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Posts Tagged ‘progress

I read an opinion piece about how we have stumbled on our journey to go cashless.

We are still penalised when we do electronic payments of cinema tickets, cab rides, automatically topping up your travel card by GIRO or credit card, etc. These things that an ordinary resident here does.

On the flip side, we are not rewarded for going paperless with our receipts, bills, bank statements, air tickets, etc. So we help a provider save on costs, but are expected to pay for progressive changes to basic services.

The writer mentioned an oft cited example of how we have been overtaken by places in China where residents pay with their mobile phones and chat services. I visited Denmark and Sweden a few years ago and noticed how cashless those places were too. If I went cashless as much as they did, I would have been penalised with card fees and currency conversion rates.

People might point out the need for providers of services and products to recoup costs of e-payment measures. I disagree. These should be part of the service, not a good-to-have extra.

Look at it this way: Do we need to pay extra for a smile, greeting, or an otherwise better quality of basic service? By not changing outdated mindsets and old practices, the providers are impeding change.

This inertia is not to be taken lightly. The writer of the article described how the inertia can last decades:

Nets, the first cashless payment network in Singapore used by retailers, was launched in 1985 — 32 years ago. At that time, I believe Singapore was among the very early adopters of such forms of payments.

Despite the very early lead, we are nowhere close to becoming a cashless society.

I see a parallel in schooling and education. Creative and innovative educators are held back or even penalised for their efforts. They might not be recognised for their risk-taking because appraisals do not have those measures. They might be overloaded with teaching duties because they are good at what they do.

While e-payment barriers might be explained superficially by the need to make money, there are deeper reasons like underlying mindsets and behaviours. Likewise the barriers in schooling and education to progress as enabled by emerging technology is a numbers-first mindset, stubborn administrative policies, outdated or infrequently updated curricula, and cruel testing regimes.

With enough investigation and reflection, the barriers to necessary and progressive forms of change are easy enough to uncover. Sadly, the e-payment barriers are easier to address than the ones in education. Anything to do with the economy hits our individual and collective pockets, and we feel the pain and urgency.

If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children. -- Confucius

Schooling and education is the long tail of social endeavour. People might not pay as much attention to it if its impact is not as immediate. We need to first recognise that we are collectively myopic. Then only can we prescribe corrective lenses to examine ourselves clearly and critically.

This Sunday’s quote is courtesy of this tweet:

Tomorrow's educational progress cannot be determined by yesterday's 'successful' performance.

The quote is another way of saying that we cannot rest on our laurels.

If we do, we will get a bum rash and that will affect the way we walk. That in turn will prevent us from moving forward as well as we should. That is not implied in the quote and is something I visualise.

Yesterday’s practice was to just use the photo. Today’s is to give credit where it is due. The original image was a CC-licensed photo.

I posted these two tweets yesterday.

I am also glad to say that the app we developed with an internal market in mind, mVideo, has also been picked up by at least one school here.

We have done this without any aggressive marketing. We launched the apps during the e-Fiesta, shared freely over social media and one educamp, and worked them into projects with interested parties.

Interested in CeL’s apps? Visit our apps page or get a few more details at this shared Google Doc.

A headline like “Pulitzer Prizes to allow online-only publications” is a reason for me to rejoice. First, it is an indication that online publications are being recognised as being at least on-par with traditional rags. Second, online-only publications are the way to go if we are to reduce our dependence on paper!

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Pulitzer was so progressive:

Sig Gissler, administrator of the prizes, said the move was a "logical extension of the historic mission of the Pulitzer Prizes."

"We continue to keep an eye on the changing media scene and try to make appropriate adjustments as we go along," he told AFP.

"There’s an evolutionary aspect to the Pulitzer Prizes going back through history," Gissler said. "We added photography in 1943, for example, and we added explanatory journalism, and we started allowing online content as early as 1999."

Ah, progress. Even religious groups are moving with the times.

Yahoo! Tech reports that Muslims now have Muxlim Pal, a virtual environment which “caters primarily to Muslims living in western countries who long to reconnect with other Muslims and Muslim culture”.

A case of “if you build it, they will come”? No. It is a case of knowing and catering to the needs of your audience.

Sadly, most educators do not always know what their learners need. Nor are they progressive enough to change with the times. I hope that it will not take a meltdown for educators to change their mindsets.

Reading articles like these just inspires me to keep preparing new teachers who think more progressively and systemically. The system may not allow me to do this effectively nor does it reward me for doing this, but I am determined!


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