Thursday, 16 January 2014
Thursday, 9 January 2014
When one mentions about Geography, people instantly think about capability of memorizing world capitals or naming top mountains. This is very much misguided view of Geography and more so, Geography is a neglected topic in the broader educational issue in Malaysia. There is a lot of controversies going with the History syllabus and concern of declining standards in English, Maths and Science. However, Geography as a subject is being overlooked.
Looking at the current situation, our Geography subject is only thought as compulsory subject for lower secondary schools and thereafter, it becomes an elective for remaining school years. This means Geography teachers have 3 decisive years to ensure students to be Geo-literate before Form 4. First issue in Malaysian geography syllabus is the lack of definition and importance of the subject. In History and Science subjects, the text books clearly indicate what defines these subjects and why they are important for the world. In Geography text book, both of them do not exist at all. By not placing them, students would be wondering about the significance of the subject. Geography is basically the study of interactions between nature and human beings. It isn't about memorizing but it is about how the world works, world interconnections and implications of interactions and interconnections. New text books must highlight the role of Geography for society.
Second issue is MOE previously favoured Science subjects to Arts (60:40) for schools. Since Geography is treated as an art subject, it gets neglected pretty much in many Malaysian schools. The problem becomes more obvious in upper secondary as Form 4 Geography syllabus covers topics of natural disaster and basics of geology. Malaysians must be educated through Geography on how natural disasters happen (as Science subjects do not cover them) so they can be prepared in future (i.e. tsunamis). New core Geography syllabus must cover some basics of natural disasters (especially climate change).
Third issue is Geography syllabus do not highlight much about potential careers in this field. When the importance of the subject is not being highlighted and lack of knowledge of geographical careers, no one see the value of Geography. One view as a subject just to get 'A' and then forget about it. Today's world have witnessed the unprecedented usage of maps (No.1 geographical tool) in humanity's history. Malaysia, as it continually evolves, need people who are educated in Geography and Mapping Science. Everything from business to medicine to community work has a location aspect. Geography syllabus must highlight careers in growing field. Teachers should contact Geographers/Map-makers to visit schools to introduce exciting careers.
Fourth issue is Geography syllabus and teachers must integrate new technologies to teach the subject. This must include new mapping technologies (i.e. Google Earth, web maps) to bring excitement in learning. After all, Geography is all about exploring the world we live in. Visualizing Geography through story telling or organize outdoor visits allows the students to appreciate the world around them. Moreover, introduction of mapping technologies will spark interest in students to consider a career in Geography.
Fifth issue is Geography syllabus should challenge the general perceptions of the developing and developed world. The core Geography syllabus tend to highlight problems existing in developing world (i.e. overpopulation) and less so for developed world. As the world changes rapidly, geography syllabus must highlight alternative advances made in developing world (i.e. sustainable agriculture) and focus less on developed world. Malaysian worldview is skewed knowing a lot of Western World & Asia but very limited for other parts. This could be rectifying by presenting balanced view on issues in developing world.
In Summary, Geography syllabus in Malaysia needs a refocus to be more relevant and useful. Though Malaysians would better rate understanding the world than Americans, five issues must be addressed to revive a subject of significance importance. Geo-literate Malaysians would be capable understanding their environment, make wise decisions and knowing the implications of actions they do in the world we live in.
Wednesday, 1 January 2014
- Original intention of the blog was to cover topics that would underlay a future online Malaysian Atlas.Now, the blog is still focused on Malaysia but have topics of introducing map concepts to novice and technical people
- Original blog was very wordy. Today, the blog's wording is limited to cover what it is important and relevant to the map products above.
- The main target audience was Malaysian people. However, the number one source of audience came from Australia, followed by Malaysia and closely, United States. The blog has been viewed and read by audience across 6 continents
- There is general trend of rising and collapsing numbers of readers. In total 983 unique visitors were identified since April
- In July, the whole blog was revamped of its template for readers to subscribe and if necessary, contact the author. There was a push to publish 2 articles per month basis
- Slightly over 50% reached this blog through social media. The author aggressively promoted blog on social media to garner audience. Linkedin was a major source of traffic for the blog as the audience is well-versed what the author communicating in his writings
Goals in 2014:
- Increase engagement time from 1 minute plus to 3 minutes on monthly average.
- The share of audience who stays in the blog less than 10 seconds must be reduced from 70% to 50%.
- Spend less time making one themed maps as it is time consuming and amount of traffic received for the maps is unsatisfactory.
- Hopefully, the blog is more self-sustaining by having more subscribers, more comments and engagements in the blog. Most commenting was done outside the blog.
View Larger Map
After much delay and work, this is the proposed map of Penang Free Wifi Hot Spots. Penang, being very urbanized, modern and industrial state, introduced free wifi spots for public since 2009. It came in two stages: Phase I and Phase II. The map is a proposal to convert listed locations on the website to a graphical display. For time restrictions, only Phase I is completed (The map has aggregated 217 sites, some sites have multiple wifi spots).
Please drop your comments of improvements for future upgrades.