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Virtual learning takes center stage

But my four or five star business hotel still charges way too much for slow Internet access – mainly because people my age don’t demand it as these younger folks do. I wrote this in a fancy New Zealand hotel room where they still advertise typing and fax services available in the business center, but require a special phone call to activate the wired Internet service in the room.

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How learning will change

Sure young people need guides. They are actually hungry for general direction and ideas to pursue. What I have learned is that if I provide them with a very top-level syllabus, for example, list a few potential books to read or other sources; they are off on their own. Sometimes they don’t even need that – all they need to know is what you want them to know and when you want them to know it. Generally, they explore, share, and investigate far more thoroughly than any teacher would require. Their peer evaluations are honest, real-time, and usually reflect careful thought. Peer pressure keeps personal barbs to a minimum.

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Games teach more than we think

The ability to perform will be the basis of further challenges and growth. Games probably are right idea and teach more than we think. Steven Johnson in his book Everything Bad is Good For You provides evidence that IQs have risen as a result of games and online activities and that even watching television today is more complex and multilayered than ever. This requires greater attention spans, better concentration and the ability to hold several plot elements in your mind at the same time. If you have watched a teenager play a video game you will see this in an embryonic form. When they sit down to play for the first time they do not read the instruction booklet. In fact, few games even have them.

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The old ways of learning are fading away

Many games can be played against another player as well. The network capabilities of games are just starting to be explored, but they will push the envelope and make location unimportant. Players on different continents can play simultaneously and the video/action nature of these games make language irrelevant. Firms such as Microsoft have invested in gaming and learning. Microsoft’s Games for Learning Institute is researching and developing games for math and sciences learning. NYU is offering a master’s degree in Games for Learning. A Silicon Valley startup, Bunchball, uses gaming principles to develop learning at work. The number of commercial and academic players is growing exponentially.

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Menimbang Penaikan BBM dan Produktivitas Ekonomi

Meski telah sekian lama diwacanakan, hingga kini penaikan harga bahan bakar minyak sebagai konsekuensi pelepasan subsidi di sektor ini belum segera dilakukan. Tentunya pemerintah punya alasan yang kuat untuk itu. Namun satu hal yang menarik untuk dikaji adalah relevansi kebijakan tersebut terhadap produktivitas ekonomi di tanah air. Apakah benar kebijakan itu akan berujung pada iklim kondusif bagi peningkatan produktivitas di tanah air, atau malah sebaliknya?

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