MDA rap video

Want to take a look at the top brass at MDA grooving and shaking? Well, take a look at the new MDA rap video that has just been released to promote Singapore as a media hub.

See members of the senior management in moves never seen before!

The video has drawn mixed reactions. Some find it refreshing and hip, while others feel that they are trying too hard. In a way, it kind of reminds you of the time the post-65 PAP MPs did the hip hop number during the Chingay celebrations!

Anyway, love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it gets your attention. And it’s one of the fastest growing and most watched video these days. There are even parodies of the video in Youtube, and it’s known that any parody indicates a sure sign of success.

4th International Conference on Educational Technology (ICET 2007)

These past two days have been spent at the new Republic Poly campus attending the ICET 2007. This year’s themes is “Rethinking Pedagogies: Creating Possibilities Through Digital, Interactive and Media” and the focus was on how “innovations in ICT like gaming and interactive digital media have created a new environment for teaching and learning in the new century.”

Indeed, the keynote addresses as well as the many speakers there spoke on new methods of teaching and learning such as those using game-based learning as well as Web 2.0 technologies. 

Going by the vendors there, SMART classrooms seem the way to go! Don’t think I have seen that many different types of interactive whiteboards in the same place!

Just some quick thoughts on some of the areas discussed at the Conference:

-there was quite an interesting video shown which was a video by Microsoft, a kind of “devil wears Prada” parody

-virtual worlds like Second Life and gaming such as World of Warcraft can have interesting and myriad educational benefits (hm.. while I do agree that there are some benefits in gaming, I wonder how much of the learning can be transferred to real life contexts. I mean, sure, a gamer can exhibit good leadership skills being the Guild leader and directing a raid, but can he or she also exhibit the same leadership skills in real life? I mean, how many gamers, techies, etc out there are good communicators? and gaming is supposed to cultivate communication skills…

– learning needs to be fun and engaging….hm.. but won;t it be a bore if everything is all fun and games? Also, real life is not all fun and games. If students fed on a diet of highly stimulating environments go out into the world, will they be disappointed? Worse, will they be able to cope with the mundane everyday world, where work can be gasp, actually tiresome and tedious?! 

– there’s an increasing closing gap between virtual and real worlds. Much has been done to recreate the real world in a virtual setting..with that, where is the room for one’s imagination?

– gaming addiction – incidentally, I was just watching Tab TV and the topic tonight was on cyber addiction.

Clearly, while educators explore the use of IDM in teaching and learning, let’s hope people don;t just all get carried away by the technology. As shown at the Conference too, technology can sometime let you down too. I can’t quite keep count of the number of times the Internet connection went off, or Ppt slides were not loaded properly, or files not saved properly.

But it’s good to know that questions have been raised and educators will continue to see what ways can best be used to help people learn and enjoy learning.

Cyberwellness – a cure for gaming addiction?

Gaming addiction became the centre of attention this week when Singaporean MP, Ellen Lee from Sembawang GRC, shared in Parliament how her nephew became a cyber addict and is now in ‘debt’, having lost $80, 000 of virtual currency to a bully who stole his assets after forcing him to reveal his game password. (This of course, brings forth another issue about virtual assets and if any legal protection is offered.)

Her story threw up other stories that were shared about youngsters dropping out of school and sitting in front of the computer for more than 12 hours a day, playing hugely addictive games like World of Warcraft and MapleStory.

Not only does the gaming addiction affect the lives of the players themselves, they often also destroy the lives of hapless and helpless parents who know little about the games and even much less about how to prevent or stop the addiction in their children. (Though incidentally, there was mention of a girl asking for help for her father’s addiction!)

It’s no wonder that with such destructive effects of gaming, it’s been likened to fire: “It can be a good servant or a bad master” says Mr Thomas Chong, director of education initiatives of Infocomm Asia Holdings, a leading game publisher.

The negative effects of cybergaming have made many question the benefits it’s touted to have and if those outweigh its problems. Proponents of gaming such as Marc Prensky who wrote the book, Don’t bother me, Ma; I’m learning, tout the positive educational and social effects of gaming. However, I’m sure many who know the gaming addicts would beg to differ with his views.

Thankfully, the concept of cyberwellness seems to be catching on. According to the Internet Safety Zone, cyberwellness “is a holistic term which encompasses not only concerns around safety and security online, but also considers people’s psychological and emotional well being, along with stage of development with specific regard to the range of issues that may affect children and young people in their use of new mobile and internet technologies”.

Gaming addiction prevention and cure is certainly part of cyberwellness. Thankfully, there are groups that are now forming and being set up to look into this. They include Touch Community’s Plant Crush Cyberwellness Centre and Fei Yue  Community Services Project 180.

Thanks to such centres that recognise that gaming has more than play-ful consequences, more young people can get some help before their virtual cybergame problems become all to real.

The old adage of moderation in everything certainly holds true here.

Facebook becoming an online business hub

I know I have been writing a lot about Facebook in my recent postings. In a way, I can’t quite help it. Facebook keeps getting into the news these days!

The latest news is that Facebook is starting a new advertising avenue for advertisers to target its online users more directly. It plans to let advertisers use profiles of people who have bought stuff online and then use that person’s photo or info in an online ad targetted at his friends in his social network.

Doing this would allow advertisers to masquerade ads as online friendship links. Unsuspecting users would also be more open to receiving such info. Well, that’s what Facebook is hoping for.

 However, some people are already questioning such tactics by advertisers as there could be breach in personal privacy and security.

Well, what do the people are Facebook say to such fears of online users? It seems they will try it out until people complain. For them, there’s no harm in launching this new method of raking in advertiser dollars…until their users make noise. So, it looks like it’s up to online users to decide how they would like Facebook to be used.