A government that works hand in glove with the creative industry

The government in Singapore is a firm backer of creative agencies – from attractive grants to working together to setting up centres of excellence – it has not shied away from broadcasting this fact.

Agencies too are happy. For them, the experience of working with the Singapore government is devoid of the usual hang-ups associated with the civil service, such as being slow or bureaucratic.

So is Singapore creative? Industry watchers believe it is. According to an industry insider, “Singaporeans were more traditional; creativity was not a preferred choice but rather something you pursued if you ‘failed’ to make it in the mainstream. The government is doing its best to push creativity by welcoming cultural, social and political diversity.”

That said, there is work being done to develop the key industries that drive creativity as well as spur innovation, most prominently from startups. And most of it is visible.

(Find our regular selection of online content worth sharing in this section)

[“Source-afaqs”]

After Galaxy Note 8, Samsung plans to launch a foldable Galaxy Note phone in 2018: Report

Samsung plans to launch a foldable Galaxy Note next year

Samsung announced the Galaxy Note 8 – the phablet that succeeds last year’s Note 7 in India on Tuesday at a price tag of Rs 67,990. Soon after the launch of the new flagship device by the South Korean smartphone maker, rumours are that the company has started working on its next Galaxy device. No it not note Note 9, instead the South Koran smartphone maker is gearing up to announce a phone with bendable display. Going by the rumours floating on the internet, Samsung is reportedly planning to launch the foldable phone by mid-next year i.e 2018. This bit of information comes from Samsung mobile chief executive — DJ Koh. Although, Samsung is yet to confirm the making of the phone.

DJ Koh reportedly said that the foldable smartphone that Samsung is planning to bring in 2018 will be launched under its Galaxy Note brand. He further adds that Samsung is targeting 2018 for the launch of a phone with bendable display. But then there are several hurdles, he notes. Koh didn’t explain the hurdles though.

But Koh did say that if the hurdle rises, chances are that the company may push the launch date. The reports claim that Samsung will launch the phone with bendable display – name of which is still unknown by mid next year. It further highlights that the foldable smartphone is expected to enter production during the fourth quarter of 2017. Koh didn’t reveal any further details about the bendable phone as of now.

Also Read: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 launched at Rs 67,900: Specs, features and everything to know

Samsung’s aim to launch a bendable phone is nothing new. There have been a lot of rumours circulating on the same for a long time now. Some previously leaked reports suggest that Samsung’s upcoming foldable smartphone will probably be called – Galaxy X. This foldable phone was first spotted in a patent filing last year. The app showed that the phone will boast a sleek design. Some reports also claimed that the foldable phone can be — “folded or unfolded semi automatically.”

Reports are also such that the foldable phone or the Galaxy X is expected to come with artificial intelligence-enabled speaker, which Samsung may announce very soon. This upcoming speaker by Samsung is said to counter Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod.

Meanwhile Samsung recently launched the Galaxy Note 8 in India. The phablet succeeds the Note 7 and comes with a stylus — the S Pen. In India, the Galaxy Note 8 will be available for buying starting from September 21 — with pre-orders beginning from today — both online and offline in Midnight Black and Maple Gold colour options. The phablet will be available exclusively via Samsung’s own store and Amazon India. The Galaxy Note 8 comes with 6.3-inch infinity display and dual rear cameras. The phone runs on the Android Nougat OS and is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor.

[“Source-indiatoday”]

Making a mark in education

India’s large youth demographic is often touted as the country’s biggest (yet-to-be-realised) asset. But the insidious presence of learning disability in its classrooms is often overlooked. In fact, it was only as recently as last year that the Central Government’s Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act included Specific Learning Disability as one of the 21 new health conditions on its list for the very first time.

Specific Learning Disability is a generic term for a group of neuro-behavioural disorders that affects the acquisition and use of skills related to reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia) or arithmetic (dyscalculia) in individuals who otherwise possess normal intelligence.

It is not uncommon for parents and teachers to wrongly associate learning disability with mental retardation.

As experts point out, early intervention and remedial teaching can offset the problem and help to reintegrate learning-disabled children into the mainstream. But awareness about it remains low.

“With any other disability, the signs are very clearly identifiable, but this is a hidden disorder,” says M Prabhavathy, Assistant Professor and Head, Centre for Differently Abled Persons (CDAP), Bharathidasan University. “Our education system at present doesn’t cater to these children, who often get labelled as slow learners.” The Tiruchi-based centre trains educators to spot learning disability and formulate lesson plans for students who are lagging behind in class.

Raising awareness

With few statistical studies on the prevalence of learning disability available in India, those in the field point to a combination of factors that pushes these intelligent children out of society.

Parents who tend to obsess over their child’s academic performance create a situation where the desire to come first in everything assumes an inflated importance.

Children who cannot keep up, show their frustration through excessively rebellious behaviour or withdraw completely from social interaction.

Sometimes this leads to an extreme outcome of learning disability children being sent off to special needs schools.

“The worst thing that can happen to a learning disability child is to have him admitted in a special school where children with severe retardation and other loco-motor disabilities study. It’s a big blow to his or her self-esteem,” says Manasi Uday, a psychologist in Tiruchi.

“Parents have to learn to accept their children as they are, and stop emphasising on grades or certain professions like medicine or engineering as a sign of excellence. There are hundreds of jobs out there that don’t require intensive reading and writing skills,” she says.

Manasi recently organised a seminar to raise awareness about the issue in collaboration with the National Service Scheme (NSS) wing of National College in Tiruchi. She is hoping to create a resource centre dedicated to learning disability in the city.

Certification for special educators is an area that needs greater attention from the authorities, she says. Standardised testing tools are hard to use in a multilingual society, especially when they are in a language that the child is not familiar with.

“Generally parents ask for Intelligence Quotient (IQ) assessment, not learning disability tests, which are in English or Tamil,” says Manasi. “We use the Binet-Kamat Intelligence Test for most preliminary testing. But if the child already has a perception problem, the BKT tool is not accurate, because the child cannot understand the language. The test then is not an assessment of your intelligence, but of your knowledge of the language, so how can it guide us in spotting learning disability?”

Retraining

How effective is remedial teaching? Teachers can be trained to spot and rectify mild to moderate learning disability in the current education system, but severe cases will require specialist care, says Manasi.

“Any child before the age of 8 can be trained successfully through remedial teaching because he or she doesn’t have to unlearn a lot,” she says.

“It is a sad fact of schooling that kids who don’t fit in are often bullied or ridiculed by their peers. Learning disability kids tend to be socially withdrawn, and after the age of 12, it becomes harder to apply basic modes of remedial instruction.

“Teachers have to be very patient, and adjust the pace of the lessons to their level of understanding. You can see results in a matter of weeks or at the most, a year of remedial teaching,” she adds. What about children in the State board schools whose learning disability is diagnosed late because of the ‘no-fail’ policy until Class 8?

“Such children should be given an opportunity to shift to vocational education after senior school, because they are quite creative,” says Dr Prabhavathy of CDAP. “The only other option for them is to drop out from schooling completely.”

A few mainstream schools in the city have opted to coach their learning disability students during vacations. SBIOA Matriculation and Higher Secondary School, for instance, identified learning disability in 13 children from Class 1 to 5 last year, and offered them remedial classes during the holidays.

“The result was quite positive, so we are planning to repeat it in the forthcoming academic year,” says the school’s principal V Ambujam.

“Besides training our staff, we had to counsel the parents first to accept the situation, and not to rush their children to do well in studies.”

With even Government schools in the State having tech-savvy classrooms now, the time is right for education to be more inclusive, says Dr Prabhavathy.

“Rather than pinpointing learning-disabled children through special classes and courses and embarrassing them among their peers, we should be working towards a classroom that accommodates students of differing capabilities with all-inclusive lesson plans,” she says. “This is quite possible with educational software.”

Psychologist Manasi agrees. “There are some 25 apps available for learning disabled education — why can’t we create something that works for all?”

Source:-thehindu

Apps to Provide Peace of Mind With a Teenager Behind the Wheel

Q. I have a new teenage driver in the family. What’s the best way to keep tabs on his whereabouts when he is out with the car? Will regular location-tracking phone apps work?

A. As long as you and the teenage driver agree to use a location-tracking app on your phones, the software should give you an idea of where he is at any given moment. Several apps and services for monitoring location through a smartphone can be found online. But keep in mind that you may not get the latest updates if the teenager loses his phone, its battery runs out or a network signal is unavailable.

Some location-tracking services include features specifically for keeping tabs on young drivers. For example, Life 360’s Driver Protect for Android and iOS is one option in this category and includes roadside assistance, a “Safe Drive Review” report for parents to see where the driver went (and how fast), arrival alerts, crash detection and emergency response tools. A Driver Protect subscription is $7.99 a monthbut comes with a free seven-day trial.

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The Life360 Driver Protect app, one of several subscription services that track drivers, guides a new user through setting up a “circle” for family members to see one another on a map. Once configured, the app collects GPS and other data from the driver’s phone to show location, route and other information. Credit The New York Times

For parents who do not want to rely solely on information collected from the phone, a number of companies make vehicle-monitoring kits that use a small gadget that plugs into the car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD-II) port, usually found under the dashboard. Through its companion smartphone app, the device reports the car’s location, speed, braking information, driving history and more. You need to buy the OBD-II adapter (typically less than $80) and pay a monthly subscription fee. Prices vary based on the company, but Bouncie, Hum and MotoSafety are three car-tracking products to consider.

Newer vehicles may have optional tracking tools and custom apps available, so check your car’s user manual if you think these may be available. If the car already has the OnStar vehicle-safety service, you can add its FamilyLink monitoring feature for $3.99 a month.

Welcoming a new motorist into the family these days involves more than just driver’s education classes and adding the teenager to the insurance policy. Distracted driving incidents from texting or fiddling with other technology in the car are dangers that most older generations of drivers did not experience. The National Safety Council has information and app suggestions online for reducing distracted driving. Additionally, the council’s DriveItHome.org site hosts a series of detailed guides for parents of new driver

Even for parents who opt for less electronic surveillance of their teenage drivers, there is software to suggest for the new driver. Apps for the family’s insurance company, navigational aids and roadside-assistance tools can provide help when needed and minimize that invasive feeling.