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Posts Tagged ‘smart nation

I am thankful to have received my first of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

I am particularly thankful to the education partner who nominated me. I work with more than one partner and the others did not do so even though I conduct courses for their educators or students.

Now I have a rant about a first-world problem. 

I received email notification from my education partner on 16 March that I was on a shortlist. I had to wait for an SMS that would invite me to schedule the two injections.

Eight days after that notification, I read the news that vaccinations were open to those aged 49-59 in the general population. Those who wished to get vaccinated could register here to get the same SMS.

As I had not received notice for the first (nominated) registration, I decided to try the general route as I belonged to that age group. The registration system at the time required me to verify my mobile number via a one-time password (OTP). 

The problem with that was the OTP took longer to arrive than they were valid for. This meant I could not register via the general invitation. My guess is that the registration system was swamped with requests.

I waited two days and tried again. This time the OTP requirement was no longer on the registration form and my request went through (see first SMS, below).

Later that same day, the nominated invitation arrived (see second SMS, above). I scheduled my vaccinations immediately and received the SMS confirmation below.

Strangely enough, I received another SMS six days later thanking me for my interest and assuring me that I would be notified if there were slots for booking. This was jarring given that I had already reserved my slots. 

We have a Smart Nation initiative. Have the administrators of the vaccination notification system read the memo? This was not the first round of invitations, registrations, and confirmations. According to this news report, 80% of 50,000 workers in the education sector had previously registered for vaccination appointments. How smart is the sub-system if it did not learn from the previous experience and improve the next one?

“Apple
Wikimedia Commons source

This CNET article claimed that Apple Face ID might practically replace Touch ID for verification. This is no surprise given how Face ID is effectively a 3D mapping and recognition system.

Even neutrals have suggested that it could have applications beyond the iPhone. Offhand I can think of how Face ID might be expanded to banking services and venue access.

As smart these moves could be, their potential and effectiveness is stymied by dumb people.

I am not referring to people who refuse to adopt such technology or who do not have access. These people might have legitimate reasons for saying no. For example, they might have valid security concerns or financial limitations.

I am thinking about people who have bought in to the idea, but do not implement them properly. Here are two examples, both of which involve point-of-sale payment.

I find Apple Pay to be fast and convenient where it is available. However, I have been to one fast food joint where the reader was at crotch level. This is fine with Touch ID — I could reach down with my thumb on my iPhone. However, assuming that scanning, authorisation, and payment must occur in quick sequence, I would have to bow or kneel to have my face read with Face ID.

At a popular coffee place, the reader was located near shoulder level on a countertop. The counter itself prioritised the display and sale of knick-knacks so you had to reach awkwardly high and over to pay electronically with Touch ID.

To make matters worse, the reader faced the ceiling instead being angled towards the customer. How might it read my face?

Both these two establishments could avoid placing readers at odd spaces and angles. They should provide better experiences by taking customer perspectives and use.

As I often do, I link these everyday experiences to teaching and learning with technology.

These odd implementations of cashless payments are like clumsy edtech use. Teachers and administrators might have bought in to the use of a particular technology, a suite of tools, or an entire system. All these are typically led by one or more vendors.

However, all parties often forget the learner and do not know how to design from the learning point of view. This sounds like such a fundamental principle, but it is one of the most ignored or poorly understood.

My almost 30 years of being an educator have helped me distill this principle down to this: Teaching is neat. Learning is messy. 

“Teaching

Experts forget what it it like to be a novice. Sellers forget what it is like to be buyers. Worse still, both might argue that it is not important to take the perspective of those they serve.

We may have aspirations to be a so-called Smart Nation. But this push is meaningless if we have willfully dumb people.


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