Books I’m reading

1. Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money & Having Fun Investing in Startups by David S. Rose
2. The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs Book by William H. Draper
3. The Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age by David J. Neff and Randal C. Moss
4. Activism!: Direct Action, Hacktivism and the Future of Society by Tim Jordan
5. Open Data Now by Joel Gurin
6. Rework by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
7. Getting Real: the Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application
Book by David Heinemeier Hansson, Jason Fried, and Matthew Linderman
8. Snow in the Summer by Sayadaw U Jotika

Who will fill the gap of media literacy in Myanmar?

Recently I learnt that millions of SIM cards would be sold by Myanmar telecommunications services companies, Telenor and Oredoo. For most countries, this is not newsworthy. But for Myanmar, it’s massive. Up until May 2011 a non-web enabled SIM card cost a Burmese citizen US$3000. In 2013, just 6.7% of Myanmar citizens had home internet access and 5.1 % had mobile access, this latest development means that very rapidly, most people here will have mobile internet access.

As this digital media rapidly becomes integrated into our daily lives, we need to think through the media literacy skills of the Myanmar people.

Recently I visited a friend and his wife showed me a photograph of a funeral. On the coffin was the name Senior General Than Shwe (the former Burmese dictator). ‘Than Shwe’, she said, in shock, ‘has died!’ The photo was of course a fake. However, this is one of many situations I have encountered in recent months as global and national stories and images start to circulate in Myanmar in unprecedented ways.

Countries that have long had internet penetration have slowly adjusted to internet scams, fakes and propaganda. Through schools, families and friends, citizens in these countries have learnt to be critical and sceptical of content. They’ve found ways to verify information and have developed a network of trusted local language sources. But these kinds of developments have not yet happened in Myanmar.

An American-based NGO, Media Literacy Project (MLP) has described media literacy as: ” the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media.” Media literacy is something that is learnt. But it’s not a skills that has been taught or supported in Myanmar. Without these skills, Burmese citizen’s are made vulnerable to abuse.

If we look at the religious conflicts that recently occurred between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar, we can clearly see that the main proponents of this conflict actively exploited people’s lack of media literacy. Facebook in particular became a platform for inciting violence and hatred.

In the past, Myanmar educational institutions have deliberately neglected the media literacy skills of Myanmar public. It was in their vested interest to do so. However, the government have recently welcomed Media Development NGOs who are now supporting the development of local media.

Addressing the media literacy of Myanmar citizen’s is no simple task. This will be a long-term project that needs proper policy, funding and support. Opening up the free flow of information comes with new opportunities but also, less discussed important responsibilities. All this begs the question: ”Who will fill the gap of media literacy of Myanmar and how quickly can they do it?

Just a website which is trying to reinvent the world’s education system

One of the websites that utterly inspires me is www.khanacademy.org. It’s just an easily navigated educational website. But it provides a world-class education for anyone, anywhere completely free and without registering. It has many good features.

The best two features I found out about the website that can deliver over 300 million lessons on it, also delivers the lessons with 30 languages. I also heard about some Burmese volunteers are translating into the Burmese language too, www.khanacademyburmese.org. In addition, 10 million students can access to it per month.

Definitely, it sounds interesting website for me. Its founder Salman Khan is also an interesting guy. He is an Indian-Bangladesh mixed blood guy. He was born and raised in America. He has an excellent in Computer science, Electrical Engineering, and Business educations from the MIT and the Harvard. He began tutoring his relatives and friends on YouTube. Then he quitted from his hedge fund analyst job from a capital firm. Then he started Khan Academy website, now it has significant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ann and John Doerr, Lemann Foundation, Google, and others.

One of the weak points is that the students who lack the digital literacy skills can face difficult to use the website. However, we can fill this gap with the trainers.

In conclusion, I think this is an excellent educational website if you are working in the local schools or NGOs, you should check it out and consider to use the learning materials from the Khan Academy to full-fill your teaching to students to practice e-learning to students.

A good website for the webmasters

One of the best websites for the young webmasters is w3schools.com. It’s great because you can learn from the beginner levels to the expert levels. You choose a client side language and then learn from its examples in each chapter and you can edit into the code just on its web pages. It has good some points and weak points.

The good points include the fact that there are lots up-to-date languages you can learn to such as the HTML5 and the CSS3. In addition, you can choose the way: web designer or web developer, depending on your interest and talent. Another good feature is that you can earn the credential web certificates on the web with very low prices. Also, in my experiences on this web is I never found the errors on it and it is very easy to navigate.

One of the drawbacks is that the color of the website, it is a dull color for young people. Another bad point is that there are the advertising on the website. However, you can just ignore it.

To sum up, I think this is a best website if you are a young webmaster and you want to improve your web skills. You should not ignore it.