Asian Correspondent » QUT Asian Correspondent Fri, 03 Jul 2015 23:47:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Exactly who is using Twitter? Wed, 29 Dec 2010 05:28:38 +0000

Pew Internet Director Lee Rainie and Lead Research Specialist Aaron Smith recently published a report about the social media phenomenon Twitter. The full report is available online at  The research had been conducted from 3 – 24 November 2010, with 2,257 adult internet users (>18 years old) through tracking survey and phone interview. Today 8 percent of North Americans use Twitter. According to their report, interestingly, Twitter is most popular with 1) young adults, 2) minorities, 3) female, and 4) urban residents

See the table of Twitter use by demographic group by clicking the link below.

1) Young adults
The most active age group of Twitter users are young adults aged between 18 and 29. Fourteen per cent of them are using Twitter. This rate is much higher than any other age groups. The second highest group is the age group between 30 and 49 that recorded 7 percent only.

2) Minorities
The statistics above shows that 18 percent of Hispanic and 13 per cent of Black (non-Hispanic) use Twitter. This rate is higher than white (non-Hispanic) users that recorded 5 percent only.

3) Female
Eight per cent of USA internet adult users are Twitter users. Women users recorded 10 per cent, while men users 7 per cent.

4)  Urban residents
Urban residents (11 percent) are twice or more as likely to use Twitter as rural area residents (5 percent).

So what does all this data mean? Well the data allows us to roughly outline the cultural tendencies of Twitter users, although the report does not discuss this. The four mentioned groups are commonly characterised by the following features. 1) They are all the minorities in power. Online communication reflects their demands for power-sharing (less hierarchy) and autonomy that often create conflict offline; 2) they are sharing high feminine cultural characteristics rather than masculine characteristics. They tend to resolve conflict through negotiation. Online communication helps reduce the power distance and encourage more negotiatory activities based on intimate communication; finally 3) they prefer more collectivist-driven culture rather than individualistic. In collectivist cultures, people act as a member of a long-term group and prioritise to maintain their cultural values and beliefs.

With this brief cultural interpretation of the survey results, we can see that social network sites (SNSs) like Twitter welcome more community-driven activities. Therefore, if you plan to use SNSs in your teaching, you need to carefully think about what will be your roles in the predominant SNS cultures and what cultural values and system your students (and you) will develop through activities.

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Class size versus teacher quality Thu, 18 Nov 2010 06:20:06 +0000

A recent research project undertaken by the Grattan Institute in Melbourne, Australia revealed that teachers are more important than class size.  Over the past few decades, Australia has spent a lot of money on education initiatives to reduce class size, yet this does not seem to have significantly improve schooling and reduce bullying and absenteeism. Read the full story by clicking the following link:

Teachers more important than class size

According to Australian Social Trends (ABS, 2006), student/teaching staff ratios are: primary school, 16 to 1 and secondary school, 14.6 to 1. The class size of Australian schools has been well optimised for good education.  It has been believed that smaller classes are able to initiate more instructional, fewer management, and better academic achievements. Yet, the research outcomes above show that the most significant factor for good education is teacher quality rather than class size.

Indeed, Australian schools have a better education environment and support than most Asian countries, but their academic performance isn’t better. This is not a reasonable result. An article written by John Biggs in 1998, Learning from the Confucian heritage: so size doesn’t matter? comprehensively and systematically explains where the differences are from. Click here to view the full article (then select the PDF icon to view).



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Are you an active participant? Mon, 25 Oct 2010 00:56:23 +0000

In my class, I asked my students to complete a web-based reflective writing task. Web-based reflective writing consists of two key components: individual expression and collaborative connection.


In practice, you have to post your idea on an online discussion forum board to get feedback from your peers. You then collect at least five pieces of feedback to complete your reflective writing. It sounds like a simple and easy job, yet many students were concerned they wouldn’t get enough and/or quality feedback. Fortunately, the majority of students completed the task. It can be presumed that they were actively participating in their learning by posting, commenting, sharing and connecting.


However, only 25 per cent of students responded that they were active participants in their learning. See the table below. It shows only 25 per cent of students were actively engaging in their learning by expressing their idea and sharing it with others. What about the rest? Well, their focus of attention may have been on task completion only, so their quality of reflective writing may be good, but missed the valuable experiences that come with “active participation”.


Types of interactivity

Types of interactivity

Respondents (percent)

Active participants

61 (25.6%)

Semi active participants

56 (23.5%)

Participants (or regular viewers)

64 (26.9%)

Passive participant (or irregular viewers)

53 (22.3%)


3 (1.2%)

Not applicable

1 (.4%)


238 (100.0%)


In a classroom, you see the same thing. Some students are very active, less active, passive, and quiet. But I think the proportion of active participants and semi-active participants are higher in web-based learning than in a face-to-face classroom.


What about yourself? Are you an active participant or a passive participant in an online community or in web-based learning? Are you a double-faced person when it comes to online and offline? Do you have any particular reasons why you tend to be a viewer (passive participant) rather than an active participant?


I will keep researching to ensure the majority of students to become active participants in their learning.

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New app provides facial recognition for smartphones Tue, 12 Oct 2010 23:07:10 +0000

On a street, you take a photo of a stranger’s face with your smart phone such as an iPhone or Android. The phone then retrieves the stranger’s information from the Internet (Facebook or Twitter). Isn’t it amazing? I am also a bit scared because a stranger can take a photo of me and find my information from Internet. 


An application developed a Swedish software company, “Recognizr”, is what makes this possible. The application allows you to see who he/she is and what social networks they are connected to. It operates by facial recognition technology which creates a 3D map of your face photo taken by a smart phone and finds the photo of the person on social network sites.


Furthermore, the application has been bought by Apple for 24 million US dollars. 


Click the link to see the product features:

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Google Instant: Visually and functionally dynamic Tue, 14 Sep 2010 01:03:19 +0000


On September 10, 2010, Google released its ‘Google Instant’ service that shows results as you type. Google claims Google Instant is better and faster. Technically, you can save one or two seconds with Google Instant because you can scan the results while typing. This means you don’t have to hit the Enter key and wait for the results.

Saving a few seconds with Google Instant hasn’t given me much excitement. But it is visually dynamic and fun!  The results are constantly and instantly updating while typing. So I thought it would be awesome if Google Instant works for image search. Disappointingly it doesn’t.

Anyway, Google Instant is available in the United States only, and works in Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 8 and Safari. If your Google page has been set in your country, like Australia, rather than the U.S., you have to change to (US) by clicking “Go to” link in the footer (see the image below).

For more information on Google Instant, visit





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Animate children’s learning Mon, 30 Aug 2010 02:04:35 +0000

Animation is a series of still images. It can be of drawings, objects, or people in various positions of incremental movement. However, when played back, it produces a stream of unbroken motion. Consisting of a series of drawings or photographs on paper, animation can be viewed with a mechanical device or by flipping through a hand-held sequence of images. Animations can be seen in films, video, or on computers.


Below are two great examples of animation, the second is a particularly good demonstration of using interactive animation to enhance kids’ learning:


      Stop-Motion Animation Workshop


Lego Star Wars – Christmas Special:


      Interactive animation 


Virtual Knee Surgery
Take on the role of the Surgeon throughout a total knee replacement surgery:


Here are some practical implications for learning design:


1)      Its impact on learning, creativity and behavior.

2)      Animation is a great classroom activity, allowing teachers and students to explore and develop a more creative curriculum, in literacy, science, citizenship, and many topic areas.

3)      Being fun, creative and hands-on learning, animation motivates and engages both teachers and students because it uses simple ICT practice. Animation is uniquely suited to all classrooms, depending on the topic and how it used.


Animation allows students and teachers to have an authentic collaborative and cooperative experience, and can motivate students to learn more through the development process. Furthermore, when its development process or its outcome sharing links to a local community, their learning is extended to the real world.

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Sounds like education Wed, 04 Aug 2010 06:48:28 +0000

Sound can be used in strategic parts of a program or during a movie to emphasise certain points. These may include speech, audio effects (e.g. applause), ambient sound (e.g. the background sound of the sea) and music. 

Storytelling and podcasting are particularly suited to adapting sound technology to educate.

Storytelling with sound effects is a great example of where sound can be used in education. Storytelling is a task shared by storyteller and story listeners, so the interaction between them makes a story come to life. Development of DIGITAL storytelling combining sound and slideshows can strengthen your story and provide a deeper connection with your audience. 

Podcasting is the distribution of audio or video files, such as radio programs or music videos, over the Internet using either RSS or Atom syndication for listening on mobile devices and personal computers. The term “podcast”, like radio, can mean both the content and method of delivery.

Subscribing to podcasts allows a user to collect programs from a variety of sources for listening or viewing either online or off-line through a portable device, whenever and wherever it is convenient. In contrast, traditional broadcasting provides only one source at a time, and the time is broadcaster-specified.

This has positive and practical implications for learning design:

  •  All of the audio/voice technologies are relatively inexpensive
  •   Most students have access to a CD or MP3 player in their home or in a car.

Almost everyone is comfortable using a telephone and a CD/MP3. With voice technologies, there is no software to install and no hardware to configure, so they are easy to use! 

Have a look at these links for some examples of what I mean:

If a digital book is synchronised with relevant sound effects, background music and speech technology, students will remember not just words or a part of the book, but the WORLD the story was told in. The best way of using the element of sound in education is to let students to create their own story and reproduce it with an audio file for multiple-delivery.

If you’d like to see more, check out “Teaching Storytelling in the Classroom” at YouTube.

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Video set to change education as we know it Tue, 20 Jul 2010 05:38:24 +0000

According to a British research group (, teens spend 3.5 hours a week instant messaging their friends, two hours on YouTube, and three hours a week on ‘Homework help’.  Internet video represented 30 per cent of total data transfers in 2009 and it will jump to 50 per cent by 2012.  The implications for education and the way people learn are enormous.


In an educational context, video technologies can provide the visual and audio realism of a face-to-face class. It is generally considered the “next best thing to being there”. The benefit of using video in education is that it enables students and teachers to see facial expressions and body language, adding personalities to communication. Therefore video technologies are not just a video clip, but an interactive media to enhance the quality of communication.


Video technology for educational purposes should NOT be treated like watching TV.  The focus has to be “video on INTERNET” to maximise communication and interaction among people. What we like about watching video on YouTube is not that there’s plenty of funny videos, it’s because most feature people.


While watching TV has very limited interaction, most video-driven “communications” are providing synchronous (real-time communication such as online chatting and instant messenger) and asynchronous (non real-time communication such as email and forum boards). 


In an education setting, video has to be DESIGNED to allow a high degree of interaction, such as question and answer capability, which will engage students to actively participate in their learning.  


This has practical implications for learning design:


1)      Avoid the “talking head”

 The early days of distance education witnessed the inclusion of the worst aspects of the old passive/lecture paradigm, which were even more deadly from a distance than in person. Talking head refers to simply videotaping the instructor while she or he is talking. Instead, try to vary the camera angle, include still images of appropriate graphics, and encourage student interaction.


2)      Video length

15 to 20 minutes should be the maximum video length for student attention. If it is longer than that, you need to consider splitting them up or pausing it and asking questions.


3)      Encourage interaction

Interaction can be added to video-based delivery in many ways. If the lessons are two-way, questions and other types of interaction can be included. If they are one-way video, interaction can be added through e-mail messages or telephone.


In conclusion, video technologies in education are NOT one of technological devices, BUT an extended communication channel for a community where students, parents and teachers can communicate with one another in a learning and non-learning context. And this will change education as we know it.

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Using Imagery in digital content Fri, 25 Jun 2010 05:38:20 +0000

Seeing a picture often has more impact than just words. Examples include conventional artwork, computer-generated artwork, photographs and captured video frames.


Digital graphics are visual representations of some kind, including illustrations, diagrams, visual art, and may also include digital photographs. Sometimes the terms images and graphics can be used interchangeably.


To deal with images for any purpose, visual communication is the key to successful delivery of information and messages with your images.


Visual communication is one of the communication mediums: verbal, written, body language (facial expressions) and media such as animation, video, audio, text and image. In other words, images have to be carefully designed and/or selected to effectively deliver your intended message to the target audience.


The following links provide some interesting examples of where images have been used successfully for VISUAL communication:


These Australian road signs have used imagery to communicate social norms (quite unique ones I might add):


You can also deliver an indirect message, for example bad breath:


Or a warning message, such as stop smoking:*NnmXWde8/stopsmokingads1.jpg


While mind maps can support learning methods for visual thinkers:


And to present a huge amount of information with a single piece, check out this ‘World map of happiness’ at the link below:


These examples have practical implications for design. People are sensitive to visual impression and aesthetic, but not many people know how to properly communicate using visual mediums. The visual hierarchy below can help you to arrange or create an effective image for your target audience:


•      Emphasize important elements

•      Organize content logically and predictably

•      Use layout to lead the audience’s eyes through the page

•      Avoid distracting, unnecessary graphic elements

Don’t make everything look equally important.

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Text: much more than words Wed, 09 Jun 2010 23:31:59 +0000

When we access websites or any digital learning applications, they might include the following elements: Text, Video, Sound, Images and Animation. These make up the five elements of digital content, as well as multimedia. Each of these is combined in some way to create the experience of websites and applications. For example, text is used for menus but it is also used for corporate branding, links to other sites, and as part of animation. Text, the on-screen display of words, is critical because it’s the base of most applications.

Teachers often think of text as specific symbols that have their own meaning. However, text is also an image that can deliver more than its literal meaning. The following image is a Letterform Anatomy. When a typographer creates a new typeset, they will look at each element of a letter as part of a visual composition. Every alphabet has different attributes (width, height, weight and position), so the typographer must ensure all the letters visually ‘harmonise’ when a word or sentence is typed.  

Text as an image has practical implications for teachers. First, the use of different styles, fonts and colours can be used to emphasise specific points. Second, depending on the learning content and the learner group, teachers need to carefully choose the right font and colour in terms of the learners’ visual engagement and message delivery.

For example let’s say you are going to teach your children about “LOVE”.  In the image shown above, you may go with either Arial or Times New Roman as they are the default fonts in MS Word. However, you may realise there are other fonts available from the font lists in your Word such as Bauhaus 93 and Curlz MT. (Comic Sans in MS Word are mostly used in kids’ education because it gives a sense of vibrancy and excitement, but it may not be applicable to the topic “LOVE”.)  

Depending on your students’ grade and learning objectives, you need to find an appropriate font to represent the intended meaning. LOVE in Arial gives you a boring love; while Times New Roman may not be romantic enough. LOVE in Bauhaus 93 could be too strong to represent a child’s perception of love. Curlz MT would be an appropriate one to teach children about LOVE. Then the next step is to apply an appropriate colour. As long as you recognise each letter as a visual composition, you should be able to apply the right colours to the word. The following image shows you what would be the result:

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Explore the world in 3D Mon, 17 May 2010 04:42:09 +0000

Have you tested 3D Google Maps yet? Google Maps have recently been integrated with 3D Earth view and it helps you to explore your favourite sites of Earth in 3 Dimensions. If you are interested in getting to know the world in depth, visit

 To use the feature visit and you will find the “Explore the earth in 3D on Google Maps” link that allows you to install the required software underneath the search function.

 The Earth view presents the whole world in 3D perspective and allows you to navigate buildings and terrain in high-level detail.  One great example in 3D Earth view is ‘driving’ along the ocean in first-person view.

The image above right shows you the outcome view of the Christ the Redeemer (statue), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On the left side of the interface, you can find a range of famous buildings and sites from the lists provided to tour in 3D as well as supporting video clips.


Using Earth view in Google Maps is similar to using Google Earth. You can fly to the location of your choice, zoom, pan and tilt using the navigation tools on the left side of the screen. You can then explore the buildings and terrain in 3D, as well as search for businesses and get directions.


These 3D Google Maps can be used for educational purposes by, for example, organizing a tourist trail. Students can plot the geographical references on the map and find relevant information from Google searches (videos, images and documents). In addition, students can create a new tourist trail using 3D Google Maps and internet search.

If you’d like to give this interesting new feature a try, a good way to get started is to watch the 3D Google Maps introduction video on YouTube by clicking on the link below:



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Why has Google failed in Korea? Thu, 29 Apr 2010 03:30:21 +0000

Have you visited Google Korea ( The interface is very different from the standard The image below is a capture of Google Korea and you’ll notice there are additional services on the home page such as latest topics, popular blog contents, and celebrity photos. It seems that Google Korea have given up their minimalist design, although it still looks very simple and light. 

In Korea, local company Naver ( dominates the internet search market. Naver claims that they account for 77 percent of all web searches in Korea and, in particular, Naver’s Knowledge iN service (real-time question-and-answer platform) gets an average of 44,000 questions a day. With approximately 10 percent of searches, the number two search engine is another local company called Daum ( The third is Yahoo Korea with 4 percent. Google Korea makes up only 1.7 percent of Korean web searches.

The interface of the Naver site looks like a Yahoo interface in that it presents a significant amount of information in a single page. Personally I don’t like the interface because there is too much information presented, which I find visually distracting.


In relation to these market share statistics, one of the actions taken by Google Korea was to change the interface in 2010. This indicates Google Korea doesn’t think its minimalist design is suited to the Korean market. But in my view, Google Korea has underestimated and misunderstood cultural differences in usage of web, so even though they’ve updated the interface it won’t be effective at all.


One of the most fundamental reasons for this in terms of interface design is that it does not properly cater for Korean culture, which is a collectivistic culture that places a strong emphasis on relationships. Koreans have a strong tendency for a directional move. This means an individual’s preferences are often determined by public opinion and they perceive the web as a place where people gather to discuss and share information. As a result, to be successful in Korea a web service needs to reflect what topics are currently on people’s minds to avoid potential embarrassment for users. But the interface of Google focuses on individual personalisation that presumes each individual has different preferences and styles. So Google has put all the services relevant to personal preferences behind the interface to present the common function, “Search”. and provide various services that have already been collectivistically customised for user groups (rather than single users), while Google takes the approach that it’s an individual user’s job. The recent change to Google Korea’s interface is merely continuing this feature without giving up their individual focused design strategy. If Google wants to gain more market share in Korea, Google Korea needs to understand Korean users and provide culturally-focused, innovative services that and are missing.



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iPAD: I’m Painfully Aware of Dreaming Wed, 07 Apr 2010 09:09:30 +0000

On April 3 2010, the Apple iPad made its debut in the U.S market. Approximately 50,000 iPads had been ordered in advance, and some market analysts predict up to seven million iPads will be sold by the end of the year. However, other analysts say it will be closer to three million. 


The extremely different expectations in the market are matched by consumers’ responses to the iPad. One is that iPad is definitely an innovative product to the extent that it can fill the functional gaps between mobile phone and laptop. It enhances portable services of digital content such as e-books, games, photos, internet search and email. On the other hand, there are people who point out the negative sides of iPad such as no camera, no Flash support, inconvenient touch screen keyboard, no external USB ports and no multi-tasking. In particular, they describe it as just a large iPhone without providing telecommunication services. And it doesn’t provide social networking activities due to the no multi-tasking service. In other words, on iPad, in your blogs you are limited to reading and writing words. Furthermore, the battery life is only 10 hours, which is much less than Amazon’s Kindle Wireless Reading Device (6″ Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation). With Kindle, you can read e-books for up to one week on a single charge using wireless( 

OK, so far I’ve summarised some basic opinions about iPad from market analysts and early adopters. With my own impression of iPad, I rename it as ‘I’m Painfully Aware of Dreaming’. In other words, I am painfully aware that I am dreaming. It may be that too many expectations have been created among people from Apple’s marketing strategies. Initially people had been expecting that iPad would provide a totally new digital experience that integrates current internet activities, such as blogging, video chatting (Skype) and user created contents, and mobile services such as social networking via text, email, photos, videos and games. Disappointingly, however, iPad does not look like either a larger iPhone or a netbook (or a tablet PC) at all. Its identity as well as functionality does not seem to successfully bridge the gap between mobile phone and laptop. Furthermore, it can’t compete with Nintendo in the games market. 


However, it is worthwhile taking a look at iPad in terms of technological metaphor. What I want to look at in more detail is the digital content of iPad (and other telecommunication devices such as 3G mobile, Amazon’s Kindle, a table PC and a netbook) such as music, e-books and games. According to Mobclix, the largest mobile and exchange network firm (, there are 3,122 items for iPad registered at App Store ( To access and use these Apps, 80 per cent require payment, meaning only 20 per cent are free. The ratio of commercial items is the complete opposite for the iPhone service. This means the commercial digital content market has been growing or is expected to grow quickly. 


As we’ve seen above, it is true there are more negative responses to iPad in comparison with iPhone. However, iPhone is a mobile phone that nowadays nearly everyone has; while iPad is targeting the commercial content market with an expectation that consumers can and will pay for decent content which is not available on other devices.


In addition, with the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen, there are not many difficulties reading content such as e-books, newspapers, magazines and entertainment mediums. So you can easily anticipate who the main consumers will be and how Apple will create a new market to make money. You can subscribe to a newspaper or a magazine through iPad and then all commercial advertisements can be inserted in a more interactive form. Furthermore, commercial ads, as well as content, can be personalised depending on your interests. 


At this early stage we cannot determine whether iPad will succeed in the marketplace or not, but the point I’m making is that reality and expectations around this product are out of focus. In fact, other telecommunication and internet service companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Nokia have and will continue to produce similar, potentially superior products anyway. So if you are not a loyal Apple customer who is addicted to its look and feel and branding, what you need is a more customised and convenient product. 


From an educator’s perspective, it is also very disappointing that iPad does not support Flash, even though much interactive educational ICT content is built in Flash. My opinion is that iPad is targeting those who can afford to buy commercial content and it will make a lot of money depending on quality of that content, so ordinary people’s concerns and disappointments about iPad would not be in their business plan or a part of their strategic marketing process (noise marketing). However the iPad metaphor – in terms of digital content creations previously mentioned – implies that creative education through ICTs is the key to a country’s future economic and cultural prosperity.


Associated Press

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FireFox 3.6 Personas impacts on browsing Fri, 26 Mar 2010 08:16:02 +0000


The latest Firefox 3.6 (FF) provides interesting and fun stuff which allows you to apply an image to your FF browser. The new feature is called Firefox Personas ( and it has serious scope to change internet browsing as we know it. It’s awesome to the extent that you can personalise your browser (strictly speaking, the skin of the browser). In fact, people have perceived that a browser is a “window” or a “root” which allows you to get into the internet world.  FF Personas is a free add-on, like a skin of the browser that you can customise with 35,000 designs FF provides, or you can use your own design.



Here’s how it works. Once you roll over a design you like from the thumbnail design lists, it instantly applies to your browser, so you can preview and determine whether you wear it or not. By clicking the “See all 30,000+” button, you can see many more designs. By clicking the “Wear It” button, the chosen design will be permanently applied to your browser like the image below, or until you choose to wear another.  





According to Browser Statistics from (, FF has become the most predominant browser since 2009. At the same time, Internet Explorer (IE) has been losing their power in the market since FF appeared five years ago.























































More interestingly, most users of FF are from younger generations, so it can be presumed that the actual power of FF in the market is much higher than IE. In fact, with IE, there are some inconveniences for younger generations who spend significant time on YouTube. FF is much faster than IE, especially when you are playing a video clip in YouTube. In addition, the predominant LMS (Learning Management System) in the Australian Education sector is Blackboard and it runs faster with FF. For these reasons, FF has taken over the IE market.


By the way, why do you think that FF 3.6 named this customised skin service as “Persona”? There is no official explanation.  A persona is “an Italian word that derives from Latin for a kind of mask made to resonate with the voice of the actor” (per-sonar meaning loosely “to resonate by side” or “to sound through”). See


In marketing and visual communication, a persona refers to an archetypal character which represents a target customer or audience with their demographics and specific details in relation to the product. In a sense, FF 3.6 Personas offers two functionalities to users: 1) you can create your own browser, so you will feel like you are surfing the Internet with your own surf board; 2) if you are not happy with the existing designs, you can create your own design that can also be shared with other users. It is so exciting to see the internet world through glasses that you created.


These two functions (customisation and personalisation) give an implicit message to education. The Personas can be considered as a method for viewing the trends of the learners’ perceptions toward learning under ICT changes. In the metaphorical sense, internet information is compatible to learning content and FF browser with Personas is curriculum. One of the learner needs should be the ability to customise learning content and personalise the curriculum. When a student is mature enough, like at a secondary or tertiary level, one could customise and personalise their learning experiences depending on his or her career plan. If a student is not mature, such as a child or primary level student, the teacher may need to identify the exact needs of students in terms of providing customised and personalised learning in cooperation with parents and other teachers.


I anticipate FF Personas will be welcomed by users and will help to extend the FF market dominance.




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ICTs, industry and the new teacher model Thu, 25 Mar 2010 08:37:59 +0000

In general, a nation’s economy can be divided into three sectors: primary, secondary and tertiary. The primary sector of the economy relates to production of raw resources and basic foods. The secondary sector refers to manufacturing, processing and construction-type industries. While the tertiary sector covers the service industry, such as restaurants and entertainment (movies and TV), banking, law, healthcare and retail. In Australia, the service sector accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s economic activity. Within the service sector, however, more intellectual activities such as government, education, culture and media, can be further defined as the ‘quaternary’ sector of economy.  These activities are typically not measured in monetary value but they significantly contribute to the economy. 



[Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 5206. National Income, Expenditure and Product. June Quarter 2003: Axiss Australia]



To ICT industries, interestingly, these four sectors of the economy can be applied and the result has practical implications for education. The primary sector of ICT industry produces hardware such as hard drive, keyboard and mobile devices. The secondary sector refers to software and applications that include graphic tools, video editing tools, and instant messengers and online chatting applications. The tertiary sector should be content development for software and applications. Then what would be the quaternary sector of ICT industry?  In the economy categorisation outlined above, the quaternary sector refers to “more intellectual activities”. So you can ask, “What activities would be more intellectual than content development in ICT industry?”  It should be a form of more comprehensive and inclusive concept creation activities than software and content development, so its figure would be something like connections between content and people, and between people and people.  In other words, the quaternary sector of ICT industry should focus on relation (collectivistic) focused activities through ICT networks. Social Network Sites are the most representative outcomes of the quaternary sector of ICT industry that generate new experiences, relationships and cultures. 


To define a new teacher model which suits the digital and information age, the quaternary sector of ICT needs to be investigated further. Traditionally, careers in the primary and secondary sector of economy have required having the following attributes and mindsets: diligent and hard-working as an individual worker and loyalty and integrity to organisations. However, the tertiary sector of economy has required workers to have more devotion, more sincerity, and more professionalism to provide better services to customers. Then what would be workers’ attributes and mindsets in the quaternary sector? It should be creativity and innovation, as well as professionalism. As the quaternary sector focuses on new experience and culture creation based on the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of ICT, it requires workers to be creative and innovative rather than diligent and sincere. The creative thinking and innovative approaches to the existing hardware, software and content require workers to break down institutional thinking. By adopting this approach, it is much more likely to create new knowledge and a new paradigm, which attracts people into new experiences as they customise and personalise their needs.


I will discuss the future teacher model further in my next blog.



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MS surface and Scent Dome enhance Education Thu, 18 Mar 2010 14:34:09 +0000

With my students this week we discussed how MS surface and Scent Dome technologies could affect education in the next five years. Interestingly, many students have responded that: 1) MS surface could give some benefits in education, but 2) Scent Dome does not. MS surface provides touch screen based interactive activities such as drawing, catering and juke box feature in a restaurant, which is integrated with mobile/cell phones and desktop computers. Many students have identified that MS surface can give some benefits for child education, particularly with its interactive drawing activities. Interestingly, however, not many students have seen any educational benefits of Scent Dome. Some students even presumed that Scent Dome could be useless for education except its entertaining feature – fragrance.


The distinctive responses to these two technologies have happened in other tutors’ classes as well.  However they realised the broader educational benefits from Scent Dome after I presented a possible scenario for the future. When students (children) take a virtual excursion to a botanic garden through an extended MS surface, the students’ observing and touching flowers should be much more effective if they can smell it at the same time. So Scent Dome should provide a great educational benefit in future. Here is another example. One of my students proposed a brilliant idea that Scent Dome could be used in a virtual volcano experiment in a science class. The volcano experiment with the smell of sulphur should give more realistic experiences to students. So the ways of using these technologies in an educational setting is unlimited.  


For early childhood education, smell as well as texture based learning is critically important. Froebel’s kindergartens emphasised that “each kindergarten has to be a pleasant physical environment such as an outside garden area. This garden would allow children to play amongst nature yet be protected from the corrupting influence of society, so the kindergarten program has to encourage children to play freely on child-sized equipment in the garden”.  I am not insisting that technology should replace the current educational settings and methods. But MS surface and Scent Dome could bring a great benefit to education to the extent that these technologies could generate an optimised and enhanced learning environment.


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Chile earthquake and Social Network Sites (SNS) Thu, 11 Mar 2010 08:50:19 +0000

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Chile 27 February, killing at least 723 people. The quake hit some 325 kilometers southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 35 kilometres. The epicentre was 115 kilometres from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live. The US Pacific Tsunami warnings issued covered all Pacific nations, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand.

There were no immediate reports of major damage from any media except Social Media such as Google, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and facebook.  The social media have even been providing some considerable services such as person finder, current status of place where the earthquake hit, gathering of articles, video clips and photos and charities you can donate to.


Impressively, Google provides “Person Finder: Chile Earthquake” ( to help people find their missing loved ones or report any relevant information they may have about any missing people. This service is available in two languages, English and Spanish. The page is currently tracking about  54,400 records.

facebook also provides various services in relation to Chile earthquake as below. Note that “People Finder” in facebook just links to Google’s Person Finder page (


Amazingly, Twitter delivered Chile earthquake news to people for the very first time, which was faster than any other media. Instant text and photos on Twitter from people’s mobile phones on the spot achieved much faster response and displayed vivid images in real time.   


The implication is that Social Networking Sites (SNS) are becoming more integrated with mobile/cell phone features and they are moving toward “real time interaction based social networking”. In the near future SNS could be integrated with GPS, web cam and phones and then one of the key services will be all the relevant (or customised) information about people on your social network will be delivered to your mobile phone. For example, when you are waiting for your friend, your mobile via SNS tells you where he or she is now and when they will arrive by analysing variables such as weather and traffic conditions.  

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Multiculturalism is key to information age Wed, 03 Mar 2010 09:27:20 +0000

One of my units, Learning Networks (EDB006), aims to help education students to create the foundations of ICT usage in education. It has very large student cohorts of more than 700 students on campus. In the unit, the four main groups of students are studying Early Childhood Education, Primary Education, Secondary Education, and there are 58 Malaysian students undertaking a joint degree course between QUT and Institut Perguruan Ilmu Khas (IPIK) in Kuala Lumpur.
When taking a look at each individual student, you will find much more diversity in terms of students’ cultural backgrounds. I have students from a broad range of countries including the UK, US, Canada, Zimbabwe, South Africa, China and Korea. What does this mean? It means the classroom has been internationalised and multiculturalised. It can be found everywhere across Australia’s educational sectors from child care centres right through to university.
But why is multiculturalism important to us?  “The globalisation of societies and economies, together with mass movements of people unprecedented in world history and the growth of information technology, has transformed older concepts of nationhood”(Kerkyasharian, 1998:6). Cultural diversity can be found everywhere in our society and other countries, so multiculturalism describes “the cultural and ethnic diversity of society”. Put simply we are living in a multicultural society. The Australian Commonwealth Government has identified three dimensions of multicultural policy as below (
·         cultural identity: the right of all Australians, within carefully defined limits, to express and share their individual cultural heritage, including their language and religion;

·         social justice: the right of all Australians to equality of treatment and opportunity, and the removal of barriers of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, language, gender or place of birth; and

·         economic efficiency: the need to maintain, develop and utilise effectively the skills and talents of all Australians, regardless of background.

Multiculturalism has become the key to understanding and developing community, education, economy, politics, business, religion and social welfare. It is not too much to say that you won’t be able to envision the future without an understanding of multiculturalism in relation to your interest or work area. One value, belief and system based on one culture may not be accepted by another. In other words, multiculturalism enables you to look at everything from different perspectives and to be creative with taking a cross-cultural approach. Creative thinking and an innovative approach are the key requirements for the digital and information age, which come from understanding multiculturalism.
For example, I have been impressed with the different Google interface designs between and It is worthwhile thinking of why the Korean version of Google site has a different interface. Do you have any examples like Google interface? 

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Emphasise the Information and Communication in ICT Wed, 24 Feb 2010 10:31:14 +0000

In my previous post, I stated three predominant elements in contemporary society and learning. They were ICT, Multiculturalism, and individualistic collaboration. In this post, I want to talk about ICT.
Nowadays everyone knows what ICT stands for. Yes, it means “Information and Communication Technology”. But most people stress “Technology” only and they perceive it as “Technique” or “Technological devices”. You may have an image of a computer in your mind. It is partially true. Have you thought about meanings of “Information” and “Communication”?  Information and communication have been produced and enhanced by usage of technology. In other words, technology enriches your information production and communication activities.  So if you fail to use ICT in a productive and creative way, ICT becomes just a technical tool – but it can be much more than that.
I redefine Information in ICT as “creative knowledge production” and Communication in ICT as “an interactive medium participant”. The creative knowledge production helps you as an ordinary person create your own content and knowledge through technology and communication. That used to be the domain of scholars and highly educated people. Yet thanks to internet access and various digital tools such as a digital camcorder, everyone can be a knowledge producer or a content developer.
The content also can be presented in various forms such as text, images, animation, video and audio, and then shared with others through various platforms such as a blog, mobile network or web forum.  In this socially networked environment, an ordinary person can be an active media participant and produce and/or manipulate content for one’s target audience and build and maintain online communities. In a sense, one can be called a digital journalist who expresses their interest through various mediums to connect people.
As a result, ICT cannot be understood without understanding the importance of Information and Communication in ICT. Only when these three elements are combined, does it truly become an ICT.
You should be familiar with Google, social network sites (MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, and Flickr), Wiki, iPod + iTunes, and 3G Mobile).  These items are ICT products and I urge you to take a look at each as an active media participant (communication) in addition to evaluating each in terms of creative knowledge production techniques (information). By adopting this approach you will be able to judge whether ICTs are well designed or not.
Then you will realise that a digital device can be used to enrich your communication with others and enhance information production and manipulation. Therefore, ICT is a more conceptual term that implicates a societal and cultural paradigm which significantly affects your life and your thinking pattern.
Follow my next blog to read what my students have to say.

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QUT orientation and our future Fri, 19 Feb 2010 10:52:28 +0000

This week is pretty exciting as orientation programs for newbies at QUT have been conducted and lots of students are walking around the campus.It feels like the campus has been fully filled with all fresh students.

During the Christmas holiday (December to January), the campus was almost empty and very quiet except some staff and possums wandering around. I have met some freshers in the course orientation programs and they look so excited that university is a totally different experience from high school. Yes some of them are a bit nervous and concerned about their new experiences in university. New terminologies, many acronyms, different systems and regulations, and various people… these make them feel excited, but nervous at the same time.

With my almost 10 years of teaching experiences in Australian universities, the first year students are unclear about their future despite choosing a professionally focused course such as graphic design, education, nursing, game, and so on.

The reason is the world is changing so fast. For example, “The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years” (Check this website for more information: and “The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004” (check this audio clip:, and “95% of what you’ve read in the newspaper or seen on TV about it is wrong” (recourse: This means what you learnt from a course for two years will be out of date and when you graduate from the course and your knowledge and techniques may not be applicable to your job field.

So do we still need to attend lectures and tutorials that will be out of date soon? Yes, we do because there is no other way to get skills for future job other than tertiary education providers (university and TAFE). Rather students as well as academic staff need to seriously think about the present and the future.

The best we can do is to become a flexible, but creative person (student and teacher) who is capable of envisioning the future. Personally I define three elements that university students should aim to achieve whatever course they are in. They are ICT, Multiculturalism, and individualistic collaboration.

In other words, they are the predominant elements in contemporary society and learning them should enable you to envision the future in relation to your career, as well as to understanding the present. And a really great thing during the QUT orientation was that I have been encouraged and stimulated by these three elements which can be found on the campus and in new students.

I will talk more about these three elements in detail in next post.


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My profile Sun, 14 Feb 2010 18:02:04 +0000


Hi there,

I am Dr Jiyong Park and currently working as a lecturer for Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia. I came to Australia for my study purpose in 1999, completed Bachelor of Design (Visual communication) and Master of Multimedia at Monash University, Melbourne and Doctor of Design by research at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne. My teaching and research career began at Monash University in 2002 and I have worked for two other universities before I came to QUT in 2008. I have been pretty much enjoying my life and work in Australia which are totally different from what I had experienced from my home country, South Korea.

In this year, I am very excited that I have been reallocated at Faculty of Education from Design School, QUT and have been given a fantastic task that leads a unit with approximately 700 students and 15 academic staff on campus.  

I do expect I will share my experiences in teaching and daily life in Australia as an immigrant as well as an educator through this Blog. You will be seen some interesting topics, stories and images in terms of cultural differences and about Australia.







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