Sunday, December 30, 2007


Yes, FaceBook is a social networking platform that brings people around together.

When got the first invitation from Paul, it was more like an obligation to go in? Why? Because the purpose is to test out how the platform can work out to serve/support a COP. Keeping that in mind...signed up... and realised! ahha... I had one account already!

Found the platform can be confusing, even though am quite comfortable in navigating the various sections... probably because it's so 'flexible' that one can 'lost thread' of where we are! Nevertheless, found a few "plus" points of FaceBook... so far:
  • Found a couple of friends and old colleauges! And through their network, discover (or 're-found') some others....
  • The photo album feature! Yes, I took advantage of that to upload the photos of the trip - in particular CN and others... so that they could download their photos effortlessly! It provides a pretty huge storage space.
  • Some interesting applications such as "Interactive Friends", "Fun Wall" that we can draw graffiti on others' walls...
  • There's probably more potential to be discovered...

Oh yes, also noticed there're a couple of "getting-to-know-thyself-more" applications; however, some requires the user to 'spam' others first! Hm... not an ethnical way to get more people onboard!

Polishing my Blogging Skills...

It seems that my interest on 'blogging' has not declined... instead, have been finding ways to sharpen my skills (I mean, technical ones) to enhance the look and feel of my blogs.

Well, have been introduced to other kinds of blogs (eg. edublogs)... however, being comfortable with blogger, I've not thought of migrating it yet... as far as it can do a good job, I'll probably remain loyal to it.

Because of the recent trip, I attempted to include a few new features there:
  • Embedding a video clip in the blog posting. In fact, I already know how to insert a file to the side panel (under Template). However, I am always impressed by how Jason being able to embed the videoclips at the posting after visiting his blog... At last, manage to play around with it and successful embedded one clip (click HERE).
  • Of course, for the next time, I shall try the direct upload (using the icon) instead of uploading the clip to YouTube first.
  • Uploading multiple pictures... as one image! Hahaha... that's just a simple trick - organise them in the PowerPoint slide then turn it into an image file!

Another thing has nothing to do with blogging, but to do simple movie editing! Yes, using the Windows Movie Maker! Yes, it's so simple... discovered one advantage of doing this: The file size is greatly reduced!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Vivocity Self-Discovery Trip (30 November 2007)

  1. an inward journey to find our inner self
  2. time-out to reflect upon the year so that we may appreciate what and who we are, our purpose in the whole scheme of things and what we are going to do about it
In the "task sheet":
  • 3 things I observe
  • 2 things I learnt about myself
  • What am I going to do about it?

The last time being sent to a departmental store, IKEA trip several years' ago was part of the school's programme on Innovative Protocol. For that, there's a very simple mission to accomplish - observe and direct the ideas for improvement and innovation in the school. So, it was very focused! And of course, the big group moved together, it's just like the school excursion. There can also learn from the "seasoned" housewives tips in keeping the house.

This time, found it a bit more challenging... hahaha... based on the title: Self-Discovery... hahaha... YES & NO. All the while, it's easy to do something for something/someone... how often for self? Hm... This is same as easy to point out to others what's right, what's wrong... but not easy to point out to ourselves... blindspot comes in... Of course, another difference is, I "set-off" on my own - as needed to tidy up some work before the 'exile'... hahaha... Indeed, this is just like I went on a solo trip (overseas) when I have to plan what to do, and how to do... :D

Armed with the camera and map... I started my exploration...

To answer to the questions in the Task Sheet...

3 things I observe:
  • (i) Space! Big yet small - There's so much space in Vivocity - it's huge (supposedly to be one of the biggest mall in Singapore)... however, it's small enough for people to bump into each other... eg. I left office much later, but bumped into Sally and Syafeena after my lunch at Food Republic and I bump into Soh Tin at the MRT station!
  • Learning Point: The world is really really small! The probability of meeting people we know is high - Given the amount of space, the variety of shopping experiences the mall can offer. A point to note: This is unlike conferences or events that we attended, where people from the same field came together.
  • (ii) Revolution of the Old concepts. There are 2 instances:
  • At Food Republic - what caught my attention was not just the deco,but the push-cart sales! The dim-sum trolley that goes round like the Chinese yam-cha restaurant. Hey, this happened in the food court??? Normally we only see push carts ferrying used receptacles... Moreover, it has extended beyond dim-sum, but also cold drinks and tissues, etc... So enterprising - bringing service to the 'doorstep'! This indirectly creates another opportunity to draw $ from the consumers!
  • Learning Point: Ideas are never too old... it's a matter how we package them, in the way receptive to the audience. For example, the dim-sum trolley was there for don't know how many years... but all the while is confined to the restaurant. So, why not food court? Next, apart from dim-sum, what else will consumers in the food court need or like to have? Just look around... In fact, this idea of bringing service to the doorstep reminds me of another old practice - In those days where I stayed at the 12-floor flat at Lavender Street. Every evening, one middle-age woman would carry 2 baskets of bread and walked from one level to another to sell bread - Ah... the familiar "ro---ti---"
  • At the outdoor playground - hm... should I say, the roof-top playground? Remember the familiar see-saw? The typical idea is, it's a wooden plank with its centre mounted on a pivot. This one bands in an arc! Can't believe my eyes! but it works exactly the same as a see-saw! Another amazing thing saw in the playground was the pony that is manually powered! What? Manually powered yet children love it? Look at it carefully, to get the 'animal' moving, the child has to step and push the foot-paddle... hm... in a way, they 'participated' in getting the animal react. Compared to those musical ponies, it certainly adds some degree of authencity.

  • Learning Point: Catch up with time to remain current. Old ideas can be good for current application... but to be packaged so that it can blend in with time. To do that, think out-of-the-box. There's where innovation and creativity come in. The old see-saw has been there for years... its concept never change - rectangular piece mounted at the centre, there it goes up and down, but the material that made the see-saw has improved over years (or shall I say, it has 'upgraded' from wood to ...). However, that's still the old piece of 'toy'. Using the same concept, but package it differently... it's entirely new! I believe it's not called the see-saw anymore. Similarly, the pony that goes round!
  • (iii) Service: Found this 'map' at the 'entrance' of food republic. First time I saw such artwork for a food court. I would draw a parallel to the menu that's normally placed at the door of any restaurant, so that potential customers have browse through before they decide to walk in or not. Good idea! It provides an overview of what it offers, saving our time to walk-and-see :D
  • Learning Point: Make information easily accessible for people (customers in this case). Adopt existing practices (which I believe it's from the information directory that most of the malls have) and enhance the visual. This is appealing. It reminds me of maps of places of interest!

2 things I learnt about myself:

  • Doing the same thing, Having a different personal response: Slowing down the pace and taking time to look around, I connected what I'm doing to what I did in the good old days; but now have a different feel of it:
  • Visiting the Bookshop. It's the first time I go to "PageOne". The feel and look - like Kinokoniya - comes with a classy artistic look-and-feel. The steps, the wood, the colour. What a contrast to bookshops I knew of about 30 years ago. That reminded me of those primary school days that I liked to spend time in the bookshop near the market, reading chinese stories books. Haha... since then was already reading Chinese books... er... they're simply more appealing. Bookshops have evolved over the years. Then came EPD bookshop at Bedok Interchange in my secondary school days... and slowely venture to the town area - MPH - no, it was not that common yet, but the one at Stamford Road... and eventually bookshops like POPULAR, TIMES, BORDERS, etc... The experience was really different - the range of titles bookshops carry, the deco of the shop, etc... The experience has changed. Just wondering... Has the consumer changed the way the business run or is it the way businesses are run nowadays (becoming more competitive) has changed the way consumers shop and raise consumers' expectations? I notice my habit, my intent (to visit bookshops) have changed over the years... When young, it's the 'love' to read that brought me to the bookshops... then it was the range of stationery that drew me there... yes, simply amazed by the range... they're so cute!!! Now, it's the "needs" - to be equipped with the necessary info (especially when making overseas trips) and to get in touch with what's hot in the field.
  • The way I shop. Discovered the $2 shop DAISO... attractive! It sells the Japanese goodies. In the younger days, will certainly get something - it's cheap, isn't it? So, why not? OK, that was the mentality. Now, would think again... do I really need that? and well, when I need, I can simply drop by to get again... Of course, I don't practise this when overseas since I don't go back to the same place (that often). I now think twice before spending money, but it's differentiated shopping practice!
  • Taking Photos. I like to take photos of surroundings around me. However, I notice one thing - I'm more at ease doing this while I was overseas! Hm... Subconsciously, the 'non-local' hat helps to bring out my inner-self and it enables me to do what I wish to do... Oops!
What am I going to do about it:

  • No ideas are too old! With a creative and innovative mind, it can be relevant. Do not discard old practices totally. A different package can help :D
  • Borrow ideas that may not be directly to the field we work in.

What I got for myself...

  • I had a good meal... the food wasn't that fanastic... but the observations made in the food court that brought about new ideas :D Oh yes, it's the first time I bother to keep the receipts - discover anything? There're consistencies and inconsistencies though under the same management. Spot that?

  • I got myself a pair of shoes! Yes, for my trip to Switzerland. Thanks to the advice of colleagues around the lunch table the day before. It's the first time I shop at Timberland - it's known for the apparels it carried - for outdoor activities. I ordered the pair at Vivocity branch (since it did not have my size) and collected the pair from the Centrepoint branch in the same evening. Well, with a 30% discount followed by another 15% discount, I'm happy :D

Click HERE for more photos.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Learning & Reflections @ 4th ICET (21-22 Nov 2007)

Official website: Home Page, Programme
Conference Blog:


Into the Learning...

1. Keynote Address 1: Preparing Students for the Digital Age (by RADM (NS) Ronnie Tay, IDA)

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2. Keynote Address 2: Immersive, Collaborative Simulations and Neomillenial Learning Styles: Implications for Education (by Prof Christopher Dede, Harvard's School of Graduate Education, USA)

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3. Keynote Address 3: 2020 Vision of Future Learning

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4. IDA Track 2A: Serious Games for Learning - Industry Sharing on Development of Games for Learning (Siddharth Jain, Playware Studios Asia, S'pore)

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5. Specialty Track 6A: 1-to1 computing - (i) Strategies in Adopting 1-to-1 computing: Our Experience in Crescent Girls' School (ii) Case Examples of Lessons Taught in a 1-to-1 Computing Environment (by Crescent Girls' School)

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6. Specialty Track 6A: 1-to1 computing - (iii) Collaboration and Management Tools to Support 1-to-1 Computing (by Lim Soon Jin, HeuLab Pte Ltd)

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7. Keynote Address 4: Emerging Trends in Interactive Digital Media and their Impact on Education (by AP Leong Mun Kew, Institute of Infocomm Research, S'pore)

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8. Gaming Session: Active Learning through Gaming (by AP Angelican Khoo, NIE S'pore)

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9. IDA Track 2C: iLAB2015 - Sharing by FutureLab's "Teachers as Innovators" Project

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10. IDA Track 2C: iLAB2015 - Sharing on iLAB2015 Initiative in Singapore

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11. Researcher Track 1D: The 3Cs in Educational Technology: Connect, Communicate and Collaborate (by Dr Manu Kapur, NIE S'pore)

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12. Researcher Track 1D: Wikis ,Blogs, Aggregrators and Office 2.0 - Democratizing the Student Learning Process (by Mike Leishman, Newsman College, Perth)

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Exhibition by Schools

  • A total of 8 primary and 2 secondary Schools showcased their projects in the exhibition. Visited the booths of the following schools:
  • St Anthony's Primary School showcased the use of the interactive and graphic tablets for learning activities. It makes bringing technology into the classroom so much easily done.
  • What's used: Not tablet PCs, but tablet boards that are light and smooth, and no screen to get scratched! There are 2 types of tablets involved: one for teachers, which as similar to that of the tablet PC. The other one for pupils is just a scribbling pad, that pupils 'write' on it with a stylus. They can easily 'erase' what they wrote by 'rubbing' the screen with the other end of the stylus, just like they use the pencil.
  • In groups, pupils discuss and input their responses, which will be immediately displayed on the projected screen. Other groups could respond by scribbling their inputs on the graphic tablet issued to the group.
  • Teacher can also provide feedback from the interactive tablet.
  • In Hougang Primary, a group of chinese teachers developed a software to help pupils to learn chinese idioms.
  • How different it is compared to the normal learning? Shared by the pupils, idioms are usually illustrated with ancient stories (that they can't quite relate to). So, teachers get pupils to contribute their stories (based on their observations and encounters). These are translated into sentences where pupils attempt "fill in the blank" exercises.
  • Another "innovative" idea is playing the "Hide-and-Match" game. The 4 characters in the idiom is broken into 2 parts and pupils are to match the 2 cards to form the correct idiom.
  • Click HERE to see photos


This year, ICET took place at Republic Polytechnic @ Woodlands.

  • The organisers were pretty thoughtful, arranging the shuttle service to ferry participants from the MRT station to the polytechnic. AFI: It would certainly be better if there were signs at the pick-up station... though there were a few huge buses waiting there, could not see any sign indicating they were heading for RP. Also, there weren't any signage leading to the shuttle serivce pick-up point at RP.
  • Food, food, food... AFI: It's the first time there's not enough food!
  • Conference package: Except the few notes pages that come together with the programme, there wasn't any written papers! AFI: Paper not enough!
  • Something new: Conference blog & sms service to send questions to keynote speakers. Have gone to the conference blog several times, does not seem popular with the participants. Hm... the intent is not clear, probably... as a platform for participants to ask further questions? to clarify further?
  • Don't recall any feedback form issued together with the conference package... or seeing any links in the official website pertaining to feedback... Just wonder... no inputs implies no improvement needed? Then no channel for inputs implies the confidence in the execution of processes relating to the event?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Be a Cyber Savvy Parent: Stay Safe Online Seminar (17 Nov 2007, Saturday)

This afternoon, attended the seminar on Be a Cyber Savvy Parent: Stay Safe Online . Came across this from the newspapers... Though it happens in the 'unearthy' weekend afternoon... Overall, it was time well-spent - a solid 3 hours and have learnt some useful information, that I thought would be very beneficial to us, when we talk about the use of Internet and Education. This is especially so when Cyberwellness has become a hot topic in the recent weeks.

Who were the Participants? Parents and children! It's a pretty interesting encounter - first time attending workshop with young children. In fact, a couple of children, probably at upper primary - were so fluent in explaining some of the jargons - eg. avartar and trojan horses... that's really impressed me :D

The "flip" side of this is, to many of our teachers, especially those who have been in service for more than 10 years and are alien to the gaming world, they will be fearful to find such children in class. It was pretty obvious since the Baseline ICT Standards rolled out. Let alone the use of technology, many are concern over the "ICT" skills involved. What? The ICT skills involved? Are they exposed and should have been using them since the 1st Masterplan? Surprisingly, many teachers are still at 'entry level' despite we have 'sparkling' practices surfaced from schools... So now, what's more with all the strange things happening in the internet, and the kind of children we are teaching... who are breeded in such strange environment, and bring along with them strange behaviour and ways of thinking! They are not as forgiving as adults (I believe, inferring from how they are brought up nowadays and what I saw with my own eyes)... hence the interaction has to be different now... and unfortunately, it's the teachers who have to change to suit the current situation!

The seminar is jointly organised by HIP, Internet Industry Association of Singapore (iias) and Microsoft. There were several presentations in this seminar. Key points learnt from the presentations include:

(i) Making Cyberspace Safe for Our Children (Jeff Bullwinkel, Microsoft)

  • Changes brought about by the Internet: (i) The way communication takes place has changed, be it with family, friends or colleagues. (ii) The way we access to information, not just the way, and also the mode of information and the way we receive the information. Here, this information, of course, refers to movie, music that comes in the form of digital copies available via the network. (iii) Of course, internet has also become a means to learn, meet people and explore... it has widen the range and in fact, it offers a variety within the virtual world.
  • Parental Controls via Application Software: Discovered something new - that Windows Vista offers: It comes with parental controls that allows control and monitoring of activities on the computers. Well, prior to the seeing what Vista offers, am aware there are such softwares available to serve the same purpose. But, what I like is, it is so integrated - all comes in one, and more importantly, it looks user-friendly! The visual representation - a chart that looks like timetable is easy to read. Moreover, the admin can also set time limits and application restrictions.
  • Importance to raise awareness of Online Security: To tackle the threats to PC security are viruses/worms, trojan horses and spyware, suggestions steps to protect computer includes (i) Turn on the internet firewall (ii) Keep the OS up-to-date (iii) Install and maintain antivirus software and anti-spyware. This is linked to one article read recently that most people have the anti-virus software installed, however, less than 50% of these users renew and keep the software up-to-date.
  • Like the way some jargons are explained: (i) Internet Firewall - like a moat around a castle, creating a barrier between the computer and the internet. (ii) Antivirus software - like flu shots (and therefore it has to be kept up-to-date) (iii) Anti-spyware - is the computer defender that to prevent undesired surfers to lurk in to steal information.
  • 4 threats to personal online safety includes: Spams, Phishing, Hoaxes, Identify Thefts. (i) Spams are undesired email and messages that many of us encountered. This can be quite easily resolved by setting the email configuration. (ii) Phishing recently stirred up some ho-ha... several cases of were reported. Through email, victims click at the given websites to input confidential data such as userID and password. The targets were mainly banks, that include (DBS & HSBC). (iii) Hoaxes normally come in the form of email - to trick people into giving them money. In fact, just a couple of days ago, it was reported in the papers how people were tricked into giving money. Well, I think the key to all these problems is "GREED". It's really amazing that people are wiling to "give a little" for the sake of "bigger harvest". (iv) Identity Theft - a crime whereby one steals one's personal info and use it for some unlawful purpose.
  • Useful websites

(ii) An Introduction to Copyright (Koh Chia Ling, ATMD)

  • This segment is the vague-est amongst all... all because it concerns law... and therefore the lawyer has also been very careful in giving the pointers and advice...
  • 2 rules of the thumb before downloading and using any materials (especially from the internet): (i) Always read the terms and conditions - check and check.... (ii) if the T&C are not available from the site, the safest way is to write in to seek permission... of course, like what he said, if it's available in one website, it's sure available somewhere else... so, need not to stick to one!
  • That reminds me of one question from a principal last year - when we record a TV broadcast, is it alright to screen it for use. A similar question was brought up by one parent, who did volunteer work with the school, asking if it is alright to use a copy of book bought by the school, scan it so that it could be projected out for reading activity. I was surprise when Koh mentioned that the 'treatment of the case' would be different when he is not a member of the institution (ie. under MOE).
  • On the other hand, I believe that this is also one of the biggest concern of teachers back in the school!
  • The 10% guide was reinforced. However, another term comes in - ie. whether the 10% belongs to the substantial portion or not. OK, this is really vague and requires in-depth analysis - of course, it comes with the "subjective" element!
  • One point to note - the same guide applies to electronic books, too!
  • Another point to note: Although we might have paid for a CD... however, we have only paide for the licence to view and listen, but not for distribution.

(iii) Online Distribution of Music (Leong May-Seey, IFPI) (IFPI: International Federation of the Phonographic Industry)

  • This is an area of growing concern... it has also made Headlines on the papers - probably the first known case was Napster ... and the recent hoo-ha case where one ISP was asked to release info of users who downloaded files in bulk for legal action.
  • The presentation also shed light on P2P - which is very much heard of, but don't know what it is all about. This is really one of the key takeaways!
  • Leong shared a list of more common software that's meant for P2P distribution... what an eye-opener! It's amazing to hear how the "distribution methods" have evolved over time!
  • From the most primitive method - direct link from the Internet website, to FTP (that the more techno-savvy ones use)...
  • Then it moves on to Peer-to-Peer (P2P), through a 3rd party environment/software. If I interpret correctly (from the brochure), it's a software to be installed in the local system and open door (by creating a folder that can be 'shared out') to others to get stuff that's meant for sharing.
  • The scary part is, in one application, Bit Torrent, the downloader automatically becomes an uploader (ie. the distributor)
  • Peer2Mail is something new to me - shall I say it's a 'creative' way to 'harness' what email offers? By tapping on the huge email space, files were uploaded in the email space for others to download... well... with the userID adn password circulated via the discussion forum, etc. Brilliant, isn't it?
  • However, the more scary thing yet to come! There are software that requires the user to share a certain amount of information (eg. 1 GB)) and there were instances that children would upload the entire "C" drive in exchange of the files they want. Scary, right?
  • The most scary part was, lots of confidential information such as tax payers' returns, and even passwords were uploaded!!!
  • Leong also shared some licensed digital sites in Singapore:
  • 2 Useful guides: (i) Copyright & Security Guide for Schools and Universities (ii) Copyright & Security Guide for Companies & Governments

(iv) E Commerce Security (Kenneth Yuen)

  • Kenneth has shed some light on security of e-Commerce, which I thought he provided very useful information to teachers, especially those who teach Computer Applications.
  • Have heard much about eBay. However, the impression is really a "2nd hand store" where one can aunction stuff there - it's a place to sell and buy. Not it never occur to me that there are more behind these.... first of all, it's no longer a place that just sell 2nd hand stuff, but also new things! Then, there's this team of people behind the transaction that can do follow-up.
  • Some concerns on the use of e-Commerce include (i) Credit card info (ii) Quality of goods (iii) Goods not delivered.
  • Interesting, e-Commernce has not really picked up in Asia yet.
  • PayPal is something new to me - that does not require the consumer to enter credit card information.
  • Advice before making any transaction includes (i) check if there's any security system in use by the website (ii) Refund policy (iii) Purchase policy

(v) Mobile Connected Safe (can't remember name of presenter, iCell)


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Coping with the Game Anxiety

If not because of the new workshop module, "Games for Learning", it would not have 're-open' the can of 'worms' and extended the 'status-quo' perspectives.

Online Games? In the first place, doesn't sound exciting or 'attractive' to me... Still can remember my very own facial expression when was assigned to do this module
  • Games??? Oh no!!! They sound alien to me!
  • Chiam!!! Start from ground zero again???
  • Hey, lots of catch-up to do...
  • all those terms - IVE, MULE, etc... Oh no!!!!!

Yes, truly, my exposure to games is really limited.... never cross my mind that games to be labelled as 'lame' or not... Especially when people around keep saying "those games are so lame". It keeps ringing at my ears and generating anxiety... Please stop it, especially in front of an 'antique' trying to catch up! I thought! It doesn't help telling me that the games are lame while I've not gotten enough exposure to the "lame" type of games! I need to bridge the gap!!!! Help!!!

I guess part of the anxiety was formed by doses of 'hearsays' like "the design of the game does not really support Maths learning, they are strategic games... there's little potential, etc...." So, I can see how "influential" are hearsays... especially when barricades are "self"-built, even before we decide to step out to explore... Lesson learn here... Since hearsays are so influential in one's perceptions, it's important on what kind of 'hearsays' 'float' in the air - positive or negative ones!

Well, well, well... must confess... after a while of "looking" and "seeking"... thought it was not that difficult after all... still can survive :D On the other hand, scoping is also very very important.

On one hand, we see that immersive games took the world into a new game era... certainly conventional games available in the internet is nowhere near... but I think it's really up to us, or I would say, for us to open up our minds not to forget and appreciate what's there and see how we can use them, too... (in the first place, we have not even really tap on their potential to the fullest) so, it's unfair to brush them aside though they are 'lame'. One thing learnt, through repeated observations over different things, it's good to give room for new perspectives to things that we thought they only worked in ways we saw in the past... Look at the MS tools... we knew them for a long long time, we knew how they can be used at work, but we also discover new ways to use our old time tool! So... 事是无绝对!

During the lunch break at Yishun Safra, it was the first time I saw with my own eyes how the multi-player game worked. It was so amazing!!! Each avatar represents a player and they all come together to interact and work and even challenge each other. In fact, it's exciting to roam from one station to another to see what's happening in the computer screen.... That's the first time encounter...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

ETD Day... 2007, 2 November

... about the afternoon segment...

It's really an afternoon spent leaving work behind the mind... er... occasionally keep in mind but put it across in the satirical way! We were engaged (or should I say, absorbed) in the activity... Personally not because it's interesting... they were simply... the emcee? Have seen better ones... Okay, anyone who fronted the show in the morning could do a better job - a pad on the Wil-kie's and Richard's shoulders :D

Yes, it started off with 'most boring' item of any team building activity - Have a Group Name, Give a Group Slogon and a Group Motto.

What did we come up with?

  • Group Name: SCS It's really up to individual's interpretation... or in fact, it reflects the state of mind of the interpreter, right? Some positive ones include Sure Cans, Sure Can Suvive! Of course pessimistic thoughts also includes... Well, well, well... we can't control one's thinking... So, it's up to one's state of mind :D
  • Group Motto: No Eat, No Sleep, All Work. Hahaha... at crucial periods... that happens! Interpret further - Eat also think of work... (so can't eat properly)... Sleep also think of work... (so can't sleep properly... oh yes!!! Nightmares!!!)... So??? It's all work lor!!!
  • Group Slogon: Tough times don't last, PD does! This was tweaked from "Tough times don't last, baseline does!" hahaha... very interesting way of talking the happenings in the section now... at least, this will continue for the next couple of years!

Well, well, well... what else could better connect us than the above? The games include

  • Transferring a 4 items - a pail, a wire-bracket, a tennis ball and a cone, one at a time, from one end to another... so, it's about team work...
  • Forming shapes (rectangle, 5-pointed star) using a string... so it tested our spatial visualisation and imagination and logical thinking, too!!!
  • The massive activity was the one where it tried to communicate the importance of clear communication. How it works:
  • 2 members to leave the room first, they'll have to following "unsaid" instructions to carry out a number of actions. After they leave the room...
  • 2 members will be briefed by the organiser the series of actions the first 2 members suppose to do. They were to return to the table and brief the rest of the members. After which, they are not allowed to talk.
  • First: Collect the cone and leave it on the table. Next collect the Pail and the Wire-bracket and bring them to the front of the stage. Thirdly, bring the wire-bracket to the table, exchange with the cone and leave it at the stage. Bring the pail (from the front of the stage) to the other end of the room and leave it there. Return to the front of the stage, hold the hand of a member and do a tour. Hold hands and go to the stage. The end.
  • One more activity whereby instructions were given to 2 members. They were to convey the message in a non-written language way on the series of tasks of carry out.

One part of the programme is on Destress... well, there came the 'guru' to lead the group to go through a series of exercises - such as taking deep breaths, "imagination", raising the legs, the arms, etc...

Well, good effort for the organiser to bring in this component. However, did we really benefit from it? For a while, just wondering, should we listen or should we follow and do along? For a while, I thought it was along the line of what's roll-out during the Teachers' mass lecture - ERP (Exercise Regularly Period)... Just wondering... something that's created... with much $$ and effort put in... it was launched during the lecture... and what's next? die a natural death??? Just wonder...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interactive Whiteboard

On Wednesday, Yvonne shared on the use of the Interactive Whiteboard with a few of us. I was quite excited when Kevin told us about the session - 'cos have heard so much about it (of course, more of the not-so-positive feedback) but nevertheless, I guess, I'm still at the "IWB novelty" stage as I've not used it before... so, it looks and sounds new to me... seems mysterious :D True enough, seeing a life demonstration certainly give the IWB justice on areas that it's good at.

So, any new discovery?
  • It's definitely a frontal teaching tool although the pupils can also be given the opportunity to 'interact' with the IWB. "Interact" here is really coming up to the board and do the necessary inputs.
  • (i) White/Black-board equivalent
  • For instance, we can write 4 different questions on the board and get 4 pupils to solve on the board at the same time. Well, with the interactive whiteboard, pupils cannot write at the same time (else the system will get confused!!!) while the advantage is really, pupils work can be captured as an image file for future reference. Just thinking... not necessary all the time. I can just snap the photo of the board. Isn't it similar?
  • (ii) Magic tricks
  • OK, must admit that normal ppt will not be able to do tricks like
  • (i) Hiding text behind patches of 'paint' to create that 'unveiling' effect as the text appears when one 'cleans' the area
  • (ii) Using the 'curtain'/'spotlight' to reveal part of the image to focus pupils' attention to a certain part of the screen
  • (iii) The spin wheel, which I thought is the electronic version of spin wheel we bought at Kengan's workshops!
Of course, no doubt, if it's the first few times of using it, it will generate immerse interest among the pupils. Well, how long will this sustain? I wonder.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Geometry... some teaching ideas

@ Workshops organised for HODs/Maths by CPDD on 24 Sep (Secondary) & 27 Sep (Primary) 2007.

Both sessions shared something in common - Geometry, that seems to have whipped up a big wave in Maths learning here.

I feel this more strongly, especially when this year, I'm involved in the Geometry Project - the use of Intuitive Experimental Approach for Geometry learning, using GSP.

Here are some good ideas I gathered from the 2 sessions.

When doing this activity, it reminds me of "putting ourselves in the shoes of our audience"! Yes, imagine our audience here refers to our pupils. Have we been holding tight to our perceived answers too tightly. This activity was a good one.

As adults, most of the time, we think we have the right answer. Another deep-seated belief is many a time, answers to Maths questions are very straightforward - one answer most of the time and we missed out the possibilities through the eyes of young children.

Juliana's illustration was a great one!

The topic on shapes and patterns is not new to me... developed some "sentiments" over it when I first created the learning activities for baseline last year. It's fun! But look at patterns! We often are too sure of what comes next... and therefore many of us landed up in the same only correct answer! Well, this perception is changed after undergoing the above activity. Really, can you believe, Maths answers depend on one's perspective, too!

Maths Origami

This is another interesting activity - that geometry has gone un-noticed for years! (at least it never occur to my mind that such simple activities are so mathematical!). It really connects spatial visualisation to fun activities!

Some websites on origami


Sunday, September 23, 2007

While I experiment with Flickr

Have just signed up a Yahoo! account. Yes, till now, I've not ventured beyond the few email accounts that I have... this one "". Hope I can remember.

One good reason that prompted me to sign up this account is to explore Flickr... yes, 2 features, to be specific, apart from just uploading images online.

Things to note:

  • We are limited to 100MB of images size per month.
  • We can categorise the images by 'sets'

Experiment 1

Photos that depicts Mathematics in Everyday Life are placed within one set

Experiment 2

Look for the traffic lights! I manage to add 'notes' to specific locations within the photograph!

Experiment 3

Going to specific photographs with 'notes'



Notice that there isn't any 'codes' available for us to embed the image onto a blog.

Educational values

Flickr seems to have potential for education purpose :D

  • For instance, pupils can post up their findings (in the form of photos) and label to 'parts' accordingly.
  • Alternatively, the teacher can upload photos can point to specific areas to get pupils to comment.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Reflection: Overview on the "W" & "H" of Blogging and New Media

@ IPAM on 21 September 2007 by Ivan Chew
"W" and "H"... stands for... Why are you Here?... that's on one of the opening slides... Oh yes, in fact, before the session, I was wondering, why "W" & "H"? Does it stand for the "What" and "How"? or something else... well, as the session moved on, there're more "W" and "H"... Hm... creative - creative in keeping the participants in suspense and sustaining the degree of curisoity :D

Yes, why attend the session when I'm already pretty well-verse in blogging? People around do ask. Then, how am I going to measure my 'gain'? Will it be time well-spent? Having to 'perform' the 'miss-the-meeting ritual' - spending the morning making sure my 'voice' is represented during the meeting and making sure anticipated info going to be asked for during the meeting were there...? argh....

So why? Hm...
  • The title of the talk attracts me - not so much of 'blogging' (unfortunately more than 50% of the time Ivan spoke about Blogging), but 'New Media'. What is it? Has it got something to do with IDM? Heard and having spoken a fair bit about IDM but still not too clear - still seeking for a specific answer - as many a time, responses came across came with lots of personal opinions/views - I want something that's more neutral!!! A definition that I'm looking for... before interpreting the way the organisation wants to shape it.
  • Of course, blogging is my (current) passion (ok, guess I get hooked into it)... so, no harm hearing more about it (since I'm a self-learnt blogger)... especially how it's used in a context outside education! My belief: There's always something new in something we know - no matter how well we do something :D This has been proven right, over and over again. So, be open! In fact, I learnt something new about blogs and wikipedia today!


About New Media... it's about social engagement, connecting people to people and it comes with this element of openness! There... he presented a formual that layman could understand:

  • Web 2.0 + Media >> New Media

Web 2.0 comes with the following (characteristics and how I interpret it... based on what I heard):

  • interface-riched environment - it goes beyond a webpage comprises of text and static image only. It now comes with animation, embedded clips, pop-ups, etc... It's multimedia in a way.
  • allows others to access our data - yes, it's put up there... where anybody who 'passes by' can just stop-by to see - so the door of the house is always opened. Of course, we can close the door too... where only 'invited guests' can enter.
  • API: Application Programming Interface - this is chim chim chim... don't recall Ivan explained, but also can't get much out of wikipedia. So, it's simply some kind o technical stuff to do with programming?
  • access from multimedia devices - there's one part mentioned about accessing online applications - I think it belongs here? Yes, it has becoming common and convenient that we don't really need to buy application software anymore, but simply use the application online (and many a time, it's free!).
  • The shared documents and spreadsheets are not new to me - when Paul shared earlier this year. Similarly, the wealth of online applications that BY shared with us after her conference has widened our choices.
  • However, all these sharing are really 蜻蜓点水 . It's the awareness of the existence of these software - and its basic features. It really takes the time and interest to look at them and play with them. For instance, BY shared about the collaborative features of BUBBL.US and C-Map... sounds impressive but "show me" rather than tell me... Drawing from/Extending Ivan's analogy, at least before I 'taste' the chicken, I know how the chicken 'looks' like!!! Also, tell me why it's good? It gives me reason to try it. Connect it to something that would interest me!
  • Snipshot seems interesting that allows us to edit picture online - Hey, just wondering, is there any similar software that allows us to edit video clips online? Then this will come in very very handy for baseline - perhaps we can introduce snipshot in our baseline workshop?
  • I thought the educational use of Flickr ( is well illustrated (though I'm not sure if Ivan had in mind when he showed us the feature) - everybody (at least most people) know that it's a platform where people could upload photos and possible add some comments to it. However, it's the first time that I come to know that we can add notes to selected parts of an image in Flickr. Hey, it makes a big difference! Nobody has pointed out that to me before! This discovery leads me to think... it's something we can tap on for learning. Perhaps it's time to venture into Flickr? We can probably tap on that for our workshops too! Just hopped by Flickr and notice it has the "map" feature... hey, that would be handy for Geography and Science Fieldtrips... ok, will explore further... possibly something to share with BY and ST :D
  • continuous updates and upgrades - Yes, the 'change' is constant in the internet... there's continuous changes every microseconds in the internet. Updates and upgrades - whenever the system is connected to the internet, we'll be prompted of update messages. Quite regularly, I'll discover upgrades in the blogger editing interface... yes, people have been talking about new features, what's better... change is contant and change signifies progress... at least that's my view of the internet.
  • from outsourcing to overcrowding - Yes, in the past, we'll outsource the work to others... but now, technology has brought 'services' to people... people contribute... so, it's tapping on the changed behaviour - the behaviour of the netizens... Hm... being k-po? or generous? helpful? well, it's up to us to interpret the behaviour of this 'species'... well, the internet has created a community with new characteristics that's not so observable in the physical human community... Hm... perhaps time to put in more thought to this...
  • from consumer to prosumer - I know what's a consumer... but the term prosumer seems chim...


Something useful (... have been asked several times by participants from different workshops):

  • Forum (something that stands out, when compared to Blog): (i) Discussion is the focus (ii) Rely on responses of contributors (iii) any registered user can participate


3 key words from Evan William (creator of the blog) about ... : Frequency, Brevity, Personality


5 Web 2.0 tools mentioned in the session: (1) Wikipedia (2) RSS (3) Flickr (4) Technorati (5) RSS

Something new to me...

  1. Permanent link: Learn more about this "permament link" - its purpose and how it works. Yes, in fact I've been forwarding such links to others when I want them to go to specific page. However, not knowing it's called "permanent link".
  2. Different versions of a wikipedia writeup can be traced!!! It's so amazing! That reminds me of the moodle platform that Sun Li shared in the last ICET. Just wonder... does "wikispaces" allow us to see different previous versions (just like wikipedia)?
  3. The analogy used to explain RSS, to illustrate before and after RSS comes into the picture - getting 3 participants to pretend to the webpage publishers. The reader will have to visit individual webpages to read any updates (in fact, the reader has to 'detect' what's changed). With RSS, the RSS will capture any updated 'screens' from all the identified sites and put them into a common place. Then the reader simply go to this one access point to see any updates captured. In fact, I know how RSS works, but I thought the analogy is useful in helping layman to understand how it works.
  4. One new thing I learn about RSS is whatever captured is the info published at that point of time. It will remain there even if the publisher removed it from the web at a later date. Wah! A new discovery! RSS is a new way for readers to receive information!
  5. Ivan shared that Bloglines ( is one of more friendly blog aggregator. No doubt. In my exploration, I discover Google Reader ( is even friendlier and easier to use... however, also discovered the danger when all are supported by one service provider, when thing goes wrong, all goes wrong!


Other sites introduced:

  • jaiku : Heard about it (from BY), but not used before... still have not heard of anything unique... so not going to explore yet... Oops! Does that mean I won't bother to explore in near future? Hm...
  • twitter : Heard about it (from BY), but not used before... still have not heard of anything unique... so not going to explore yet... Oops! Does that mean I won't bother to explore in near future? Hm...
  • YouTube : Yes, have gone in recently and learnt to put up clips in there to be integrated into the blog
  • TeacherTube : BY introduced this to us when she returned after the conference... yes, there's this hippy clip that when the teacher raps about area and perimeter (if I remember correctly).
  • : Something new! I only came to know about ( via the e-Museum thing. That brings me back to some good old times (eg. the Kallang Theatre memories).
  • Internet Archive seems to have the potential for schools' use.


Creative Commons

First time come across this thing call "cc" (ie. creative commons)... Just wondering, is it something very new in our local context? Is it something that's recognised in the Singapore context? More info on this will be helpful...


Podcast... characteristics:

  • audio file
  • available via the internet
  • comes with RSS feed


Some tips from Ivan on "How to engage effectively"

  • Start as a passive reader
  • Post comments
  • Progress to become a producer
  • Identify yourself
  • How to co-opt bloggers for public relations - Art of conversation; don't treat bloggers as an afterthought; don't tell them what to do...


More useful links...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Reflection on Workshop: Experiential Innovation Protocol

by the Ideal Factory @ Jurong Medical Centre


The Programme
  • In the 1st day, we met our 'customer' and 'step into their shoes'. By making analysis and inferences, we identified the key area of concern and started generating ideas. By the end of the 1st day, we shortlisted 3 ideas to be further developed in the 2nd day.

  • In the 2nd day, we started to work on the ideas - to detail out the plan and to develop the prototype. Then came the 'climax' when the groups take turn to 'sell' the product/idea to Dr Liat, the CEO of Alexandra Hospital.

The Innovation Protocol

(re)Perceive > Ideate > Evaluate > Prototype > Assess > (re)Perceive... and the cycle continues...


In this workshop, we experience and learn the Innovation Protocol through the tool known as the Customator.

  • One key feature that this tool employs is ethnography.

  • This is a new word to me... but have heard about this process, whereby one 'lives' with the community so as to gain a good understanding of the community. Just a few days after the workshop, I came across an article that an author joined one of his colleagues to live with an untouched community in Indonesia for a few days and in fact, having stayed with the community for a few days, it has changed his perception of the inhabitants there. Having understood them better, he made an effort to share the 'facts' to dispel the hearsay. Yes, ethnography is powerful!

Getting to know our Customer... the very first step... Setting up and Understanding the Context

  • Brief 'Orientation' of the context (by Dr James Low) on the current situation (in a larger context)
  • Video clip: Life is Short

A few points were emphasized over the 2 days:

  • By 2030, 1 out of 4 in Singapore will be over 65 years old.

  • In fact, the Singapore population is aging rapidly. Based on data, in 2005, 8.2% of the population is above 65 years old while 71% was in the age band just before this.

  • Another related concern is, the fertility rate was 3.07 in the 70s and it has drastically reduced to 1.25% in 2005.

  • Current effort: To help the elderly to age graciously and live comfortably. Well, well, we are not too far away from this... so, it's also getting prepared and helping ourselves.

It was pointed out to us that

  • Because of old age, there are changes to physical, cognitive and psychosocial state of one's well-being.

  • Ailments common among the elderly include strokes (which is in the lead), diabetes, High Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure.

  • Of observable change would be mobility - which is reflective in the daily activities. The most basic activities are the daily routines such as eating, dressing, walking and toileting. In particular, eating will probably be the last activity an elderly could lose. Other more complex (instrumental) activities such as going marketing and shopping are among the first being affected as old age creeps in.

We have also been reminded:

  • The elderly are heterogeneous - they come with different ability and capabilities

  • They are Human!!!

  • They are multi-dimensional.

Hence, the approach adopted in this exercise is to assess the situation in a holistic and empathatic manner. We will therefore see the situation from different perspectives: the elderly (when we visit and talk to them), care-givers (those who have been looking after the elderly - what kind of support do they need) and ourselves (when we put all the hear-and-see together and think and plan for the future).

One useful point brought up was: If the elderly are able to tell us what they want, then it would not be something that requires much innovation because they have seen it and therefore they can tell exactly what they want. More importantly, there are times they need something, however, they could not quite articulate... and this can only surfaced after interaction and through inference - and there's where we put in more thoughts and effort to come up with something.


(re-)Perceive through Home Visit
New ways of perceiving the environment we work in.

For our team, our Inspiration was Mdm Tan, 75. During the visit, we have the opportunity to interact with her, as well as her daughter.

Putting together... Mdm Tan's story in a Persona Mandala - another new term learnt in this workshop. A mandala is an abstract symbol that symbolises a person at the centre of their world. It is a Sanskirt for circle, polygon, community or connection. Well, according to the facilitators, we did not really create the mandala, but the idea is similar, simply putting our inputs like a montage.


Ideate through the brainstorming session

  • Through the interaction with our customer and our discussions, social interaction was surfaced as one key area to be addressed to. In fact, lonely elderly has become more and more common issue. It's sad.

  • For many elderly today still hold the belief of living with their sons (note here - son!) Yes, it not only happens to our customer, but to many of us. For instance, my grandma would stick to her 4 sons - and fortunately she has 4 sons... and all agreed to take turn to take care of her until her later years when we had to put her under the care of a home. Yes, the Chinese (at least) believe in living with their sons and follow them.

  • In our customer's case, because that's her only son, she follows her son each time he moved. It was obvious that she missed her good old days in the kampongs, where she could chat with her friends. As they moved to a younger estate, there isn't many of the same age group will come together, say at the void deck to interact.

  • Well, a close examination of the infrastructure provision shows that yes, chairs and tables are nicely set up at the void deck, and there's even a television - but do not know if it's used or not.

Some ideas generated to improve the quality of the life of the elderly:

  • Campaigns to heighten the awareness and importance of family bonding. For instance, at the neighbourhood level, have family gathering activities at the park (enclosed by the flats); at the national level, hype up campaigns like "Eat with Your Family" to become a monthly or even weekly affair!

  • National Policies like Incentives for dining with family members! Oh yes, this takes after the incentive (by HDB) for children who choose to live near parents.

  • Providing training to the maids who accompany the elderly to the clinics for the latter's physiotherapy sessions. In a way, the maids are trained (or at least given tips) how to take care of the elderly at home. Or better still, they can help the elderly to do simple therapy back at home!

  • etc.... and more (see below for the 3 that are eventually prototyped)


Evaluate the ideas - to select and streamline

Our key considerations were...

and eventually we shortlisted...


Prototype the ideas through visuals and concretes

We propose a lifestyle. Riding on the 'change' of profile over the next few decades - the digital immigrants will make up the majority of the elderly population. Hence, a lifestyle that socially connects everyone - virtually as well as physically.

This caters to a heterogenous group of elderly - if we were to look at mobility. At home, it caters for everyone - mobile or not so... where they are connected virtually; whereas those who are physically mobile can opt to leave their home and meet up at the club or hub.
- o - o - o - o -o - at home - o - o - o - o -o -
Tapping on the technology (ie. video-conferencing) and call centre/helpline concept
  • Imagine all homes are equipped with computers (that come with a webcam).
  • To address to the failing eyesight, each system will come with huge buttons when connection can be activated at a press of the button.
  • The video conferencing is adopted so that they can view and talk at the same time - talking will be a better communication means as their fingers may not be as agile then.
  • All elderly at home have their records (eg. name, health status, family make-up) sitting on a central database.
  • There, at the call centre, the facilitator will regularly contact the elderly during day time (when children are at work) to find out how they are getting on.
  • On the other hand, the elderly can also contact the call centre for the facilitator to help connect to the people whom they want to chat with.
  • Why we call them the "facilitator" instead of the telephone operator? It's because they would be engaged in the chatting session as well, to monitor the interaction and emotion of the individuals. They may even give advice on health matters too... especially when the elderly talk about aches and pains... or there's some myths or misconceptions.

Apart from that, to ease the operation of entertainment set such as the television, we suggest a remote controller that is voice-activated - something similar to the voice-activated dial-up feature of the handphones nowadays.

As of companions, when everybody's out of the house, we suggest a robot that takes voice of the children and dressed like them. The intelligent robot will be able to respond to the elderly when detected certain words. Then it will prompt the elderly for further inputs, hence strike a conversation. Intelligent?

Afternote: A recent article (Digital Life 25 Sep 2007) reports that there already exists a similar type of robot in Japan - for the elderly. However, it is not popular because of the high cost.
More readings: Japanese robots assist handicaps and elderly , Robots turn off Japan's elderly

- o - o - o - o -o - coming together...face-to-face- o - o - o - o -o -
The team also suggested a community, a club where the elderly (who are still mobile) can come together to socialise. On top of that, create an opportunity whereby they could either cultivate a new hobby or use their forte for some constructive purpose. For instance, for someone who is pretty old in telling story, he/she can be engaged to do storytelling at assembly talks (for NE). Alternatively, those who are good at calligraphy can teach others, too! In the course of doing so, they can also generate some revenue to support their activity.


Assess with inputs from professionals of the field, another iteration cycle...


Last but not least...

  • On the whole, the workshop has provided new insights to the life of an elderly. Ask ourselves: How often do we bother to see from a different perspective when we face the elderly at home? Do we ask what they need? or we assume we know what they need? I think, ultimately, it's the time to spend with them that's valuable to them. That's family bonding that we often overlook.
  • I remember somebody said, "I could easily use the electronic transfer service to transfer the monthly allowance to my parents' bank account. However, I decided to write a cheque or cash out the amount instead. Why? That's where at least I will make sure I go home to meet up with my parents, to create that opportunity (despite of my busy schedule) to chat with them. They would like to see me when I'm home."
  • Yes... true. Though the elderly might not have articulated that, it's observable from their body language. Just like when we know my brother and sister-in-law coming home for dinner over the weekend, they will be busy for the whole morning to cook a feast! Look! It's not that I jealous, but they are telling us... how important it's to find time and spend time together.

As of how the workshop is related to work... hm... that's the challenging part - when the workshop facilitators did not help to link (sigh!!!). Hm... they expect us to get enlightened and connect automatically.

OK... will continue to think about it... for anything new... will add through the 'comments' feature (so that it will not disturb the setting of the page).


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Reflection: LA Fest @ Temasek Polytechnic 2007

Keynote Address by Marc Prensky: Engage Me or Enrage Me: Educating Today's 'Digital Natives'.


IDM is becoming a natural landscape here... as technology evolves and how we are engaged in a technology-rich environment.


Engage Me or Enrage Me: Educating Today's Digital Natives by Marc Prensky.

As we all know, Marc's passion topic is on the Digital Natives and Digital Migrants. Therefore, the content and the direction the talk drives at is pretty predictable. It's more like a reinforcement of what's been 'preached' over the past months!

It's not new to hear that "Technology is their (digital natives') birth right"... and they lead an emerging online life of the digital natives. Well, I guess these terms are originated from him?

Marc has drawn a line between the 2 types of 'people', listing down distinctive and observable characteristics of the Digital Natives and the Digital Immigrants that we can connect ourselves with.

The digital immigrant's accents include
  • Printing out email - Oh yes, many of us do! So what when the agenda is not saved on a word document, but 'embedded in an email? Just print. In the past, minutes or handouts were printed out and circulated. Today, these are attached with the email, however, the recipients were also busily turning them into hardcopies! Right, I'm one of those culprits!
  • Knowing phone numbers - well, I realised I could not remember phone numbers well nowadays... indeed, will have to save them into the handphone instead. OK, I prefer to go for email rather than calling... nevertheless, also recognise the fact that it's more personal when goes through the voice, too... When need be, the phone, the voice is still necessary.
  • Knowing DOS command - Well, I belong to the era that uses DOS command. However, by now have forgotten most of them. When talking about DOS command, I will connect to that to Mr Low :D Yes, I believe he still has all those printed in his memory :D
  • Not going to the Internet first for information - Encyclopedia, dictionary - well, they are a 'must' a home... nevertheless, when need to get info, nowadays, I'll go straight to the internet... afterwhich, print, print, print!!!
  • Thinking "Reallife" happens only offline - well, with the birth of "2nd life"... no more just limited to "earth life"???
  • Thinking we know what our students want and need without asking them - not really, but I think it's more like whether we remember to remember that students are our client, and what are the 'services' that our clients are looking for? be continued...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reflection: Teachers' Mass Lecture - Catch the Happiness Bug

on 7 Sep 2007 @ Singapore Expo, by Shelley Sykes

Happiness is... knowing that I can do and do make a difference


  • Think one of the deepest impression after the mass lecture is really the wizard (er... witch) in bright pink! hahaha... guess it's her signature colour? and a magic wand. The glitz from her face... and the voice... OK, there's one thing which is interesting, she liked to make calls like "wa-o-ho!", as an expression of "ah-ha! there it goes!". The pitch wakes one up and suppose to come with some convincing confidence and cheers... Just wondering, could it be because she was trying so hard to animate it... that I felt some thing was missing... hm... what she has spoken or described could have downwashed so much that somehow it does not really touch me heart - hm... it has lost some degree of reality? I think... partly because some of the examples she described sounded too real to be true! So, there's this disconnection.

  • From the experiences she has narrated, yes, I trust she has weathered through some much turbulences in her life journey, and really, admired her of her perservence and thoughts of being positive that have made her strong! Yes, she has this "never say die" attitude.

  • In fact, at the end of the session, one of the audience expressed how much she has learnt from the day's session and how appreciative she was, that Shelley has rekindled the 'hope' and the 'how' to identify/find happiness... Hm... while I'm still trying to find what's new I've gained from the 2 hours.


9 Tips to Happiness

1. Have a 'Happy Plan'

  • At the start of the session, the whole audience, led by Shelley, pledged to be "happy". Why 'pledge' to be happy? Hm... is it that many have yet found happiness? or discover happiness around us?

  • Of course, the pledge gets one to look at the better side of thing, be happy and spread happiness through influence! How to influence? When one can generate happiness. How one can generate happiness? It's largely dependent on one's perspective when view things, and reaction to it! {Hey, isn't it that she consolidates the practices and package it?}

  • In fact, at the start, I think she tried to set the stage, the context of the session, and started to promise what we'll get out of the session... somehow, I think, it's the delivery style - that the "wa-o-ho" diluted the focus...

  • 当然,Shelley 使用“鬼佬"最拿手的一招:煽动人心,煽动情绪。 当然,整个场子的观众也参与啦! 其实,觉得有点牵强。当节目达到高潮时,观众的反应会是很自然的。可是,当大伙还是处于正在“解冻”阶段时,就会让人感到牵强。

  • 感觉:有点像到那些大型基督教会节目里“招募会员”的那种仪式. 天啊!别把这种概念给带进来!虽然不排斥宗教的形式,但,还是较为中立会比较妥当也!

2. Attitude - Smiling

  • Yes, smile does wonders! This was brought up... and all were reminded.

  • Smile brings happiness to others, which in turn, boomerang back to us... it's generative!

  • True, smile is an universal language. Whether in a foreign land that uses another language, whether is at a point where we could not find words to express ourselves - smile does a wonderful job - to connect, to communicate, to break the ice, to ease oneself, to express gratitude...

  • Smile is contagious! Yes, it influences the 'atmosphere' at that moment! It cheers up the mood of people... it relaxes one's mood! Oh yes, it also helps one to gets by embarrasssing moments, too!

  • Smiles not only influences the external entities, it also plays wonders on ourselves! It lifts our mood and colours what we see with our very own and 'old' pair of eyes, too! Oh yes, we have always told ourselves, do not put on a pair of coloured glasses when looking at others... however, in this smile theory, smiles add beautiful colours to what we see... it generates positive positive colours!

  • Yes, also remember to smile at ourselves, for a job well-done, for putting our best effort to get things done (no matter how it turns out)... and smiles can transform into pads on shoulders...

  • Everybody has an unique smile and everybody sees the same smile differently... So many people were enchanted by Mona Lisa's mystic smile... did she wear the greatest smile? Hm... each and everyone of us have the greatest smile, when it comes from our heart :D

  • Click to see previous postings on smiles... a , b , c , d , e , f , g , h

3. Physiology - Walk tall

4. Surround yourself with high-energy people

5. Ideas - Abundance Mentality

  • The idea of "I'm rich and abundant"... yes, the "Art of Giving" (I think, that many of us do not practise)

  • Look around us... we are rich - not to measure by monetary terms... it may not be something that's measureable - oh yes, happiness is something that can't measure. It's simply subjective!

  • Do we realise the forte we possess? Have we seen them in another light that it's not just something we possess, but something that we can tap on to bring about happiness to others? Er... increasing the happiness index on people who can benefit from it?

  • Shelley shared that she likes flowers (hm... lilies? Do I remember correctly) and flowers cheers her up... she offered to use her 'skills' to build a website for the florist - that helps to popularise and expand its business, and in return, she gets life-long supply of flowers that is one source to create a happy physical environment! Hm... it sounds like we go back to the old way of trading - barter trade!

6. Live in the 'Now'

  • One advice - never focus on the lack, never focus on what's not right.

  • She reminded us: "Sometimes, we live in a beautiful place, but only see what's at home"

  • What an analogy! It's like the chinese saying 外国的月亮总是比较的圆,总是比较的亮!(It's human nature that we normally focus what we don't have and forget what we have). Hence result in some kind of comparison and create those "envious"(?), "unfair"(?) thoughts?

  • Be appreciative too... that reminds me of something I read from the Sunday times "Lifestyle" Frequent Flyer article "Travel with a Cause" that interviewed the CEO of World Vision, Dean R Hirsch. When asked "What hotel facility can't you do without?" His answer is clean water. Wah! It's at the other end of the spectrum, compared to all the previous interviews. It's not that he does not look for quality in hotel stays (I believe), but it tells something! He impresses me! Yes, how often we forget to look around to appreciate the most basic luxury we have on earth!

7. Expect the Best

8. Focus on being successful

  • One thing Shelley emphasized was "always ASK for HELP when need to"... in a way, she also pointed out the importance 'personal touch' - call people... ask people for help... (of course, she also illustrated the kind of tact to go with it) - and you may get it!

  • One example she mentioned was getting the materials ferried to Singapore free and on-time for the mass lecture. Of course, she has downplayed the existing relationship/connection she had established with freight company. It sounded impressive. She easily brushed it over by saying, give a call to the right personnel for help. Well, if she has not established her name in the market, who cares to talk to her! So, once again, she tried to relate a real life experience, however, it's not down-to-earth and practical!

  • In fact, to my surprise, one of the teachers - I think she's naive enough to - ask how Shelley got the names of these rich and capable people!

  • One thing I'm not too sure if it's correctly communicated to the audience - ie. Shelley encourages the audience to talk to the people up there, to market themselves! Wah! You think it works in the education system here? Teachers to the Divisional Directors or the DGE directly... ok, the leaders up there might be receptive to this idea (as the ground up approach has been talk of the system in the recent months)... think from the Principal's perspectives, Supt's perspective and how they think? .... er... In a way, the hierarchical approach is still expected, I believe... no one want to be by-passed... in any way, be it good or bad.

9. Shine - Enjoy being yourself

  • Be the Best. Don't try to change others.

  • I think this is the most practical and down-to-earth tip that Shelley gave to the audience.

  • Yes, let us start with ourselves, to understand and generate the happiness thought. We can only influence. It's through this influence that shapes the behaviour around us.

  • To what extent? It all depends on how each individual entity respond to it. Some are easy, some are difficult and almost impossible. Nevermind, but it starts with ourselves, right?

  • Happiness is when what you htink, what you say and what you are in harmony - Mahatma Gandhi


M.A.D - Make A Difference

  • Shelley has been rubbing on the fact that teachers made a difference - ok, we know, but she could not make concrete connections to it! It's really like we say, the use of Data logger is good for Science learning, and keep citing it without telling the people how it value-adds to the learning, what difference it makes in the experience. Yes, you tell me it's good, but tell me how and why, and give me real life illustrations to convince me! [Get me?]

  • "Are you "M.A.D" ?" , "Do you want to be "M.A.D" ?" , "Do you want to be "M.A.D.der" ?" These few questions were asked umpteen times... So??? What's the Intent? Just to tell the audience that "You are doing a great job!"... Hm... I think, she had overdone it!


On the whole, do I gain much? Hm... Perhaps should put it across as, I re-discover or re-call I've been doing, what I'm capable of doing, and what I can do