internet

Technology is used to improve safety on South African roads

Sunday, June 30th, 2013 | internet, technology | Comments Off

The following media release may be of interest to you … it once again illustrates the value of harnessing technology.

How is My Drive.co.za strives to improve road safety and provides valuable feedback to drivers

Johannesburg, June 2013 — Every year approximately 14 000 people lose their lives in road traffic related accidents and thousands more are injured. How is My Drive.co.za has unveiled a new concept in South Africa which strives to improve these statistics. This new website provides road users with an easy-to-use online platform through which road incidents, such as bad driving, can be reported, stored and searched. This results in removing the anonymous nature of driving and provides valuable feedback to the public.

The idea behind the website was developed after witnessing multiple incidents involving reckless driving and a disregard for the rules of the road, which is increasingly becoming the norm in South Africa,” said Igor Rodionov, the creator of the website.  “After countless brain storming sessions it became clear that social responsibility and internet technology can be combined effectively to make a positive difference.”

Road users who are interested in improving road safety can create an account on the website and immediately become road spotters. This allows road users the ability to easily post road incident reports on any vehicle.  Once the report is submitted, it gets verified and becomes available via the search feature.

The idea is that by allowing road spotters to submit various reports using their computer or mobile phone, the anonymous nature behind driving is removed and the public can receive valuable feedback regarding their driving style. Using this information, bad drivers can improve their driving behaviour and become more reluctant to break road rules. In return, road spotters can register their vehicle registration and receive email notifications when reports become available on their vehicle.

Additionally, the website provides businesses, a commercial solution which allows them to monitor their drivers by placing a How is My Drive.co.za decal at the back of their vehicles. Their system has multiple benefits to businesses including reductions in accident rates and costs. Since the system does not use expensive call centres, How is My Drive.co.za is able to offer businesses a cost-effective solution.

How is My Drive.co.za is a website which is committed to making a positive change in road behaviour and a good South African initiative. To obtain more information, please visit www.howismydrive.co.za.

[This is a guest post; the content was provided by Igor Rodionov.]

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SENT – Schools eNetwork Trust

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 | internet | Comments Off

A guest post by Ian Anderson of SENT

The Schools eNetwork Trust (SENT) is a non-profit organisation, which was established  in 2011 to provide free internet access and other services to schools. The pilot project has started in the Western Cape, and has achieved sixty applications and over twenty-five installations of schools. The vision is that in time, depending on input and assistance, this service will become available to schools in other provinces.

The initiative is a blue print for the implementation of a provincial schools Wide Area Network (WAN), which we have called the Intranet. The intranet is not designed to take over the administration of the schools networks although it should help; it is designed to connect the schools with service providers and enable appropriate services.

We understand that many of our schools do not have the necessary technical skills, or the finances, to employ these skills directly to run networks and manage complex technical services. SENT supports this process and provides the resource base that directly improves productivity and reduces operational costs.

SENT provides a WAN connection into which schools are connected for internet access that also includes various secure services including email, web proxy and remote backup.  An amount of 20gb of bandwidth is provided with up to a 5mb synchronous speed.

A message from the CEO, Dave Couves:

As the CEO of Comtel Communications, we support SENT with all the resources we can provide, as connecting schools is a very realistic goal.

At this stage the entire project is financed by a commitment from Comtel Communications, which has pledged R1 million in resources, with the assistance of Scoop Distribution Cape Town, who has supplied R40 000 worth of wireless equipment. Other keen stakeholders are welcome to contact us at info@sent.org.za .

For more information or to register your school in the Western Cape, please visit our website for a free Line of site and installation.

An opportunity for schools

 

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ICT skills make a teachers’s life easier

Thursday, March 1st, 2012 | training | Comments Off

Basic computer skills are of great use to teachers.  The more of these skills you develop, the more productive you’ll become.

Touch typing is an example of such a useful skill.  Once you’ve acquired the ability to type without looking at the keyboard you’ll type faster and more accurately.  If you are using a computer to type things, such as test papers end memorandums, or if you have to enter lots of data, your life will be so much easier if you can touchtype.

 

Touch typing is a valuable skill for teachers

 

Knowing all the features of a word processor will likewise make working with text easier.  Word processors have so many features specially designed to help you when you are creating any type of document.  The more familiar you are with these features, the easier your life will become.

The use of a spreadsheet can save you many hours of calculating and recalculating learner test marks.  It can work out averages for you and the possibilities of producing statistics and other valuable information are endless.

Invest some time in developing ICT skills.  It will relieve you of many admin burdens and allow you to focus on what you’re good at and what you are really there for: teaching.

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Bad grammar on the internet can help teachers

Monday, November 7th, 2011 | internet | Comments Off

The internet is a wonderful source of information but it can be misleading at times.  This is particularly so when it comes to the use of good grammar.

Gone are the days when only journalists, skilled in the use of beautiful and correct language, were employed to write articles.  Nowadays, anyone who has access to the internet is free to publish information on their websites and blogs.  This freedom is great, since we have access to more insights and ideas, but often the way in which material is presented leaves much to be desired.  Postings on the web are often riddled with grammatical errors – some estimate that errors can be found on more than half of what is published on the web.

Why are there so many errors?  The writer may not be writing in his mother tongue or may not know the rules of grammar.  In many cases errors are present simply because the author did not check and edit the writing before it was published.

Whatever the reasons for grammatical mistakes, learners must be made aware of the fact that:

Not everything you read online is grammatically correct.

The price you pay for bad grammar is poor communication.  Even though learners may incline towards “SMS speak” good grammar is still necessary for clear communication in the professional world where learners will operate after they leave school.Teachers must teach learners the rules of grammar.  After alerting learners to the poor grammar they will encounter on the web, teachers can turn the bad usage to their advantage: identify a site where the rules of grammar have not been followed and give learners an assignment to correct the errors.

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Internet connectivity for schools

Thursday, June 30th, 2011 | internet | 2 Comments

The value of the internet can not be questioned. All efforts to provide connectivity to schools deserve your support and applause.

However (there is alway a ‘however’!)

Such a bridge may be fashionable ... but of what practical use is it?

 … the promise of connectivity to schools who do not have technology in working order, is like the promise of a bridge where there is no river.

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Cyber bullying and sexting a reality in our schools

Thursday, January 27th, 2011 | Computer Usage, internet | 2 Comments

Teachers, are you able to teach your learners the necessary skills so that they can protect themselves against cyber bullying and sexting?

Dangerous mix: The instant online life of cellphones combined with the poor impulse control make adolescents particularly vulnerable to online bullying.  (According to Lisa Skinner, M&G)

The Mail&Guardian carried an article on 21 January 2011 highlighing the dangers of cyber bullying and sexting, emphasizing that they are realities in our schools.

The article ends with good advice to learners, teachers and parents.  Do yourself and your learners a favour by reading it.

If we do not educate our children against the dangers of the cyber world, we are failing as educators – and as an education system.  What is the use of teaching children to read and write and count, but allowing them to be consumed by depravity?

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What is Web2.0?

Thursday, January 13th, 2011 | internet | 5 Comments

The term Web2.0 has been with us for a while now – in fact it is so 2009 – but many still grapple to understand what it is.

Web2.0 is not a new software version of the internet – rather, it is a concept.  Many attempts have been made to explain what it is, but if you cut through all the complex explanations, it is not difficult to understand the concept:

Web1.0 refers to the internet as most of us know it – a world wide web of information to be surfed when we need information.  But it is ‘read only’ – we go there to find information.  The main difference of Web2.0 is that it is ‘read/write’.

The advent of Web2.0 simply means that new tools became available so that ordinary people like you and me have the ability to write our ideas onto the web with little effort.   We can do so by maintaining a blog – or even commenting on a blog – or through other networking programmes such as Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and others.  Of course, there are also other ways in which you can be an active participant on the web.

Web2.0 tools empower us to make our voice heard on the internet.  It is now possible for every person who has access to the internet to write to it – sharing experiences, knowledge, insights, views, theories, and other ideas.  This can be done by means of text, graphics, sound and video.

While the concept of Web2.0 has been advocated for some time now, too many – perhaps most – web surfers are still doing so in Web1.0 mode.

In what mode are you operating?

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Can learners learn how to handle information without a teacher’s assistance?

Thursday, December 30th, 2010 | internet, technology | 2 Comments

Just because children have the ability to use a mouse or know where to press the buttons on a computer does not mean that technology will benefit them. 

Let’s use the internet as an example.  Learners quickly discover how to surf the net – oh yes, they do!  But how beneficial is such surfing to them – and how safe is it? 

The situation reminds us of ducklings.  It is often said that learners take to technology like ducks take to water.  When ducklings are hatched they follow their mother to the nearest river or pond.  They know instinctively that they must jump into the water and when they land in the water they know what to do – their mother does not have to teach them how to swim.  But she does teach them how to forage for food and she protects them when she senses danger. 

An interesting thing happens when duck eggs are hatched by a chicken hen.  When the ducklings emerge from the eggs the hen will cluck-cluck and the ducklings will respond and follow her.  Until they sense water!  Then nature takes over – they make a bee-line for the water, dive into it and swim.  It seems as if they are programmed to do so. 

Cool!  Or is it?  Without a mother duck, how purposeful is their swimming?  With the hen standing on the shore, she can’t teach them how to find food – she knows how to forage for food on land, but has no clue how to do so in water.  The mother duck would be able to alert them to dangers – such as crocodiles or water snakes – and lead them to safety.  A mother hen standing on shore has no experience in this matter. 

The application of this analogy should be clear.  Modern learners may easily find their way around on the internet but without the guidance of a skilled teacher how beneficial will their browsing be?  They won’t know how to search purposefully for information and they’ll be exposed to the dangers of the internet – without guidance or protection.

As teachers you can’t afford to stand on the periphery of technology – you must jump into the information pool and show them the safe way to find relevant information.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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How can technology help me to be a lifelong learner?

Monday, December 27th, 2010 | technology | Comments Off

When you were in school you learned what you were given to pass your grades; at university you did the same.  Maybe you celebrated when it was all over.  Now, when you hear about lifelong learning you may have nightmares about enrolling in one course after another – all of them with set curricula leading to formal qualifications – for the rest of your life.

This is not what lifelong learning is about at all!  The term means exactly what it says: you continue to learn new things for as long as you live, beyond the period of formal studies.  The wonderful thing about lifelong learning is that you choose what you want to learn – those things that are of interest to you.

Books and travel have always been the friends of lifelong learners.  Technology can now be your best friend.  If you can’t afford to buy books or to travel, technology puts knowledge at your fingertips.

The internet is a bottomless pit of knowledge. There is no end to the things you can learn.  Today it’s easy to link to the internet through a variety of portable devices – most cell phones allow you access to this worldwide web of knowledge.   Space and time no longer restrict your learning.  You can learn: 

  • wherever you are
  • whenever you like
  • whatever you want.

In our busy world it is hard to find time to learn new things, particularly if there is no pressing need to do so.  That is where wherever-whenever is so useful.  For example, while waiting in queues you can use your mobile device to learn some interesting things about your favourite topic by accessing a blog or a website. 

“How do I know where to find the information,” you may ask.  A personal learning network (PLN) is of great value.  If you’re involved in social networks such as Twitter or Plurk you will soon become acquainted with people who share your interests.  Some of them regularly post links to sites they’ve discovered and in no time you’ll have more references than you can handle. 

Of course, if you want to pursue formal qualification as part of your lifelong learning program, technology is useful here too.  Many on-line courses are available – you can pursue your studies in the comfort of your home. 

Whatever you want to learn, for whatever reason, technology makes it possible, affordable and pleasurable.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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Truth or lies: all revealed on WikiLeaks

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 | internet | Comments Off

The internet is a rich source of information.  You can now even find secret documents not intended for public viewing on the web.

WikiLeaks is a whistleblower website where confidential government and political documents are published.  These revelations may be fictional, or it may be “fact stranger than fiction”.

According to a news report, South African international relations spokesperson Saul Molobi said:

“It is the policy of this government not to comment on leaks.”

The internet may yet prove to be the best form of entertainment!

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