competition. SK TTDI Jaya student Janna Amaneena Johan, 10 and her group members invented a lamp made of plastic spoons and bottles.

She revealed: “After watching tutorials on YouTube and with the help of our teachers and parents, we invented this lamp, inspired by pine trees.”

Students were also involved in the performing arts through competitions such as MySchoolGoals Idol and #MySchoolGoals Model Search.

Ain-Nur Fakhira Roslan,17, who won bronze for her rendition of Semakin by Siti Sarah, in the MySchoolGoals Idol, said: “I love to sing as it expresses my inner thoughts and feelings.

“Getting in the top three was beyond my expectations. It was a tough ride, so winning bronze was a proud moment for me.”

Placing third, she also received the offer of free vocal lessons at The Academy of Recording Arts worth RM1,000. Ain-Nur Fakhira plans to take up the offer after completing her Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia.

Another participant, Nur Alyssya Yusoff, 15, decided she would show off her singing skills. “It was a great opportunity for me to do something that I love. I am very grateful as it was my first time participating in a singing competition.”

According to Adibah, it was a great feat for a government school like SMK TTDI Jaya to pull off hosting a festival of such magnitude. “I just wanted to provide opportunities for students to shine. As a teacher of a class with 40 students, I haven’t been able to send everyone to represent the school in various competitions.

“So this festival is an avenue to bring the world to them. Students were able to join each activity based on their talents, interests and creativity,” said Adibah.

“I would also like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Education Ministry for promoting our festival,” said a grateful Adibah.

By Rayyan Rafidi.

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We can beat handphone addiction by playing games together

Friday, July 26th, 2019
Research shows that Internet and mobile phone addictions are as addictive as drugs. – FILE PIC

FOR some people, using phones has become a psychological disorder.

They can’t stop looking and checking their phones.

Research shows that Internet and mobile phone addictions are as addictive as drugs.

Psychologists and neuroscientists at the University of Southern California, the United States, said “mobile phone addiction has behavioural similarities to hard drug use”.

They said the addiction forces the brain to “release dopamine, the reward-and-pleasure neurotransmitter”.

Hence, this is the reason why we feel good when we use our phones and feel something is missing when we are not using them.

Society must reduce Internet and mobile phone obsession.

One way to do this is to read books and play games with our children.

Before the existence of mobile phones, children and adults played games, such as hand-clap, batu seremban and congkak .

To encourage children to play these games, we need to put down our mobile phones and play with them.

Other than that, we can play board games like snake and ladder, chess, Monopoly and Scrabble.

Playing these games is fun and they stimulate our mind.

They encourage interaction as they are played in pairs or group.

In a jump-rope game, one has to jump in sync with the rhythm of the swinging rope held by two friends.

Most traditional games make us run around.

Playing this way is more fun and improves our social skills.

It also fosters friendship between players.

If it is played by neighbours, the neighbourhood becomes close- knit. However, neighbours are now distant from each other.

A reason of this could our Internet and mobile phone addictions. An activity than can reduce it is embroidery, which improves our brain functions.

Learning a language too engages our mind.

By Dr Megawati Omar .

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Digital gaming industry can generate huge returns

Sunday, July 21st, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia needs to continue to focus on the digital gaming industry as it can help generate a lucrative income for the country, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (pic).

He said the industry had improved vastly alongside other digital entertainment industries such as film making and animation series that have raised the country’s stature in the world.

He noted that in 2017, some 60 local game-making studios recorded exports worth RM600 million.

“Apart from the ability to generate billions of ringgit for the national economy, it can also create employment opportunities, especially for young people,” he said in his speech at the Kre8tif! @Schools programme, here, Saturday.

According to him, positioning Malaysia as a hub for the digital content creation industry will also attract more foreign investment.

Gobind said the country actually had great but lesser-known talents such as Wan Hazmer Wan Abd Halim, who was the lead designer for the “Final Fantasy XV” video game.

“Previously Wan Hazmer worked in Japan with a world-renowned gaming company, but he has now returned to Malaysia to help local talents,” the Minister said.

Gobind also congratulated Animonsta Studios for their latest animated movie, BoBoiBoy: Movie 2, releasing on August 8, which will also be hitting cinemas in Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In the meantime, he emphasised that the development of the digital economy in the country should be inclusive so as not to sideline the disabled community.

“Let’s work together to build a Malaysia that is digitally inclusive,” he said, citing his Ministry’s co-operation with telecommunications companies such as Celcom, Maxis, Digi, UMobile and YTL to introduce special mobile phone packages for people with disabilities.

He said the special prepaid and post-paid packages were very beneficial to the group, as it would give them the opportunity to use the Internet as a platform to trade, and help them live more independently.

Commenting further, Gobind said the Kre8tif! @Schools programme for special needs students introduced by the Ministry and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), would allow them to learn about creative technologies such as ‘3D modelling’ and animation.

Kre8tif! @Schools, he said, was a commitment by both his Ministry and MDEC to actively develop the creative digital content industry.

“We have many other programmes in the pipeline to ensure the Malaysian digital economy continues to grow and the people can enjoy mutual prosperity,” he said.

Meanwhile, at a press conference after the event, he said the Ministry would take appropriate measures to help film industry players in the country to venture into animation.

Don’t blame violence on video games

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Video games are a source of relaxation and entertainment, and players get connected with a wide variety of people.

PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) has nothing to do with violence and terrorism. But violent video games involving shooting are very popular with teenagers.

There are many arguments on how video games influence teenagers to become aggressive.

Some people believe the terrorist attacks in Christchurch were caused by violence in video games. The reason is because the perpetrator, who live-streamed the mass shooting, filmed it in a way similar to a first-person shooter video game.

However, the relation between violent video games and acts of aggression is debatable.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman once said: “Even when there was no PUBG, violence still occurred. So do not be quick to blame it on one thing.”

But he was quick to point out that violence should be condemned by everyone because it contradicted the humanitarian principles steadfastly held by Malaysians and communities worldwide.

He said video games had nothing to do with the Christchurch violence and whether shooting games existed or not, some people would still be violent if they already held extremist views.

In my opinion, even if PUBG gets banned, players would find a way around to play it and fans would play other games with a similar shooting style.

Video games are a source of relaxation and entertainment, and players get connected with a wide variety of people.

I believe online games are not at fault.

Video games are part of e-sports and all players develop their skills from there.


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Thoughts on working remotely

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

DID you know that while many of us have jobs that require commuting to our workplace, there are those who start their workday from the comfort of their homes?

Technological advancements have enabled professionals to work remotely, and with the changing perception of what defines a ‘workplace’, the remote work movement is growing fast around the world as more employers are opting to hire remote workers.

Whether they work for companies that allow remote work or are freelancing, the essence of being remote workers is that as long as they have the necessary apps, a laptop, and a reliable Internet connection, they can work outside a traditional office environment, be it their home, a café, or a co-working space.

Remote work benefits in several ways. Mainly, remote workers have greater control over their work and life because they are able to establish their own working time and schedule activities for family, friends, the community, and themselves.

They also can achieve high productivity as they tend to be more focused on the job when there are no office distractions and they understand the privilege of working outside a permanent workspace.

If they are working with professionals from different parts of the world, remote workers have the opportunity to experience different cultures and perspectives as they collaborate with their international colleagues.

And for those who work best in a co-working space, they can boost their creativity and networking by meeting and socialising with other remote workers from different fields.

However, becoming a remote worker isn’t as easy as it seems and is therefore not for everyone, for it takes immense self-discipline and organisational capabilities to thrive in such a working style.

For one, remote workers need to learn not to procrastinate or get easily distracted, since they are not working within a traditional office structure.

If they don’t allocate breaks for themselves, remote workers could also risk experiencing burnout, which can be detrimental for their health and well-being.

They must also set boundaries between their work and life by notifying their employers as well as their social circle of their work schedule.

These boundaries can inform not only those who are unaware of the remote work concept, but also those who assume that remote workers are available at all times on the basis that they don’t work in a typical office setting.

And when there isn’t a lot of videoconferencing with their colleagues, remote workers must possess effective communication skills, especially via emails, text messages, and phone calls, to avoid misunderstandings.

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Govt to focus on digital infrastructure development

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Al-Ishsal (left) briefing Shafie (right) on digital infrastructure development in Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: The state government will be focusing on its digital infrastructure development on three areas, namely industrial, tourism and education.

Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob said his ministry was given the responsibility as the exco at the central level to look into the digital infrastructure development.

“A number of places will be the focus of this particular development, such as Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park (KKIP), Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Sipitang and the new port in Kudat.

“Apart from that, good system and digital infrastructure are also needed in at tourism centres, especially at famous islands around Semporna, Mount Kinabalu area, Maliau Basin and Long Pasia that will be developed into a tourism spot.

“Urban areas will be also developed as medical tourism, education hub… and the focus will be from Papar to Beaufort areas,” he said.

Yusof also hoped all errors in the digital infrastructure will be solved as soon as possible, in line with the needs of Industrial Revolution 4.0 to evolve the 3G, 4G and 5G development according to  investors’ needs.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Al-Ishsal Ishak said his discussion with the state government was productive and had gone smoothly.

According to him, MCMC and the state government will be collaborating to develop the needed infrastructure at the areas identified, in line with MCMC’s goal to develop National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan.

“This plan, which combines the use of optical fibres and wireless connectivity, targets the achievement of 98 per cent baseline coverage in inhabited areas by 2023 with a minimum bandwidth of 30 Mbps.

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100 public varsity students to get real-world exposure thanks to Intel partnership.

Friday, June 14th, 2019

PUTRAJAYA: There is a new internship programme designed to increase the employability of Malaysian graduates by giving them real-world exposure in the constantly evolving electronics and microelectronics field.

The first batch of the MoE-Intel Elite Internship Programme will see 100 public university students gain exposure to industry standard chip-design software over 10 weeks.

This will include hands-on lab work to ensure the students are able to use the tools effectively and efficiently.

Intel Microelectronics (M) Sdn Bhd Malaysia Design Centre general manager Suresh Kumar said 12 lecturers from those universities will also be trained by Intel under the train-the-trainer programme to equip them with industry knowledge on silicon design.

During the launch of the programme, he said this is to ensure the sustainability of the programme once the pioneer batch has completed their internship.

“We want these lecturers to go back to the universities, share with their fellow academicians, as well as scale beyond the original 100 students,” he said during the launch of the programme at the Higher Education Department Friday (June 14).

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the programme was specially tailored to equip undergraduates with the knowledge of industry-standard electronic-design-automation (EDA) software of Synopsys, focusing on the integrated circuit (IC) design.

“I would like to urge all students to grab this golden opportunity and absorb all the knowledge transfer in the industries,” he said during his keynote speech, adding that this is also the time for them to enhance their problem-solving skills.

“At the same time, it is hoped that this programme will increase the percentage of Graduate Employability (GE) among the graduates in the engineering field.”

Maszlee also said the selected students are currently pursuing their electronic or microelectronic engineering studies at six universities – Universiti Malaysia Perlis, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

By Rebecca Rajaendram
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