March 06, 2009

 Mar 2009 Newsletter: Yumi's Monthly Note

The Pangaea facilitator training was held at the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) on Feb 4th (Wed). Then Pangaea activity was held with 23 children on Feb 7th (Sat). For training session, approximately 20 participants were expected, however at the end 39 participants, such as students, researchers and teachers came. It was a nice happening that materials we brought were less than how many people showed up..
Those who participated in the half-day training were various ethnic groups of people just like a representation of Malaysia as a country, as Malaysian, Hindi, Muslims and Chinese volunteers came. People were a bit nervous at first, but got along together as program proceeded to test manus like "Tako Introduction" and "Let's make your House." It was a great success. Most of them joined the first activity on Saturday and various ethnic groups of children enjoyed the activity there.

I usually try to say hello in each country's language, so I got the Guidebook.. However, because of a multiethnic country, various ethnic languages were written. So I gave up for this time. I spoke in English at the activity but some children couldn't understand what I said. At that time, facilitators supported me by translating for them.

Children were paired randomly, as junior high school students, elementary school students, boys, girls, Malaysians and Chineses, etc... A big older boy stooped down and was introduced by a small 4th grade elementary school boy at the "Tako Introduction" in which they introduced their partners to the others. It was a very lovely time. The House has already been completed and the UNIMAS village is up. And I heard that some messages from Tokyo or Mie Pref. were already sent. The activity will be held every month from February and the first Webcam activity is planned for June. Mr. Inoue and Mr. Iwata from the Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC) visited Sarawak by the one-night-bullet-tour this time. Mr. Inoue gave a lecture about the great possibility through ICT for children.

I'd like to express my sincere thanks to the professors, the assistant professors and the researchers in the Pangaea Team in UNIMAS. Fitri who is the Pangaea Ring Writer this time, Gary and Ina who spent lots of time preparing, Alvini and Nara, the Dean, who worked on organizing the team and Khairuddin, the Vice Chancellor who accepted the Pangaea activity at first. The base which gave the quick & precise response was only the Mizy Center (Soul, Korea) until now, even though the bases in Japan were included. So I was just amazed that all your responses were so quick and precise. You simulated the activity from preparation to cleanup many times in preparation for doing it by yourself from now on until June. I realized that the activity moves to the next phase with the system completing the package.

Anyway, the food was so delicious in Sarawak! I was crazy about Sarawak Laksa, a soup. For my confession, I had Laksa every day. I spent one day with the family of Professor Alvin on Sunday. I became a good friend of his three cute children. So I'm really looking forward to meeting them again in June.

In March I will travel in Europe. We plan to do the Webcam activity between Vienna and Mie Pref., but I'm worried as it's still snowing, according to the weather report. I'll also visit Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

This month Pangaea Ring Writer is Fitri, from the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She is one of the main staff at the Malaysia base. I appreciate her understanding of Pangaea activity and her quick & precise response. Thank you very much.

See you next month!


Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter | Permalink

 Mar 2008 Newsletter: Pangaea ring - Ms. Fitri Suraya Mohamad

This month Pangaea Ring Writer is Fitri, from the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. She is one of the main staff at the Malaysia base. I appreciate her understanding of Pangaea activity and her quick & precise response. Thank you very much.

Hello and Apa Khabar everyone! My name is Fitri Mohamad, and I teach at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS, for short). We have just completed our very first Pangaea activity with 22 local school children in our district on Saturday, 7th February 2009. We have 34 facilitators and 4 technical persons on board, all enthusiastic about the opportunity to be part of the Pangaea @ Unimas. We were pleased to play host to Yumi and Toshi, who came all the way from Japan, and in that one week in Kuching, both of them are already hooked on our delicious local specialty, Laksa Sarawak!

It is a wonderfully refreshing experience to see how technology is used as a tool to affect the ways humans act and think. Pangaea gives a safe and exciting environment for kids to explore the world through the use of creative pictographs, personal artwork and collaborative activities. Even though our Unimas kids have not had the chance to send messages to other Pangaeans yet, all of them are very excited to be part of Pangaea, to learn to communicate with other children from different cultural, social, economical, educational and historical backgrounds from countries around the world. Our children have started working on their "House" and "Room" drawings, and pretty soon, everyone on PangaeaNet will be able to see their colourful artwork online. Though technology is used to establish the connection between the countries to PangaeaNet, it is the children's involvement in various Pangaea activities which make the technology disappear in the background. This is a rare chance to experience how children reach in within themselves to reach out to the world, and using technology collaboratively with a meaningful shared goal of achieving world peace.

Currently, we are planning for the coming Pangaea activities for the rest of 2009, and hopefully we will "meet" other Pangaeans online very soon. When the Unimas team is ready, Pangaea is planned for roll-out to other locations in Sarawak, specifically to a number of remote communities on the Borneo island. It is hoped that Pangaea becomes a catalyst to open the minds and hearts of these kids, and other kids-at-heart around them, one Pangaea activity at a time.

Fitri Suraya Mohamad
Faculty of Cognitive Science and Human Development
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)

Posted by: kumakinoko | 3. Newsletter , 4. Pangaea Ring | Permalink