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Posted by on 12:34 pm in e-learning, eLearning Tutor services | Comments Off on 2016

2016 is rapidly coming to a close.  It has been a year of hibernation for my services due to an extended maternity leave.  Nevertheless, whenever there is a little time, my mind wonders what the digital revolution means for learning and education today. The many examples of how it has informed or misinformed the users during political elections and referendums are food for thought.  The taking away of the human face in replacement of digital capabilities need further investigation. My daughter started primary school and this brings about the question of how the education establishment  is measuring up to the multimodality in assessment and whether any changes is evident in teacher’s speak and curriculum.   Furthermore, some parents question if at all their children are being inspired in the present delivery of education.  How much the breakaway from traditional classroom environments is supported or indeed influenced by digital tools and methodology in learning. Are our children being short-changed by the inability of schools to innovate and understand the issues concerning skills they need for the present and future world? Time marches on so rapidly and if we do not stop to reflect and question, we let external circumstances run the show and nothing...

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Posted by on 6:28 am in Communication | Comments Off on 2015

This year presents many challenges.  Once I have completed my Research Methods module with my Digital Education course, it was time to prepare for the arrival of my twin boys.  They arrived three months early but thanks to development in medicine and science, they survived.  It was a rough ride for everyone. All my hopes of withholding my little daughter from the screen went out of the window when suddenly we have to cope with three children.  So this piece is really about what my thoughts are about the use of digital technology in the life of my nearly four year old child…to...

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A year on

Posted by on 2:26 pm in e-learning, eLearning Tutor services, Writing module | Comments Off on A year on

In the last seven months, I have completed two more modules of the Msc in Digital Education course with the University of Edinburgh.  It has been most helpful in shaping my thoughts and practice in the area.  I took up the course with the hope that I will be able to build on my experience in resource design, and learn the science and art of eLearning, and I am pleased that I have achieved both goals. The most recent module on elearning and Digital Culture has really helped make sense of the development in this area, and helped shape my thoughts and practice in eLearning design.  Please read my final assignment for...

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Communications – what we can learn from babies

Posted by on 3:58 pm in Communication | Comments Off on Communications – what we can learn from babies

It has been a while since I had time to write a blog.  My little girl is taking up all my spare time these days.  At six months she suddenly became even more demanding as she started to indicate through babbles, sounds and eye contact, what she wants, how she wants to be held and which direction she wants to go.  As a parent, my role is to respond so to encourage further communications. She is excitedly exploring the world through her ability to communicate her needs to her mother. While her movements are still restricted due to her inability to crawl yet, she is actively showing us how motivated she is to get somewhere and to obtain her prized gadgets such as the mobile phone, keyboards and remote controls. Being responsive to a child’s early communications is key to her language development and understanding of social interaction. Ignoring  a babies’ cry or sounds will send a discouraging message to her.  So what can we learn from babies?  In truth, nothing. I say this because being responsive is reflective of our everyday communications with each other.  The only thing I might add is that sadly, we grow up and sometimes forget about the element of turn taking and two way communications, and many times, we find that we no longer respond to messages, and emails and someone sharing about their life or part of the day.  Instead, we queue our responses, or when we are physically present, we may be preoccupied with other things: we are not there for people. Being there, I think,  is the essence of communication: being there for your baby, your child, your husband, your colleague, your friend, your acquaintances and your...

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Posted by on 10:52 am in Communication | Comments Off on Decisions

I recently have a new addition to my family:  A little girl who is now nearly 8 weeks old and she has had numerous skype video calls meeting relatives and friends from the States, UK, Malaysia and Singapore. At her age, she cannot see where the voice and picture is coming from but she can hear the voices. And we wonder when is the right time to introduce to the baby such gadgets like the iphone and ipads. I have not had time to read any research on this but my hunch is not until the child is at least five years old. However I will encounter a lot of pressure from my partner who thinks that every child now treats these items as if it is their natural environment, and thus the sooner the child gets her hand on these things, the better. I wonder what your experience has been with these?  The burden upon parents of this decade:  Decisions for the future that will impact on the cognitive, social and psychological development of...

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Educating children

Posted by on 11:01 am in Communication, Diversity | Comments Off on Educating children

It is all too confusing a picture to compare the riots in London to those countries where young people are fighting against nepotism and dictatorship.  Here in the UK, it is mindless accusations of those who are in business – not even the rich.  There is looting, mugging and burning down of properties.  Where social media is used for a good cause in the Arab countries, here it is used for destruction. Having worked with young people who are disenchanted and some who have a lot of problems, I have seen sensible young people, but a lot of them seem have little interaction and contact with people from different walks of life. Their comprehension of politics and society is skewed too. I have times despaired because the resistance and lack of understanding which I have seen run too deep and not a lot is offered to these groups to enable their situation to improve.  I feared one day my life would be in the hands of young people of such disposition. It might be too late when those who can do something realise this possibility.  As we have seen, it only took some economic crisis to unleash the resentment and anger from sections of the society. We should think carefully how those in government will contain this ugly monster that have shown its fury....

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Learning to read

Posted by on 8:57 pm in Communication, Writing module | Comments Off on Learning to read

It never fail to amaze me how effective Reading Reflex is.  I have recently used this technique with a five year old, and after ten sessions, the little boy is reading words like ‘roast’, ‘note’, ‘though’ and ‘host’.  Given another eight to ten sessions, this child will have a reading age of seven or eight. Another student who had difficulties with reading, spelling and writing, although taken a year to arrive at this level, is now reading books written by Roald Dahl.  And he is now able to spell perhaps 60% of words with the advanced code.  This is quite an amazing achievement for the student, who in April last year was not able to read or write beyond CVC words. Without this intervention, this student would have fallen way behind and will not have followed most of his Year 7 work.  I wondered what schools are really doing for pupils such as this. The debate about which reading method to employ in schools is really irrelevant when we see how the approach used in schools have failed the students above.  It is perhaps time for literacy teachers in schools to look closely again at how we teach young children basic...

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Analogy of curries in the UK

Posted by on 11:53 am in e-learning, Web design | Comments Off on Analogy of curries in the UK

I have been trying some Indian restaurants locally in the UK, specifically those outside London.  I usually go in with the hope that the various offerings will not look and taste all the same.  To the discerning palate, curries are not gluey, sweet and spicy yellow mustardy gravy.  Unfortunately without fail,  this is what is served in most places.  It is the same with Chinese Restaurants outside London. Not only are the cheapest ingredients used but majority of the restaurants provide food that is laced with monosodium glutamate, and after a while all the food taste the same; lacking in texture, fibre and taste.  It really is a shame.  So if you want slightly more authentic asian taste, opt for either oriental restaurants in London, or go for Thai restaurants. It occurs to me that it is the same when it comes to elearning or web related matters. To those who are not web-savvy, the concept of a website is so often stuck with the static pages of what we used to see ten years ago.  Or some may think of all the new-fangled social network tools that flood a single webpage or what we now call a blog page.  But to those who truly consider both the aesthetics, the users and also functionality, they will be able to tease out the noise from the real features of a page that works.  So if you want to develop this sensitivity, just spend a few hours browsing through different sites and think about what really matters.  Should you like a page design that works in 2011 -2012, give me a bell and we can talk through this.  ...

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A Review: Dreyfus: On the Internet

Posted by on 7:40 am in Communication, e-learning, eLearning Tutor services | Comments Off on A Review: Dreyfus: On the Internet

It seems to me Dreyfus is making a distinction between embodied and disembodied nature of the World Wide Web, not the Internet, especially in relation to hyperlinks. He is also romanticising the era of thinking that gives prominence to the idea of Cogito ergo sum, that thinking and existing is related, and also the mind controls the body.  And in relation to learning, his reference to Rousseau implies the importance of the child interacting with the physical environment. Hence the emphasis of embodiment in his critique about online or distance learning. Certainly philosophers for a long time have debated about the relationship of the mind and body. When we take this to a new level, in relation to Distance Learning, where the written word become the prominent medium of communication, Dreyfus is suggesting that the absence of the teacher aka the human body, only partial communication takes place. He takes it so far as to conclude that because the heralding of the new era of leveling the field in education through digital technology has failed to happen, twenty years on, it has failed.  And that it has failed because online learning cannot replace human face-to-face contact; that it cannot teach mastery of a subject, as learning has to be a progression from learning from the master as an apprenticeship, where you are physically present and immerse yourself in the job, to learn from the contact of a human master to master of the subject through practice; and if has failed because distance learning can never create the same mood of a physical classroom; that it is without the risks that pertain in an embodied situation, and it cannot achieve the same effect without the teacher and learner’s emotional attachment to the learning experience; and it will not work as the spoken word, expressions, gestures cannot be attained by exchanging written text on the cyber world. I think the premise of his assumptions is so much rooted in the past. Innovation is usually rejected strongly by traditionalists, as there is a tendency to compare an apple with an orange: both are different and so direct comparison is probably the wrong premise to begin with.  His critics, have more or less, torn down his assumptions, noting ‘Dreyfus’ failure of pedagogic imagination’, his oversight of what happens in reality in other domains especially in relation to his stages of learning, and the functionality and possibilities of asynchronous and synchronous communication afforded by technology in providing a sense of classroom, community and contact; his misconception of anonymity in Distance Education, when this is not the case in reality (Blake, pp380-2,2002).  The teacher-centredness approach has its time and place, and probably for a specific age group.  As the world evolves and ‘the embodied teacher is no longer considered indispensable to learning in higher education’ (McWilliams Taylor, 1997) for reasons of economy, changes in the culture and delivery of Higher Education.  From reading Lockhard and Pegrum’s Brave New Classroom, 2007, the idea of the embodied teacher is indeed fast becoming a relic of the past: historically, university education catered to creating a community of scholars, and to the elite few, presently, with the World Wide Web, and elearning technologies, newer, and sometimes more suitable pedagogies have developed, to meet the new challenges, needs culture and economy....

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Posted by on 9:00 am in Communication, e-learning, eLearning Tutor services, Web design | Comments Off on Silence

In the last five months since my last blog post, I have been through a lot of reading and discussions about digital technology.  Interacting and exchanging points of views with fellow colleagues and participants of the eLearning course at the University of Edinburgh have been a fascinating journey for me. I am now mulling over the pervasive use of social media in eLearning environments and reflecting on how knowledge have evolved in universities.  So if you have been wondering about the silence on this blog, it is all part of the process: where period of silences is equally important as...

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