Sunday, November 30, 2014

Audiences behaving badly... at concerts and theatre shows

The Straits Times (Saturday, 29 November 2014)
Click HERE to view article in the Straits Times website

I like going to theatres to watch performances, especially those from the broadway - hence, I'm pretty familiar with places like the Esplanade, Marine Bay Sands Theatres and the Resort World Sentosa (RWS) Theatre.

The first time I could not believe my eyes was what I saw at the RWS Theatre after a show. In fact, the feeling was quite different when my 'neighbours' scrolled in with popcorns, sandwiches in their hands! I could not believe that patrons are allowed to bring food items in! What's more appalling was at the end of the show, litters were all over the place (on the floor)!!!

Is this the behaviour of the supposedly more cultured theatre-goers? I wonder?
Similarly, late-comers took their time to walked in blocking other audiences. Haiz...
How do we go about cultivating the appropriate social behaviours in the theatre?
Perhaps this could be another area to be included as part of Gracious Singapore Movement?

Online Scams - How the report could be more informative?

The Straits Times (29 November 2014)

Saw the publicity posters pinned up at the void deck several months ago. Today, saw this article that reports the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is stepping up its effort to heighten the public's awareness. Indeed, I was hoping to find out what are the preventive measures or tips to look out for online scams. Unfortunately, the report did not carry this information :(

On the other hand, googled "Singapore Police Force" and "on scams" and the following link was surfaced:

The link brings me to the page where the SPF provided examples and tips to the public, that I thought these are very useful information. Here's what I got (screenshot)

Just a quick thought: Would it make its promotion efforts more effective if the newspaper article also carries the direct link to the information source?

Quite often, we assumed the readers were just reading updates to know what's going on; perhaps one way to value-add (and increase the usefulness of the article) is to provide links to the relevant authorised websites? Something for considertaion.

Are we ready for Smart Life?

The Straits Times (Saturday, 29 November 2014)
Click HERE to read article at AsiaOne website.

Scanned through the article - it talks about what we envisioned Singapore would look like, and what are some of the hurdles we need to overcome for implementation, and of course, the advantage of Singapore being small would be the quick deployment within a short period of time.

Basically, the success would mean changes to our habits - how adaptable and flexible we are, and also how receptive we are (as we tend to compare the existing state with what's upcoming). In fact, since technology is supposed to bring about greater efficiency and better connectedness, I think the success would be how well-thought through the implementation plans, its implementation, and of course, its communication to generate buying-in.

Take for instance, I experienced some pleasant surprises in my recent trip to Beijing. It was about 10 years ago, when I first visited the city. The impression then was largely my encounter with the people around (I supposed, the culture) - I was shocked and it did not leave much good thoughts after the experience (apart from the rich historical learning I gleaned during my visit). Nevertheless, 10-years later, I was impressed by the level of the services that had improved, and one more unspoken aspect - the use of technology.

Look at this boarding pass - notice the barcode printed at the bottom?
We don't see this in the boarding pass issued in Singapore.

My wonder was answered when we enter the immigration zone. In most of the airports, we would have to show both the boarding pass and the passport to the security officer who would check before allowing us to proceed. That's where we sometimes have to wait before continuing with numerous queues after the first stage. Well, there's no queue at the entrance to the immigration zone in Beijing Capital Airport. Indeed, the security officer stationed there were not checking the passport or the boarding pass, but to aid unfamiliar travellers how to place the board pass underneath the barcode scanner to scan the info. Once that's cleared, one could proceed to the next stage. It's a breeze!

I wonder, would the Singapore Changi Airport consider this?

The other thing that impressed me was that the hotel that we put up in taps on technology to bring about more convenience to guests. Recall, each time we check in to the hotel room, we would check for the switches to the lights (located at different parts of the room) and air conditioners, etc?

Well, I was pleasantly surprised that the guest room in Dongsheng Gloria Plaza Hotel provided the guest with the apps in an iPad that allows the guest to configure the lighting and temperature of the room at the finger tips:

What I like is the hotel still gives the guest an option between the use of technology, as well as the 'conventional' ways - yes, there are physical switches too!

The only service that I 'tested' but not quite successful was the "Room Services" where I could place order for food items, however, it's still not friendly enough to allow me make changes to the items put in the 'cart'. For this, I think it's still better to go through the phone :)

Being IT-savvy does not imply Online Smart

The Sunday Times (30 November 2014)

Read this article in Today's "Top News 6" about people selling and buying medicine online - this transaction is possible as it's largely motivated by low cost. Low cost as consumers today learn that prices of items purchased online could be much lower than those we buy from the shops. Shop rental fee is probably one of the reasons when items in physical shops cost much more. Of course, it's also the convenience as one could sit down comfortably in front of the computer, buy and wait for the items to be delivered at the door step. Hassle free!

Well, the prices of items offered in some of the websites are definitely far more attractive! That's when the consumer needs to exercise discernment and make careful checks before checking out the items.

Chanced upon this article recently that would be useful for the online consumers: How to Spot a Fake Online Review 

On the other hand, from this article, I also learnt that it requires one to have the 'licence' to sell/ market any medical products. I think this is a very good info to remind all not to compromise the quality due to low cost.

To me, I felt, if one wants to make any online purchase, it would be best to go to the website of the actual shop/ brand to place the order; at least, the quality of product would be assured :)

When limitations drive rsourcefulness

Sometimes, we think we are resourceful; nevertheless, we do not know how resourceful we are until we face the 'extreme' conditions and we needed a means to 'survive'.

I experienced this when I was in Bhutan more than 10 years ago, when I lived in a totally unfamiliar place, not just a place, but different culture, a town that was entirely differently from my neighbourhood back in Singapore - when I say 'town', it means all the provisions, transaction habits, etc. That's when I need to be very creative in order to made-do with that's available then.

My recent encounter was the recent official trip to Beijing, to present and attend a conference.

This was not my first trip to China, and I had heard much about the applications/ platforms that are inaccessible in China, of course, that includes Google. But I guess, with technology advancement, I was lucky enough to the tap on the apps in my mobile phone that still allows me to communicate (read and send) emails via the mobile. However, mobile devices still have its limitations. For instance, I would not be able to open any shared documents saved in the Drive; I would not be able to access my GoogleSite, and I'm unable to attach any file to be sent out using the Apps. My hands were tied. Oh, that includes Google-related applications like Blogger and Youtube. OK, all blocked!

I'm fortunate enough, because of my relationship with the key organiser, I managed to 'climb' over the walls to download the stuff needed. Phew! And with the IT expert around, I was able to download the huge file via a 3rd party application when Dropbox was also block! I thought only social media like Facebook and Twitter are blocked. OK, more apps to be added to the blocked list.

In order to send an attachment with an email, I had no alternative email accounts (as both work & personal email accounts are Google-based). Fortunately, there exists the iCloud account. It was the first time I use - I had to set up the account (though this could be done so easily back at home; however, I did not 'cos I wanted to save myself from  managing multiple accounts). So, the circumstances had driven the need to think hard enough to relook at what I had that could help to address the need.

Glad that I did not panic when I was at my wits-end :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Learning in a Whole New Way... it's still "on"

In this November, I had the opportunity to share at the SAGE-iSummit 2014 in Beijing. It's a pleasure to be invited to share with a bigger audience the good work we carried out in the school since its inception in 2009. It's valuable as not many would have the opportunity to start a school from scratch, and the learning was tremendous.

Click HERE to find out more.
Thanks to fellow ADE Douglas Kiang (from Punahou School) who puts down the key points in a pictorial form :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mathematical Software: Wolfram CDF Player

A powerful mathematical software - dynamic (that runs in java) and can be embedded into websites pretty easily.

Ease for implementation
  • Create a presentation file (CDF) where the applets could be embedded for access and manipulation.
  • To run the CDF file does not require the editor; the reader only needs to download the CDF player (see link below) to access and manipulate.
Useful Links (access via Firefox)
Sample created and shared by Boon Tat

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sharing @ iCTLT 2014 on Digital Citizenship

In the recent years, Digital Citizenship is gaining more attention as educators start to direct their focus on the learners (of technology) in today's context, a move onward, after placing so much emphasis on how to deliver the technology-enhanced learning experiences in the past few years.

Well, the use of technology to create an effective and beneficial learning experience is still an important area. Nevertheless, now the emphasis has gradually been broadened to include the learners, looking at how technology has influenced them and their well-being. There is also greater emphasis of the cyber wellness in schools today.

The move of further broadening Cyber Wellness to Digital Citizenship programme is one way to see the well being of individuals in a more holistic manner, not divorcing the "real" and "virtual" selves.

Some individuals might think, Physical well-being and Cyber well-being are mutually exclusive. However, with technology penetrates into our livelihood (in different forms), we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to it. No matter what, it impacts us directly or indirectly. It's no doubt, part of our environment. Environment is not just the 'space' that we are in physically. It includes people around us, as well as the culture that we are immersed in. People, of course, it includes their mindset and behaviour.

Recognising this, there is no doubt that school plays an important role in shaping one's attitude and behaviour. How to approach Digital Citizenship programme? Not just directly on the students, but also the people around them. In addition, leveraging on the programme, we could further level up the capacity of our students, who are in the forefront of the programme. Hence, it's not just digital citizenship programme, but also student leadership development programme :)

Click HERE to view the presentation (by Johari & myself)

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Interesting Development in GoogleMaps

This was introduced by a GCT (who turned Googler) at the GCT Group.

Compared to the GoogleMap we know 2 years ago, the Map Gallery is so much more dynamic and has so much potential for classroom teaching and learning.

When click at specific area, comparison graphs are displayed.
Looking at some of these additional features, could you think of ways to bring GoogleMap gallery into everyday clssroom?