3 Big Education Innovations for 2018


Innovation is reaching new heights and so is education. Innovation and education are closely associated with each other. Experts and innovators in the education sector are hoping that 2018 will be a big year for education. 

Augmented Reality for Education

What is AR? AR adds digital elements to a live view often by utilizing a camera on a smartphone. It transforms your existing environment by enhancing digital information to your line of sight. AR is integrated and developed into applications and used on smartphones to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance each other. AR technology is gradually becoming quite common now and soon it will become mainstream. It is used to display score overlays on telecasted sporting events, 3D emails, text messages, photos on smartphones. There are various AR education applications that are in the market, which schools can experiment with.

There have been numerous studies published in the past couple of years, which have proved that Augmented Reality improves classroom participation and learning interactions with students. It allows students to maintain an encouraging attitude towards learning and has proven to motivate students to do well in the classroom. Presently, augmented reality is being used mainly at the University/College level, however primary schools are looking to incorporate it into their syllabus.

Accessibility to Education via Smart phones and other handheld devices

Many schools are experimenting with smartphone and tablet apps to engage the younger generation. In Asia, schools are increasingly seeing the usage of smartphones and handheld tablet apps. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence assisted apps have become predominant in the classrooms. For instance, teachers in Japan have trouble with teaching English to their students, so educators are using these devices for assistance. Many programs and applications such as Kids Academy are providing interactive learning opportunities to help educators and parents in the subjects of English and math.

Another area where applications on mobile devices are being proven beneficial is in computer programming. Coding is projected to become prevalent for elementary school students in the future.

Digital Textbooks

In the past we have been hearing about digital textbooks in elementary schools, some have even been introduced, but it is still not a common practice. However, in 2018 digital textbooks will be rolled out into the classrooms. Having digital textbooks will ensure students are learning the most up-to-date information; digital textbooks are proven to be easy to navigate and read. A digital textbook is not only easy to use but also efficient. For instance children sometimes have difficulty searching for something specific they may be seeking, whereas a digital textbook makes the process much easier for the student – the student can search the exact topic and get the information right away. Once these are rolled out into all classrooms, an instructor will never have to hear “I forgot my textbook at home”.

Top 5 tech trends to watch out for in 2018 

Until the turn of this century, getting photographs needed you to first buy a roll, load it in a camera, clicking pictures and then taking out the roll and giving it to a photo studio for developing the pictures- a far cry from the point and click pictures that we take on mobile cameras today. As a result, cameras, camera rolls and photo studios all but went out of business.

Thanks to the rate at which technology is evolving, business models are changing with a rapidity that we have never witnessed before. Survival in this era of disruptions requires businesses to be nimble and flexible enough to adapt to technological changes, irrespective of their size. For the immediate future, here are five trends that businesses need to be prepared for.

  • Big Data: Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, there is a veritable ocean of data to be analysed out there. As of 2015, the total universe of data accumulated over the history of humankind amounted is expected to witness a tenfold explosion by 2020. Data analytics an help your business derive insights into customer preferences, which can help you not only better respond to your customer, but even anticipate his or her wants and customise your offerings accordingly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: One inevitable fallout of the data explosion that we have just discussed is an exponential leap in machine learning and, consequently, artificial intelligence (AI), because machine learning only increases and improves in accuracy as more and more data is fed. The implication for business is humungous. For instance, retail chains can leverage on AI to optimise inventory levels. Banks and financial institutions expect it to deliver significant gains from business process outsourcing. In fact, customer-facing activities constitute the area of business that is most likely to be impacted by AI.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT, a blanket term used to describe internet-enabled devices connected to a common network, that can be remotely accessed, is expected to bring about a revolution in the way business is done over the years to come. For instance IoT can be used to physically track items assets on a real time basis, so that your business can have accurate details of the value and location of its assets at any given point in time, which means the internal controls will change drastically.
  • Digital Marketing: Promoting your business is a far more complicated business than it was even ten years ago. The combination of offline or online ads, social media postings, YouTube videos, blogs, etc call for considerable investment in terms of time, if not necessarily money. Given the speed at which it is evolving, the ideal approach to digital marketing is to rope in professional support. Let SEO companies manage it for you while you concentrate on your business.
  • Subscription: Businesses are leveraging on the combination of the internet and online payments to switch from a ‘pay-per-use’ to a subscription model. The arrangement works even for customers, who can subscribe for objects of daily use like the newspaper, milk, groceries, etc to be delivered at fixed intervals. More and more businesses are expected to adopt the fixed revenue model in the years to come.

5 HR Tech Startups to Look Out For

The field of Human Resource (HR) is at present undergoing a massive makeover. Once a lumbering, laborious process, HR today is being sculpted through technology into something faster, stronger and much more efficient.

HR is a vital component of any organization, yet (especially in its traditional form), it has garnered the reputation of being a notoriously difficult chore.

According to analyst Josh Bersin, HR disruptions in 2018 will converge around productivity, design and intelligence in HR tech applications.

Technology has granted an opportunity for gradual automation over time and greater effectiveness among other things. Teams that are involved in HR generally have to spend a huge amount of resources in order to undertake time-consuming tasks related to administration.

The latest trends in HR involve cutting edge tech developments that allow professionals the ability to access the power of Big Data, granting valuable insights and streamlining tasks.

Software companies will be leading the charge this year, with systems and services firmly rooted in the cloud. Here are some of those startups that are making waves in the way businesses manage their most vital asset.

Highground – Offering an agile performance management and employee engagement software that changes the way employees are developed, Highground lets individuals in the organization recognize and reward one another as well as participate in surveys. Everything is managed in real-time, enabling immediate insight and instant adjustments to improve employee performance or engagement.

ClickBoarding – This user-friendly and multifunctional platform offers a solution that streamlines the onboarding process, making it an easy, enjoyable experience. ClickBoarding lets HR departments manage checklists, share tasks and organize federal, state or company forms. It is designed in such a way that everyone involved has access to and visibility into what they need to know, giving them the ability to take action on the things that really matter.

TraitQuest – Aimed at bridging the generation gap between members of an organization and breaking the monotony of HR necessities, Traitquest transforms the dreaded employee appraisal into a fun ongoing process of growth through the power of gamification. Their highly engaging platform provides all the necessary functions needed to help companies establish a well rounded workforce.

Bayzat – Simplicity is the name of the game as Bayzat has so effectively proven. Trusted by clients and able to automate HR processes for over 12,000 employees, Bayzat takes care of the mundane things like organizing employee records, health insurance and time off. By developing easy-to-use HR tools that automate admin work, this innovative solutions provider offers a straightforward means of managing these essential items so that you can spend time (and money) on other aspects of your business.

LifeWorksLifeWorks, named 2016’s Next Great HR Tech Company displays a genuine sense of commitment and its platform excels at delivering a well-rounded, holistic experience. LifeWorks improves employees’ mental, financial and physical wellness through a unified solution. The award-winning company has been providing EAP and Work-Life solutions for some time now, helping companies develop and maintain healthy work environments and improve the health of their people as well as productivity at work and beyond.

Shopping intelligently on Ecommerce Sites

The holiday season is upon us and although we want to use it as an excuse to shop to our heart’s content, we must realize that spending hard-earned money unwisely is a bad idea and will only land us into unnecessary debts. You want enough in your bank account to pay your bills, take care of expected expenses and still have something left for unexpected emergencies. So, while you are bombarded with flash sales and limited-time deals on products you have wanted for a long time, take a moment to ask yourself if it is a smart decision to swipe your card for that product. To become a smart shopper and avoid depressing credit card debts, here are top ten tricks that you could use this holiday season:

  1. Make a list of products you really want to purchase. It will stop you from shopping on impulse, and your shopping cart will only have items that you really need.
  2. Before you head out with your list, browse the internet for product reviews and rates. You will have good idea on whether the item is worth your money. You can find product reviews in sites like Lodlois.com.
  3. Go shopping with someone who stops you from making impulsive decisions. If your shopping companions are shopaholics themselves, your indulgence will only make them feel better about their own bad decisions.
  4. Have a good meal before going for shopping. If you starve yourself, you will not only be tempted to spend extra on overpriced junk food, but also have terrible mood swings that will make you cranky, impulsive and emotional.
  5. Do not shop whenever you are stressed or anxious about something. You will end up buying things that you really won’t need or would ever use.
  6. Many people refuse to take a credit card at all from their banks. It would be a good idea to swap a credit card with a debit card because shopping on a debit card means that you will spend only what you really have in your bank account.
  7. When you see something that you really like, try postponing your decision to buy it for a week. At the end of the week, if you are really convinced that you need it, go for it.
  8. Look at the best months for buying things when you can get them for affordable rates. For example, stores often put woollen clothes on heavy discount at the end of the winter to make way for their spring collection. Air coolers are always cheaper in winters because nobody wants them, and the seller wants to free up the precious shelf space that they take up. These off-season discounts can save you a lot of money.
  9. Focus on value-for-money. You want to buy things that are high on utility and quality. Buy things as if you were investing in them. Buying cheap is not the same as buying smart. For example, if you need a running shoe, look for one that will last long and take care of your feet, even if it means that you must spend a little extra. What is the point in buying a cheap shoe that will rip open after a short run?
  10. Above all, don’t buy anything to seek validation or out of peer pressure. That is the worst way to manage your personal finances.

How online dating is changing romance

Online dating is an exciting and yet tricky prospect for a lot of people. In the absence of any help in finding a like-minded partner, we often turn to friends for advice. The problem here is, dating is all about matching personalities and what works for your friend may not work for you. Then there is the problem of building an online profile. You may have a great personality but how do you make an impression when you are not good with words? Admittedly, there is no one rule that works all the time for everyone but there are some broad guidelines that can help you navigate through the confusing world of online dating and meet like-minded singles.

Have realistic expectations

Understand that you will not find a person who exactly matches all your preferences and personality. Besides, where is the fun in meeting a personality twin? Focus on what kind of relationship you want and what qualities you admire the most in people. Adding these details to your profile will also save you from bad dates. Also, avoid personality claims like “I am fun/ I love hanging out with friends/ I am an optimist”. Who doesn’t like to think of themselves that way?

Remember, do not agree to meet someone just by looking at their photos. Some people do not photograph well and still they have a good personality while others just photograph well. The same rule applies to you. Remove those photos where you have sunglasses on, delete group photos taken during fraternity night parties and pick one where you look pleasant in regular light.

Keep it simple

Nobody enjoys reading a 500-word bio on what you think about yourself. Keep a short and simple bio on your dating profile. If you still aren’t sure about how to do that, read it out to yourself and decide honestly if that description should go up on the profile. Also, do not use sentences like “I am not good at writing this kind of stuff, so my friend is doing this for me”. What it really says that you are not serious about dating and probably do not have a lot of confidence in yourself.

Keep it positive

Whether you are writing a profile or meeting someone on a date, try to maintain positive conversations. Recalling any negative experience with your ex or previous dates is a strict no-no. Also, while modesty is a virtue, continuous self-criticism is a bad idea during a date. It reflects poorly on your personality and bores the date. Show that you are truly interested in meeting someone interesting and are confident enough to wait for the right person.

Give people time to respond

When you send an interest to someone on a dating website, wait for at least 24 hours for them to respond. If they don’t, do not take it as a comment on your personality. Similarly, if you have gone out with someone, it is polite to call/ text them the next day to decide if you both want to see each other again. If they haven’t responded, give them a day before moving on.

Four ways in which cyber criminals attack small businesses

The federal government in Australia is reportedly going to invest as much as AUD 18 million over the next three years to help small businesses stay up-to-date on cybersecurity and other digital skills that are necessary in a global trading environment. As cyber criminals come up with frightfully sophisticated trickeries targeting small businesses, entrepreneurs are being advised by security experts to make serious investments into cyber security.

About two years ago, a California-based company called Rokenbok Education that was trying to teach kids to think like engineers by employing building blocks and robotics, lost thousands of dollars in sales within 48 hours after cyber criminals held company files as hostage and demanded a hefty ransom to unlock the data. Rokenbok had been hit previously with a denial of service attack that had forced them to shut down its website. After the ransomware attack, the company reconstructed its key systems in four days instead of paying the ransom.

What entrepreneurs can learn from this frightening situation is that no business is too small to be hacked. Since cyber threats have evolved with the advancement of the internet, entrepreneurs must keep themselves up-to-date about the latest threats to identify security needs. Here are some types of threats facing small business nowadays and tips on how to manage them:

1. The Denial of Service (DoS) attack

To make a DoS attack successful, attackers send copious amount of data at once from various computers to overkill the target business’ system so it that it shuts down. Regular security updates and use of analytics to monitor unfamiliar spikes in traffic can help in preventing this notorious jam.

2. Malware

If your business has an online presence, then you have a reason to worry about malware. Yes, these malicious software functions are frequent and severely damaging. This software tries to take hold of your system. They host a range of damaging software like virus and Trojan Horse (a Trojan Horse hides malware in what appears to be a normal file). To secure yourself from a malware, pay for a good antivirus software, don’t open emails from strangers and keep the firewall updated. Also, don’t accept offers for software update/installation from unfamiliar sources.

3. Ransomware

This is the malware threat that led to the nightmarish situation at Rokenbok Education. It is often triggered by disgruntled ex-employees who still have access to company data. Attackers launch ransomware to take control of critical data and not release their hold till a ransom is paid, often in bitcoins. When an employee leaves, make sure that your IT experts have revoked that worker’s access to any data.

4. Password attacks

The most unfading wisdom in the cyber security world is never keep easy-to-guess passwords. Using a variation of your name, last name, pet name or anniversary as password to company information makes you more vulnerable than you realize. To keep attackers away, keep complicated passwords and change them frequently. Also, invest in a comprehensive safety program with a cyber security firm like Siteguard that also takes care of your password protection needs.

How technology has made travelling easier

There was a time, not so long ago, when travelling to a foreign land was an adventure that began even before embarking on the journey. Arranging the travel tickets, hotel room bookings, getting a tourist visa, arranging for traveller’s cheques, etc- these were the inescapable formalities. Apart from those formalities came the research work, which required reading up travel brochures or tourist guidebooks on good hotels, places to see and dos and don’ts in the other country. After going through all those troubles, you could only hope that there would be no unpleasant surprises.

Thanks to technological innovations over the last two decades, most of that information is available on your fingertips- literally, in the present era of smartphones. Almost all the research and travel related formalities can be completed in the comfort of the drawing room. Without exaggeration, technology has impacted every single aspect of the experience.

For instance, a travel enthusiast who intends to experience the Tulip season in The Netherlands is likely to start with a Google search, followed by a Wikipedia check on Keukenhof Gardens. Having finalised the Keukenhof Gardens as the primary destination, the next search is most likely to be on places to see in The Netherlands.

Having shortlisted the places to see, the traveller can proceed to identify places to stay during the trip using Booking or Trivago or some other website (or the corresponding smartphone app). For the benefit of those planning to travel on a smaller budget, Airbnb offers less expensive options. Thanks to user reviews and photographs, it is possible to get visual evidence of what lies ahead. Those who are still not satisfied may use a social media app like Facebook or Twitter to get updates from recent visitors.

Hotel bookings done, the next step would be the flight bookings. The traveller may now login to Makemytrip or Yatra or a similar online portal and identify the flights available on the dates of his or her proposed trip that fall within the planned budget.

Then comes the one aspect that cannot be done online: the travel permit. The most daunting part is the documentation required for the visa and those visa interviews. Thankfully, there are online service providers who can make the process much easier. Want information on Schengen visa documents required? Unsure about the travel insurance requirements? The necessary information, at least, can be accessed on a smartphone.

Assuming the visa application is successful, the traveller can plan the packing by checking out the expected weather conditions during the travel dates on Accuweather to decide whether the woollens will be required.

Once there, the traveller need not worry about finding the way around the place, thanks to apps like Google Maps. Technology comes into play even after the trip is over, since most travellers these days share the experiences on social media platforms or travel portals!

None of this was even remotely possible just twenty years ago. Given the speed at which technology is transforming, this could just be the beginning.

Malaysia and the Journey to Silicon Jungle

Jack Ma opens Malaysia’s ‘digital free trade zone’ with an eye to Southeast Asia’s ecommerce boom

When writing about tech startups in South East Asia, most of the global press tend to focus their attention on Singapore, the financial capital of the region. But we might be seeing the media spend more ink on Malaysia, thanks to a range of new initiatives in the country’s latest budget. The 2018 budget allocated 1 billion RM specifically for investment in the regions tech startups.

The influx of government funding is not the only thing reinvigoration Malaysia’s startup economy. Other factors have combined to help invigorate the scene in Malaysia. The streamlining of government systems and procedures. New developmental initiatives and ample outreach from organisations like the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), and MaGIC, one of the largest locally based incubators in the South-East Asia region. These are just some of the reasons it’s become extremely convenient and profitable for entrepreneurs to set-up, grow and scale from Malaysia.

Recently the MDEC introduced the Malaysia Tech Entrepreneur Programme (MTEP). An initiative backed by the Malaysian government which aims to attract international entrepreneurs and help them establish their start-ups in Malaysia. Thanks to then adoption of the Malaysia evisa for travellers, it’s become easy for anyone to apply from anywhere in the world. The MTEP gives out passes of one or five years to both new and established startups.

The Malaysian ecosystem is built right for global tech startups too. Located within the heart of ASEAN, it acts as a gateway for expanding reach into the South East Asian market. Malaysia also functions as a good test market, it’s larger than Singapore, and has three different national demographics, Chinese, Indian and Malay/Indonesian, which can help give a good sense of potential markets. It also is home to Cyberjaya, the smart startup capital that is encouraging developers of smart technology to roadtest their products in a real city. Smart traffic lights, electric vehicles, and digital signage and the ability to link them all together in one city is a compelling invitation.

The country’s startup culture has also been leading the way when it comes to embracing youth and women. Malaysia has a reputation for young talent, with the increased level of education from millennials, there are ample fresh, young minds eager to get onboard with a project. Malaysia also boasts some of the most successful Asian business women. Entrepreneurs like Sasha Tan, Vivy Yusof and Neelofa have paved the way for the next cohort of women in tech, resulting in a higher number of girls getting involved with launching startups, especially when compared to the numbers we see in Western accelerators.

Thanks to the recent budget announcement highlighting the government’s commitment to the industry, it’s clear Malaysia has reaffirmed its position as a regional hub for tech startups, and a centre for innovation and growth within the South East Asian start-up scene. Malaysia already had the talent, ideas and expertise. Now with the added incentives for venture capitalists to invest they’ve got everything they need to develop the new silicon jungle.

5 Programming Languages that Every ITB Comp Sci Student Needs to Learn

The world has been taken over and consumed by data. This data includes anything and everything that leaves a digital footprint on the internet. But, in order to learn anything from this, it needs to be analyzed. Data analysis is no longer a new and upcoming field, but is still a big trend with no end to growth in sight. Before data can be understood, it needs to be analyzed, and the right classes provide opportunities for comprehension. Here is a list of the top 5 Programs that are used for Information Technology Courses that should be taken for understanding data analysis.

#1 – Python

Python is at the top of this list for two reasons. First, it is easy to learn and once a basic grasp has been garnered on it, the print ‘Hello World’ will feel like it is in the distant past. Second, this is the programming language that is almost like math; understood fundamentally by programmers around the world. It is easy to use, and can lead to great things like employment or software manipulation.

#2 – Javascript

Javascript is different than Java. This can be used to build simple applications and security can be built into it. Another important feature of Javascript is that it keeps running, even after access to WIFI/Internet has been turned off. This is handy when cell services run out, but access to online data is still necessary. Knowing how to write Javascript is a tool that can have long term benefits.

#3 & #4 – HTML/CSS

HTML/CSS are the nuts and bolts of a website. It contains all the information on how the site looks and behaves. These two coding styles are important to know and take as courses because if a hacker takes over a site, the fundamental structure of the page can be changed. As a programmer, it is essential to know what it looked like previous and where changes may have occurred and is a must when it comes to selecting computer programming courses.

#5 – SQL

Structured Query Language (SQL) is a major player when it comes to data analysis. This is because it is an easy language that allows the user to create the outcome that is desired. For example. If a person wanted to know the weather in a southern state on a particular date, it would simply need to be written into the forms in a statement where the computer is told what to select, from which column and ‘where’ the information is located. It is a computer program that when the course is master, can lead to increased income due to its desirability.

These 5 programming languages have the ability to alter the perceptions of how information is utilized and analyzed, but the learning begins in the classroom. Whether online or in person, continuing education or academic refreshing, there is no limit to what is or can be learnt from the Information Technology sector. That is why these 5 programs are at the top of our list.

5 apps that can help you enjoy card games without putting any money on the line

Word has it that playing cards have been around since the 9th century. It’s possibly the most convenient yet fun form of gaming that ever existed, and it works pretty much anywhere and everywhere. While some of those games, like Lapalingo, have been associated with gambling, there are actually plenty of other appealing and more immersive card games you can play without placing bets — and all the better because they can now be played on your smartphone, with virtually anyone.

Evil Apples

This game is all about humor. Ranked #1 in Word & Card Games in the U.S., Evil Apples is inspired by the party game Cards Against Humanity. Each round, one player gets to ask a question from a black card, and players pit against each other with the funniest answer on their white cards. The player with the black card then chooses the funniest answer. Players can play with strangers or share their game through SMS, Twitter or Facebook for friends to join. This free app even has an in-game chat.

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens claims to be the most funded game in Kickstarter history. Quirky and fun, the game is now available as an app and can be played with 2-5 players — with local players or strangers. Described as the “highly-strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette,” this simple game features adorable illustrations by The Oatmeal. This game costs $1.99 on the Apple App Store.

Clash Royale

For those who enjoy higher stakes and a more competitive atmosphere, Supercell’s sequel to the top grossing mobile game Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, is a digital card game that combines two of the most popular genres in gaming: collectible card games and real-time multiplayer online battle arena. This game allows players to duel, form a clan to share cards and build a battle community. When players win battles, they are awarded the opponent’s trophies, moving them up the global rank. Clash Royale is free to download and play.

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

This fast-paced strategy card game released by Blizzard is massively popular. For a virtual collectible card game, its core rules are easy to understand. Players build a deck, collect cards, and battle each other in casual, ranked, and arena games, or practice against AIs in the game’s adventure mode. Each card represents playable heroes and spells. Like other Blizzard games, the animations are top notch. Hearthstone is free to download on PC, Mac, phones, and tablets.

The Elder Scrolls®: Legends™ – Heroes of Skyrim

This highly anticipated strategy card game is based on the world of The Elder Scrolls, a series of action role-playing fantasy games developed by Bethesda Game Studios. It features fan-favorite characters from Skyrim, with many game modes available. Players can play alone and earn new cards, create their own card decks, battle AI or play against online opponents. This game is free to download and play.