Monthly Archive for April, 2007

iQuiz: Create and share quizzes for Video iPods

iQuiz: Create quizes for video iPods

I just came back from an awesome evening with the Singapore Mac user group @ Geek Terminal (official launch in May). Been celebrating too much after my teaching stint ended. While I procrastinate blogging everything on my mental inbox, here’s a quickie from my online ethnographer and educator buddy, Preetam Rai.

He gives us an illustrated step-by-step process of how he creates quizzes for the Video iPod using iQuiz, the latest iPod game which costs only US$0.99. Pretty neat if you have enough students using iPods. It’d be neater if it worked on Nanos too, but I guess you can’t read the type then. And I only have a Shuffle.

BTW: Jesse Perry was enterprising enough to setup, where creators can post their user-generated quizzes.

Exams over. School’s out. What’s next?

I so want to do this: Lip Dub – Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger

OK, so I’ve handed in the final grades for my classes, packed up my stuff at work (UB/SIM) and I’m about to move out of my apartment. What will I be doing from now till I return to Buffalo? Here are some recent thoughts:

Teaching is fun. Being so, it didn’t really feel like work that much. Granite (ahem!) I’m was situated in an American satellite program in a Singaporean school, so I had the kind of creative freedom other teachers could only dream of (like I totally exploited it!). It’s pretty psychologically fulfilling too, since not only do you help shape young (sometimes overtly-complicated) minds, it also happens to be the best way to keep learning. As my dad would say, to learn something better, teach it. If you are motivated enough to share your knowledge, you’ll definitely pick up things you might have otherwise taken for granite. As you can tell by now, I do plan to continue teaching in future. Damn, it pays well.

Meantime, I’ve to work on a few academic papers. One’s an update on China’s Great Firewall, while the other’s on how my UB colleague and I made our classes more game-like using blogs. I’m also trying to get my dissertation proposal going…

Work aside, I wanted to do this lipdubbing thing (see video above) with my class in public (aka “flashpunking”?). Some might say started with the Chinese Backstreet Boys, but I think got really refined by Jakob Lodwick, as seen doing Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy in the subway. If even a five year old Japanese kid could do it, I figure why can’t the rest of us try this sometime too. Anyone?

To tide me over the lack of music and dance, I’m working on one two interesting videoblogging projects. Saying this helps commit me to it, and as with everything else, it’s better to show the goods when its ready, than to bullshit talk like it already happened now.

To my students: Good Luck for your exams!

Calm before the storm...

I know this exam week will be tough on you: some will take it lightly, some will be totally serious about it. I’ve been there done that for the longest time, so my advice to you is to pace yourselves. Take breaks and stay fresh. Study smart by feeling the subject, not merely memorizing it. Lastly, if you’re in doubt about any of the questions, just imagine what I would say about it.

My biggest gripe (and many of my teaching colleagues agree) is having the wonderfully good students do badly, while the nasty arrogant students do extremely well.

Be streetwise and don’t over-analyze the questions. If you believe from your gut about something, chances are that you’re probably right. Trust yourself and may the force be with you.

Finished filming episode two of “Hi! Tech”…

Filming "Hi! Tech" @ Film Formations - 7
From left to right: Nag (director), Daniel Koh (soundman), Jamie (young female presenter), Wenn (production assistant), Jasmine (female host), Woody Milintachinda (male host / thai celebrity), Michele (wardrobe assistant), Mike, Yen Loon (cameraman / old classmate), and Jerald (young male presenter)

Did you watch this weekend’s first episode of “Hi! Tech”?

I missed it, and I forgot to set the DVR to record it (aiyah!). In any case, they just wrapped up shooting the second episode of “Hi! Tech”. This episode is set to telecast this coming Saturday at 1.30pm on Kids Central (TV12) and will feature various young and enterprising bloggers.

Since I already teach this for a living, yours truly is in this episode as a “professional” to explain what blogs are, why people blog, how one could set one up, what we should be aware of (online safety), and how to be a popular blogger (start by making friends with other bloggers).

This was my second time visiting the production, and as such, I got know the cast and crew a little more intimately as you can see in the photo above. Most of them are quite young and these sort of productions can be quite demanding on them. Imagine how they are filming even through the exam season! If you think they have it easy, think again.

I tried asking them for their blogs, but I only got Jamie’s one which is at Hopefully the rest of the cast and crew who sees this (yes, they do read my blog!), will drop a comment with links to their own blogs or web sites.

Meantime, here are photos from behind the scenes…

Photos: The Making of COM125 Music & Blog Awards…

The Making of COM125 Awards

For anyone interested, you can now see the neat little trophies and medals I gave out at the recent COM125 music and blog awards. These were specially designed and shipped all the way from China! See where they came from (really), how I painstakingly handwrote on them, and finally the many happy faces of award winners in class.

The “making of” slideshow is right over here…

Video: Grand Finale // The COM125 Music & Blog Awards

As the Spring 2007 semester draws to a close, I threw an MTV-style music and blog awards to highlight the best students in the COM125: Intro to Internet class.

There are two main award categories:
1. The COM125 Idol Contest
2. The Ultimate Blog Awards

For the COM125 Idol Contest, students were ranked by the online community on their singing ability via our own Singshot contest page. There were some strange people from the public who joined in, so I’ve only taken into account our students’ entries. The music categories I came up with include: Best Male Vocal, Best Female Vocal and Best Group Vocal.

For The Ultimate Blog Awards, I took the cumulative score of their weekly blog assignments, and took into account the stuff that were external to the assignment, such as getting linked by popular blogs, getting public comments and amount of personal expression on their blogs. Since I gave out weekly blog awards, it helped in assessing each student’s overall performance.

This week, classes have officially ended. Next week, it’s all about exams. I’ll share more about my teaching experience and whether I’ve decided that Singapore is the place for me in a future blog post. For now, I don’t want to spoil anymore surprises so just watch the show… it’s a good one.

Today’s Links: When tragedy strikes, we turn to blogs…

The Good & Evil of Blogs
Yesterday’s Straits Times (18th April 2007) featured how people turned to blogs to check on their loved ones in Virginia Tech after the massacre, aka a co-ordinating medium (see photo of pg. 19), while in the same paper, featured how the Malaysian government is having a hard time dealing with citizen bloggers (see photo of pg. 25). While television and radio have fallen into the hands of capitalists, such is the ceaseless irony of the last democratic medium: Blogs

  • VT Massacre: International Student Backlash
    “We fed them, housed them, schooled them and then taught them how to fly planes so they could crash into buildings and kill thousands of innocent people. So I guess we can now furnish them with weapons too, huh?” [Hat tip to Nelson for finding this. Actually that South Korean kid lived in the States since he was eight. He’s a Green Card holder raised in the States, not really an international student] Keywords: social, crime, vtmassacre, blogs


Web 2.0

Strange + Cool = Strangool!

Alert: Deadliest School Shooting in U.S. History at Virginia Tech

It’s sickly ironic that I started off the COM242: Effects of Mass Media class with the Columbine shooting incident, and now the semester ends with the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, a massacre in Virginia Tech.

In true citizen journalism style, this cellphone footage of the “Virginia Tech Massacre” was sent from a student to CNN’s I-Report, then re-captured on LiveLeak and Youtube. It’s too bad that CNN (and most news media) doesn’t see value in sharing embeddable videos or even convenient permalinks.

According to CNN, this was what happened:

  1. a lone gunman dressed in Boy Scout-type outfit
  2. he chained doors at Virginia Tech’s Norris Hall
  3. opened fire into a dorm and classroom
  4. 25 people killed on scene, another 29 wounded
  5. he committing suicide
  6. As of writing, 33 are now dead
  7. It is the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history

Want to know something weird?
7:15 a.m: Police in Blacksburg, Virginia, were alerted to the shootings via a 911 call.

After the shooting, Virginia Tech officials sent an email informing everyone of the incident, but there were no lockdowns nor class cancellations. Then this happened just two hours after…

9:15 a.m: In a second shooting, more than 30 shots were reported in nearby Norris Hall.

Want to know something weirder?
UPDATED: Thanks to MrBig, Nelson, Lucian for the latest reports

NPR has confirmed that Seung Hui Cho, 23, a registered alien of Korean nationality, was the gunman in Monday’s killing spree at a Virginia Tech classroom building. He killed at least 30 people before taking his own life. The death toll is the worst of any shooting rampage in U.S. history.

The shooter could be an International Chinese Student.

According to Chicago Sun-Times, authorities are investigating whether the gunman who killed 33 people on the Virginia Tech campus in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history was a Chinese man who arrived in the United States last year on a student visa. The 24-year-old man arrived in San Francisco on United Airlines on Aug. 7 on a visa issued in Shanghai, the source said.

The Chinese population has typically been adverse to various forms of terrorism, until now. I have Asian friends who are now concerned of racial backlash in the States, while some are concerned about safety on campuses.

I am duly concerned that it wouldn’t be as easy returning to the States to continue my education, especially now that the climate of fear encompasses the Chinese as well. I just hope people understand that this shooting is an idiosyncratic case that should never be attributed to the rest of us enjoying the peace, and respecting it.

Google News is aggregating news on this…

UPDATE 1: Su Yuen discovered how an actual account by a Malaysian student at Virginia Tech was exaggerated by a Malay newspaper. It’s quite funny since the student corrects all the mistakes in the paper.

UPDATE 2: Here are “disturbing” videos and photos apparently sent in to NBC by the Virginia Tech gunman Cho Seung-Hui. It give a glimpse of his psyche.

More on that TV12 Kids Central Show called “Hi! Tech”

EastCoastLife's Jaymes featured on "Hi! Tech" TV show
Here are more photos from EastCoastLife and her son Jaymes. In fact, that’s them standing by the doorway…

Remember that TV12’s Kids Central series about “Kids and New Media”, the one I was helping out?

I made a shout-out for young ones who blog. Moments later, DK tipped me off to Jaymes, a 15 year old blogger who happened to be the son of popular mom blogger, EastCoastLife. Small world indeed!

Naturally, EastCoastLife has blogged details of the recent production shoot over at their home. You can expect to watch Jaymes on Kids’ Central, on 21st April 2007 at 1.30pm.

Incidentally, the show is now called “Hi! Tech”. The official synopsis is now available:

Hi! Tech is a 13 x 30mins magazine info-ed series for children and young adults aged 11-14 years old.

The show aims to equip the target audience with the appropriate knowledge about New media It essentially consists of digital media that branches out into online music, blogs, interactive TV, online games, Internet enabled mobile phones and pod casts etc.

It also aims to showcase the latest trends and developments in digital Media and technology as well as educate them about the responsible use of Digital Media by introducing fun ways to further explore the use of Digital Media in relation to daily life.

Not to purely paint a rosy picture about Digital Media, Hi! Tech! will highlight the pros and cons about Digital Media as well. Hi! Tech will take on a fun yet tech-savvy approach. It will treat viewers not as clueless children but as tech-savvy users that are already well informed of latest trends through friends and self-exploration and have minds that are highly impressionable.

Every week Two young explorers (11-14) will get a chance to explore all about digital media along with our two energetic hosts Woody and Jasmine.

I’m not sure if the production needs more young bloggers, but since then I’ve discovered two younger bloggers with strong interests. Kenneth pointed out a ten year old nature blogger by the name of Leshon (great photos!), while singer Michael Cho pointed out his brother-in-law, Nicholas Leu, who seems especially profound for a nine year old blogger. See Nick’s post on Reverse Choice.

If you know other talented young bloggers who don’t mind getting some exposure, do let me know. The rest of Singapore could learn from them!

Busy busy busy weekend…

7-11 strangeness
Spot anything funny about this photo? Saw it near the Vivocity cinema…

Something I’ve liked about Twitter is how it forces you to tell your tale in just a hundred and forty characters. For instance, this Saturday could be summed up like this:

10am: Raffles Biodiversity Museum Tour @ NUS with Heritage folks // 3pm: Coffee with Siva on // 7pm: Met folks from

Everything was touch and go, with my students’ exams and grades beckoning for me at the back of my mind. That’s why after all the adventures on Saturday, my Sunday has been filled with getting things done. As they say in army, “last burst of fire” before my teaching stint ends this April. Updates when life ain’t so crazy…