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Posts Tagged ‘bali

I had never travelled without a laptop computer until last week. Since I was on a family vacation, I opted to travel with only my iPad.

Well, not just one iPad. We had five devices between the three of us: My wife and I had our Pads and iPhones while my son brought his iPod Touch along.

We knew we were going to get free wifi in Bali as we stayed in the same establishment when we were there two years ago. But I was surprised at the number of wifi hotspots that mushroomed all over the place.

I spent much of my time reading and writing tweets, skimming RSS feeds, surfing the Web and processing email. My wife had over 600 e-books in her Pad and did e-check-ins. No problems there for the iPad. All three of us played games on our devices too.

Then came the challenges.

One of my team members shared a concept map with me which, because it was Flash-based, I could not see. Thankfully someone converted it to a JPG, but then I could not edit the map in its original form.

I had also planned on using my iPad to process photos that I knew I would take of the Green School. I bought the iPad camera connection kit from Changi Airport (Terminal 3) and saved some money because I did not have to pay any Goods and Services Tax (GST) there.

Transferring photos was easy and editing them in PhotoPad was a cinch. But uploading them to Picasa was a chore. There were paid apps I could buy but I think the app store detected that I was not in my home country and instructed me to sign in on my laptop. The workaround was emailing photos one by one to Picasa.

This reinforced my conviction that much has to change for technology to be adopted. The app store needs to be more open, service providers must be more aware of customer needs and customers must become more savvy.

If this is true for personal or social use, the truth is even harder in education. It’s easy to use the iPad individually but when you push it up against a system that is not entirely ready for it, it becomes easy to blame the tool and say it doesn’t work.

It was easy, convenient and perfect for my use because I knew exactly what it could or could not do. I took advantage of what it could and I worked around what it could not. Why go through the trouble? Because it doesn’t feel like trouble when you have a fun device and if your approach to problem-solving is like playing a game.

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These are my final two videos of my visit to the Green School in Bali.

All videos were edited with iMovie 9 on a 13″ Macbook Pro. (All photos transferred to an iPad via Apple’s camera connection kit and edited with PhotoPad.)

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It hit me yesterday the contrasts I observed in just two places in Bali.

My family and I were in Seminyak, and while it was not as touristy as Kuta, you couldn’t help but see the evidence of commercialization of this sleepy town.

While my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Balinese cuisine, our son’s palette was less seasoned. To motivate my son to walk around more, we visited a pancake place called Flapjacks for dinner one night. That eatery would not have been out of place in Manhattan, Toyko or Singapore. From the decor, food and the fake plastic meals on display, I assume the place was financed by a rich foreign entity.

The Green School was also the brainchild of a foreigner. But while both provided jobs and opportunities for locals, only the school had long term sustainability in mind.

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All videos shot with a plain vanilla Canon IXUS 860 point-and-shoot.

Two more videos tomorrow.

I was impressed with the TED talk that John Hardy gave on the Green School. (I mentioned it briefly here.) So impressed that I decided to visit it earlier this week while on a family vacation in Bali. I think that it was the highlight of our trip!

Here are some snapshots and below some videos I took in an attempt to complete the picture.

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More videos as soon as I can edit them!

BTW, our tour guide and educator at the school was Ben Macrory from New York. In our tour group were folks from Greece, Colombia, Vermont and, of course, Singapore.

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