Sunday, 6 November 2011

Cell phones

Cell phones are very popular in the present time, given how you can call anyone who has a phone anytime from anywhere as long as you have network coverage. Cell phones enable us to connect to a friend or relative thousands of miles away. Cell phones can become vital when in an emergency. Cell phones are another invention that has changed our lives. Coupled with the web, a cell phone can hold endless opportunities.

A cell phone has many advantages. One of them is that you can be reached anywhere and that you can call anyone in the world. This enables us to be in contact with people in case of an emergency and when you are away from your office. Business people don’t have to be glued to their laptops and desktops. They can work on their cell phone and send important emails while travelling. Cell phones are also vital in letting people know about big changes and big news in the world. When you are travelling, you may not be aware of an accident that has happened in your company; with the help of the cell phone you can be regularly updated. Cell phones equipped with internet gives us many more things to do with our cell phones like browsing the net, chatting to friends abroad, checking emails etc. Also the fact that a camera is also included in the phone makes it better to take pictures when travelling and when your digital camera has run out of battery.
Cell phones do however have disadvantages and one of the biggest is that it invades your privacy. You cannot be left alone. Cell phones has also decreased our will to plan the things ahead of time because we know that even if we are little late, we can always tell the other person to wait for x time by using a cell phone. As cell phones nowadays do have internet, all the disadvantages of the internet also come in play. People using cell phones can be very disruptive and that can spoil your mood when in a restaurant or in a movie. Having a camera in your phone can mean rude and disturbing pictures to be taken and then posted on the web. This can lead to people being depressed and can lead to bad experiences.
Cell phones are an important tool of communication but they should be used with caution. As with everything, correct use of cell phones will result in life being made easier for you. Cell phones can be a life saver and a menace depending upon the circumstances and the way in which a cell phone is used.

Email, web and empowerment

In today’s world where almost everything works on the reliance of computers and emails and it is only natural that we talk about this important topic. The introduction of web in our lives has made a huge impact. From manually writing the newspapers to people reading my blog on a computer/smartphone/tablet; it is a huge difference and this blog entry is all about looking at the good and bad things of this invention. Now there are many but in this entry I will only focus on general aspects of email and web.

Email is a short form of electronic mail and it is very cheap compared to written post; that is once you have setup your computer with internet service. Emails are much faster that post, you can send an email in the time you took to read my entry until now. Emails are accessible from anywhere provided you have internet and a device. It is very easy to setup an email account and manage it so people who are not very tech-savvy can check their email accounts very easily. You can attach a lot of data with the email and you don’t have to pay extra for it.

Web is a short form for World Wide Web or www that is used in the beginning of many sites. Web has many advantages, one of the biggest being that it breaks physical boundaries. People in Hong Kong can read the same thing as people in Hawaii on the same website. The access to web is global. Another advantage is that the web breaks down barriers between countries. Information can be passed around quickly between countries on different sides of the world. Any form of information can be put on the net, for example you can upload a picture, a video, a music clip and text as well as other medias onto the web.
Disadvantages of email would be that you get spam; it wastes your time and with spam can come viruses. Viruses can potentially make your computer crash and viruses can make your computer useless. Although viruses of this severity are less in numbers, most viruses are a nuisance and disrupt programs in the middle of a task. Viruses can be hard to remove and can create a lot of problems in an organisation. Viruses could also lead to someone hacking into your computer.
Disadvantages of web are that it has made jobs easier for criminals and made it harder to track the wrong doer. Because the web is constantly changing, there are constantly changing ways of creating a fraud, successfully producing a phishing scam and committing identity fraud. Before the web, the loot of a robbery or fraud in a bank would have been much smaller than it is now. With a single click, a hacker could steal money upwards of $100, 000 – this was not possible before.
Every good thing has some bad aspects but that does not mean that we should altogether stop using it. Emails and web have far more advantages than disadvantages. Only thing to keep in mind is how you use it. Also keep knowledge of how other people can damage you material so beware of spam and phishing scams as well as any email that looks fishy. The invention of web has made a lot of jobs easier for many people. A few bad things should not put you off using the web.

Video Sharing - Online amateur videos.

Nowadays, it has become very popular to post videos about various topics including but not limited to lifestyle and beauty tips, music videos, TV shows, movies and videos of everyday life. The most popular place to upload these videos is the website of YouTube and MySpace as it is very easy to upload and download any videos from these sites. So basically anyone who has a little knowledge about how computers work can upload, download or comment on any video available at these sites.

Online videos have their share of advantages; one of them will be that it is a way of expressing your opinions and giving tips on various topics. Another advantage is that it is cheaper to watch it on YouTube than to buy the original movie or music CD. People are amused by many videos made at home that are funny or that depict a certain experience of a person. Online videos are a great way of advertising your company in that you can advertise your products in a way that will amuse people and as this video is passed around, the recognition of the company increase as well as the number of customers. It is also a very good platform for performers to be judged by other people like if someone makes a video of them singing or dancing. Other people can rate whether this person is good in his/her field or not. Also if you are stuck on a problem, you could watch videos of people explaining you the solution. It saves you time and money.

There are some disadvantages though. One of them will be that if you divulge too much information about yourself, it can lead to very awkward meetings like when you go to interview for a job and the interviewer has seen a video of you making a fool of yourself and it increases the danger of something bad happening to you like your property being damaged because some people do not have the same opinion as you. Also people can get defamed very easily – you made a video of someone doing an embarrassing thing like picking their nose in public as a joke, that person could get defamed very quickly and the consequences of this video could be very dire on the person who was filmed. Also you should keep in mind that many videos are not good enough and that you could essentially be wasting time and effort trying to find something.

Video sharing has many benefits but you have to be careful of how much information you are divulging – knowingly and unknowingly. You also have to remember that anyone who has an internet connection can see your video, so you have to be careful of what you say and whose name you involve because that person could get very angry. Video sharing can be in some instances a time saver as well as a money saver but in most cases, online videos tend to a time waste and waste of effort.

Company Blogs

 As blogs are becoming more popular, company blogs are being made. These blogs provide a platform for employees to share their thoughts about a subject with other employees. Company blogs are however not as popular as other blogs and most company blogs are never read by anyone because either the company does not update it often enough or the company doesn’t have more material to talk about. Although there are many advantages if people read a company blog, that stage comes very rarely.

There are many advantages of a company blog. One is them is that the blogs are much cheaper to maintain and produce when compared to conferences or printed media. Another is that it is easier for customers to either give suggestions or file a complaint with the company as they don’t have to be kept on hold; customers are not irritated as they know someone will read their entry. Good feedback from customers reading the blog means there will be more customers. Also, if a unknown company has a good blog, then many people will read it and come to know about the company. The blogs act as publicity, simultaneously, it acts as a channel of communication between customers, employees and employers.

However, with every good thing there are some bad aspects of it and for blogs, one of them will be that the material on the blog could be fake and the people could be misled by reading this information. Also in a company blog, however much you assure people that they are not going to lose their jobs by pointing out some flaws in the company; employees are never going to speak up. If they do, they almost certainly lose their jobs and because this information is online, other companies will be reluctant to hire that person, thinking that the same thing could happen to them. Companies’ legal staff has to be keep worrying if someone in their company makes a bad remark on global issues or divulge the company’s confidential information.

Company blogs seem like a very good idea, in the fact that it is cheaper than printed media but maintaining a blog is very difficult for a company because not one person is designated to update the website and if it is designated, that person runs out of ideas to write about in the blog pretty fast. The legal issues that could come out because of a remark from an employee or because someone leaked some information about the company take a lot of time and effort, not to mention money to clear up. So in the long run, company blogs tend to either fizzle out or are stopped because of some piece of information that should not be read by the public.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Personal blogs.

Blogs are short form of web logs. Personal blogs are places where people can write either diary entries which can be read by other people or observations upon which people can comment. Blogs are a good way of communicating information that is not filtered so oppressive countries cannot entire take away you right to information. On a funnier note, blogs are mainly read because they present funny perspectives and/or perspectives that do not occur to you the first time.

As with all things, there are advantages and disadvantages of blogs. One advantage of having blogs is that it is very easy to start a blog and it is just as easy to keep updating the blog. So blogs can be used by people who are not very good on computers too. Also, blogs provide an excellent place to test your writing skills and journalists who write in blog can have space to fully say what they want to say; in a newspaper, journalists have to keep in mind the amount of space they have on the page for writing the article. Another advantage would be that when there are wars or when the country you live in censors the news and do not allow you to express yourself, blogs come in really handy as on blogs, these people can communicate important pieces of information and let the rest of the world know what is going on. The biggest advantage of blogs is that it is free and so you are able to post anything and however much material you want.
However, the fact that it is free can invite people to post wrongful information and mislead people. Another disadvantage would be that people usually write everything that is happening in their lives on personal blogs. This could lead to cyber stalking, getting fired, not getting a job and losing friends. Cyber stalking can be really stressful on a person and this stress could prevent people from having better lives. Also it could mean bigger problems like rape, kidnappings because of the information you have given in your blog. Your opinions and the information you give on the blog could prevent you from getting a job as prospective employers could get put off by your blogs. You could also get fired for writing material that your current employer does not approve of like degrading your company or sharing confidential information on the web.

Personal blogs are a good way of expressing your opinions and/or providing different perspectives on everyday things but these blogs should be written carefully, keeping in mind the dangers of posting sensitive information on the web. Blogs are a fun way to improve your understanding of language and sharing information but you have to be careful about which information you share. If used properly blogs can help a lot of people, for example, a blog written by a motivational speaker or a blog by a relationship expert on how to handle your relationships.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Use of interactive whiteboards

The use of interactive whiteboards in classrooms has increased a lot after we realized how much the use of interactive whiteboard helps students in learning. As with anything, there are disadvantages and advantages. With interactive whiteboards also, there are certain advantages and disadvantages. However, there are more advantages than disadvantages.

The main advantages of interactive whiteboard are that it helps a lot in learning from a student’s point of view. It is also easier to organize lessons and accommodate students who were not present during the class as the notes can be saved and then given to the students. Also, teachers can make the lessons more interesting by adding online quizzes, pictures, videos or anything relevant to what is being taught in class. 

When notes can be saved on computer, it gives students the time and freedom to actually participate in the group discussions.It also gives teachers and students a chance to present PowerPoint presentations or likewise and annotate it with all the discussion. This gives the students the ability to speak in front of an audience, knowing for future what mistakes can be avoided (technical as well as voice projection).

"Interactive whiteboards are used in many schools as replacements for traditional whiteboards or flipcharts. They provide ways to show students anything which can be presented on a computer's desktop (educational software, web sites, and others). In addition, interactive whiteboards allow teachers to record their instruction and post the material for review by students at a later time. This can be a very effective instructional strategy for students who benefit from repetition, who need to see the material presented again, for students who are absent from school, for struggling learners, and for review for examinations. Brief instructional blocks can be recorded for review by students—they will see the exact presentation that occurred in the classroom with the teacher's audio input. This can help transform learning and instruction." (Wikipedia 8/07)

There are, however, some disadvantages in having interactive whiteboards. First would be the costliness of it. Having an interactive whiteboard in every classroom of the school is a very expensive proposition and not a very wise one if the teaching staff is not trained properly as improper use of the whiteboard can lead to expensive repairs. Also, if the teachers don’t know exactly what they can do with the whiteboards, then there isn’t much difference between having an interactive whiteboard and having a normal whiteboard. You have to be very careful when writing on an interactive board as small mistakes can lead to big and expensive repairs.

All in all, I think that there are more advantages in having interactive whiteboards in the classrooms than disadvantages. The interactive whiteboards help a lot in making students understand the text and it helps in students being able to enjoy the lessons more. The teachers can plan their lesson in advance and those lessons can be shared by many teachers, so less time is spent on thinking about how to teach the lesson as the lesson is already structured for you. However, you cannot ignore that there are disadvantages in having interactive whiteboards in a classroom. They are a very expensive proposition and the staff has to be trained to be able to use the whiteboard properly. The cost of repairing one is high and that should be kept in mind when buying interactive whiteboards for the school.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Use of ICT in classroom (Before and after)

There is a lot of difference in the way that lessons were taught before and how lessons are taught now. This is mostly because of introducing ICT in the classroom. Before all the things like explaining the lesson, writing notes, giving material for students to read, writing reports and taking attendance of the students present used to be done by hand. Nowadays all these things are done electronically (mostly). The use of interactive whiteboard in classrooms has made much more easier for students to learn and for teachers to plan their lessons. There are exceptions to this. Mostly though, doing these things electronically has made learning a much better experience, not to mention that e-learning is more environmentally friendly. 

Before, when there wasn't ICT in the classroom, learning was less fun as the teachers wrote down notes and you had to copy those notes. The teacher didn't really have much time to explain the lesson properly, resulting into less focus from the students and poor results. Basic things like taking attendance were very time consuming and schools were run very efficiently. Work, be it for a teacher, a student or a person in the administrative area was long and hard. Teachers also had to write the reports and writing also included preparing the format of the report, writing the report in a particular style and writing in a legible way.

Nowadays, there is much less time spent in small things like taking a register, distributing notes to all students (everyone gets a soft-copy on the computer and less times is wasted in photocopying all the notes). Learning is more interesting and students can retain more information easily because of the use of interactive whiteboards. Students are more attentive and enjoy learning new things. Internet is a very useful tool to gather information and research. There are lots of quizzes on the internet too and that makes lessons more fun.

However, there are some disadvantages to the use of ICT in a classroom. Information can be easily lost due to various reasons. One reason would be the sudden loss of power (when you don't save the document and all of a sudden the power goes, all the unsaved information will be lost). Another reason could be a virus attacks, as there is a much more increased risk of viruses infecting your computer because of the internet. Yet another reason could be your HDD (Hard Disk Drive) crashing or the server crashing. Also, internet could be used for wrong reasons by the students like playing games or going to inappropriate sites.  Moreover, it is expensive to computerise your school but in the long run, it is cheaper than handing out salaries to people for jobs like filing papers. 

There are more advantages than disadvantages of using ICT in a classroom. It makes life easier for teachers (well, for most teachers) and students and makes learning fun for students. Interactive whiteboards really help in making students learn more effectively and it helps in retaining more information. In the end, the school gets it's reputation by the results of its students, and schools with ICT will most probably have better results than schools without ICT.