Sports Blogging is Fun

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Flat Classroom Project

What I think about the world being flat! The world has grown smaller hypothetically due to the increased efficient and effective high speed Information technology. For example, we used to wait for weeks to receive a regular mail from overseas, right now, it takes a few seconds to receive an email For those who communicate by text messaging or chatting in the chat rooms, it is instant! Another good example is the telephone. When landlines phones were on fashion and their bills so expensive, this is not to long ago. Probably less that a decade ago, it was so hard to use anyone landlines phone. 

Right now there are cellphones all over the place and they are of reasonable price and value. Thousands of kids in the US and even developing countries have them too! They all, as well, come with very important applications for both pleasure while being effectively and highly functional. The Information landscape has turned into gold fields, very highly paid data analyst, web designers and webmaster do data mining to gain an edge over their competitors.  The age where gold mining  (manufacturing) mattered are gone, because these jobs (service industry) pay more than if one was a gold dealer. 

The bigger effects, big companies being rendered obsolete  for example xerox. Others being forced to change the way they do business in order to survive. 

Practically, an  increase in efficient, effective (larger) and safer modern means of transport technologies,  has been brought about by information technology. As a result, although there is all the lightning speed trains pioneered by China and dreamliners, the landscape has changed so much that it is not necessary to travel from one place to another for certain duties as it used to be. Some can easily be taken care of through telephone conferencing, video conferencing or online conferencing. 

Unlike before educator and school around the world have caught the wind and now the question is; Is the traditional brick and motor school system becoming extinct/ obsolete? What is going to take over the place of schools if it becomes obsolete? Is going to school or even a household name like teacher going to be of relevance in the schools of the future? Or is the Internet going to replace them for some other kind of jobs as it has happened in the commercial sector. Becoming a computer savvy person as a teacher is definitely going to help in the advancement of education in future. Why? because today almost every new born is born holding a computer of some sort in their hands. By the end of education vatualization, there will be a huge change , every teacher has to be prepared. For there is no turning back.   Therefore The Flat Classroom Project is an excellent initiative by the two pioneers Vicky Davis and Julie Linsay.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where is Kenya as pertains to Global Online Colaborative learning?

This information is only as far as education is concerned since technology use in Kenyans commercial sector is somewhat ahead of most countries in the world. This is not to say there is great technological advancement in schools. In fact, it is the other way round. The technology used for commercial purposes is bought. One good example is m-pesa(directly translated as Mobile money). This is cellphone transfer of cash from one bank to another without going to the bank at all, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This technology is going so far as taking retail banks hostage as Michael Joseph, one of the mobile phone CEO warns banks. Another is the electronic networking of the judicial department of the government for quick expedite of court cases. A judge could be in Linn County while presiding a case in Brima County. This is just to show there is edgy technology in Kenya, but mostly for the users and not so much for schools. That is why the government is working so hard to equip schools with computer and staff.

In the past connectivity speed was the major hindrance to technology advancement in school coupled with limited resources. However connectivity has greatly improved since 2006.
The first fibre optic cable to land in Kenya was in 2006. The Kenyan government has all along known using fibre optic cables is definitely one of the most efficient data transmitting devices around, transferring information in quick time. Unlike normal cables this is one of the most useful and long lasting data transmitting devices, which require no lengthy waiting period.
Fibre optic cable has so many advantages. It is made from threads of glass that sends data and information through modulated light waves. Metal cables do not have as much bandwidth as a fibre optic cable and are also less susceptible to interferences.

Other advantages to using fibre optic cables are that they are much lighter and thinner than metal wires. Furthermore, information can be transmitted digitally hence the reason for a less likelihood of interference. Metal wires transfer information analogically, which means it is transferred through an analogue signal (a long electronic signal that is continuous and varies over time). Digital signals transmit information through a non continuous process, usually in the form of pulses or digits. The digits are constant in their value; however, they do change abruptly from one digit to the other. This technology has existed for a very long time. It was not until 1996 that saw the very first fibre optic cables TPC5 used all across the Pacific Ocean. A year later FLAG (Fibre Optic Link Around the Globe) was established as the single most longest cable in the world.This proved that fibre optics is the strongest and fasted transmitting device across longer distances, having been used for the internet, telecommunication, medical facilities and imaging devices.

So, back in 2006 The Kenyan Government decided to include fiber optic cable onto its electric grid infrastructure basically to speed up the spread of the network while fighting vandalism. At this particular time, government owned Kenya Power and Lighting Company is leasing parts of the fibre optic fibre to major telecommunication companies in the country. The major telecommunication companies that lease fibre optic parts from the government include SafariCom, Wananchi group, Jamii Telecommunications Ltd, KDN, and Telkom Kenya. Alll major towns in Kenya are networked, however the network has not reach some villages yet.

Majority of Kenyan population understand the importance of communication technology and especially the importance of modern education. Most families, including the very poor send their kids to school, they understand that it is the law. The government has taken the initiative of providing Free Primary Education (FPE) for all primary school kids, so the parents have no good reason for not sending kids to school. The government is (partnering) with NGOs and donors on ICT pilot program in secondary schools. This is because one of the hindrances to Kenya communication Technology has been prohibited by lack of finance. But to say the least, the future is bright for online learning in Kenyan schools for the foundation is being laid. At the same time, the government in collaboration with the private sector is trying to connect Kenyans to the rest of the world by providing digital villages in communities.

I know this information does not address  Kenyan schools and what they are doing in regard to the flat classroom learning directly. However the Kenyan government is experimenting on different school technologies that are effective, effectiveness and sustainable.  I will keep on looking for that information. Meanwhile I welcome any comments or questions that you all might have.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It is very true that The World is Flat

In his lecture that I have just viewed on the internet Thomas Friedman articulately yet humorously  talks about how the world has flattened. As much as he makes it interesting, this is a very important issue especially at this particular point in time. He gives advice to student by giving an example of what his mother used to tell him when he was growing up that he shouldn't waste his food because children in China are starving. He says that today, he gives the same advice to his kids but it is no longer about food but about learning. He tells them to do their homework so kids from China do not take their jobs in future.   One key point that I picked from this talk is that nothing is going to stop globalization. Therefore, it is up to the countries to be ahead of the changes, and that the whole world even developing countries understand this.

Friedman’s list of “flatteners” includes;
  1. The fall of the Berlin Wall(11-9-89); It enabled the Eastern policies to influence the Westerns and the same to the South and North. At the same time as the Berlin wall came down, the Windows operating system, a single Graphical User Interface (GUI) came up.
  2. The rise of Netscape and the dotcom boom that led to a trillion dollar investment in fiber optic cable(8-9-95); allowing more people in more places to connect freely yet with limitless connections.
  3. The emergence of common software platforms and open source code enabling global collaboration; People can connect and work collaboratively with each other over standardized network  and softwares that enable us to communicate like never before.
  4. The rise of outsourcing, offshoring, opensourcing, supply chaining, insourcing, insourcing and steroids are as a result of the  above three flatteners. Friedman says these flatteners converged around the year 2000, and “created a flat world: a global, web-enabled platform for multiple forms of sharing knowledge and work, irrespective of time, distance, geography and increasingly, language.” 
I believe that every one including school kids should know this because actually we are running a little behind. Friedman states that once one understands the 10 flattenners, then they are in a position to explain the rise in energy consumption, outsourcing, MIT opensourcing, 9-11 and even Alkaida.

Actually, the video is a very condensed version of the whole lecture running about 1.15 hrs but it is very educative as much as it is entertaining, Watch Video. This then, encourages me to take time and read the book which can also be found in a audio form that can be downloaded on an iPod or any MP3 player for those constantly on the move.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sports Blogging is Fun

Sports blogging is fun just like the sports you like to engage in. Here is a sports blog on yahoo, just to give a hint of how fun it is Yahoo sports blogs I have been reading some and I tell you, you will be overactive than the players in the field. Apart from the side shows that goes on around the field or playground, there is always a couple players that forget the spirit of the game. Despite the cheer efforts put up by the cheer leaders to create a positive friendly mood, some players take it a little too serious, a little too personal and a little too far, and start hitting each other. Just watch this one, its fun Hochey Fights . Hey!!!!!!, although this sends a really bad example to those being mentored, the ultimate goal for paying big bucks to be there and watch a game is to get ultimate enjoyment/entertainment. Just as it happened in the above hockey ice arena, some will argue that! But then, as much as we enjoy the game, we should take time to educate those mentored; the reason for playing is to be active and fit, to be an ambassador for your school or institution and most of all just have fun. Insist that fighting is not fun, there is a lot to loose and nothing to gain from it.