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Author Archives: Angelo Fernando

About Angelo Fernando

Author, business journalist, elementary school teacher, podcaster. I have been blogging since 2004, and a business and technology columnist for magazines, since 1994. Passionate about education, and media literacy.

Starting a Robotics Program? Check this!

Here’s a video I did with Ruben Gameros, a grad student at State University. It’s about what it takes to start a Robotics program.

This was a hot topic in the STEAM Workshop last December in Colombo and Kandy, Sri Lanka. We know drones are changing the game in many areas. How about ‘Swarm’ robotics? Watch Ruben explain!

 

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Sri Lankan Workshop YouTube Channel

To support the recent science and tech workshop, our YouTube channel is up and running.

  • This is one of them, on Augmented Reality – featuring Google Cardboard

 

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White House goes Cheesy, hashtags and all

It’s that time of year when communicators have too much time on their hands. Consider how: North Korea is pretending to prove it has a Hydrogen bomb (various sourcessay this was a damp squib); the sports minister of Sri Lanka is claiming he’s received ‘scandalous’ pictures of cricketers in New Zealand (hotels are denying this), and Google’s ‘self-driving’ cars are supposedly dangerous (drivers have sometimes had to stop them from crashing).

Perhaps it’s that down time after the Christmas season, when there’s a news hole that needs to be filled. With Cheese, for instance. The White House is hosting a humongous cheese party. The hashtag being #youfetabelieveit. It’s called the Big Block of Cheese Day. It’s been created after Andrew Jackson’s 1837 event, for which he trucked in a 1,400 pound block of cheese and had citizens come and mingle with the occupants. A sort of Open House event.

I don’t know how Mr. Jackson managed to handle this without a Tumbler account, but it sure goes to prove that sometimes all you need is a piece of cheese to get people to hang out with you. Unless you don’t mind keeping away the lactose intollerant.

 

 

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Farewell LMD readers – I’m retiring after 20 years

Dec. 2015 was my last column in LMD Magazine. After 20 some years, I’ve decided to put down the pen and become a consumer, rather than a contributor. (And yes, it’s always been a pen!)

I began writing for the magazine back in 1994, as an ‘occasional’ contributor. By 1995, publisher Hiran Hewavisenti cajoled me to start a column after we returned to the US, and …the rest is history.

I admit, ‘retiring’ as a columnist was a tough decision, considering how much it connected me with many of you readers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. It’s funny how ‘old tech’ print publications like this have been the precursors of our fancy schmancy social networks. It’s how I’ve met tech evangelists, entrepreneurs, and a wide range of thought leaders in emerging sectors. You’ve helped me cover topics such as US political campaigns, and advertising to diplomacy, from the tsunami to the ‘Uber economy’, from mobile learning, and cyber wars to artificial intelligence.

I like to thank the staff at LMD for their wonderful support, and my fellow columnists who sometimes became my sounding board, as they covered complimentary, emerging topics from different corners of the world. And last but not least, I have to thank my readers, many of whom write back, or send that occasional tweet.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Journalism, Media, Social Media

 

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Science and Tech Workshop in Sri Lanka

Just got back from a short trip to Sri Lanka, where I conducted two workshops for teachers.The first was in Maharagama on Dec 15th & 16th. The second workshop was in Kandy on Dec 18th.

Here are some stories about the workshops:

Much thanks to my co-presenters:

  • Dr. Paul Funk – Engineer, US Dept. of Agriculture, New Mexico (Via Skype)
  • Ruben Gameros – Autonomous Collective Systems Laboratory, Arizona State University (Via Skype)
  • Scott Logan – Montessori International School, Mesa, Arizona (Via Skype)
  • Lal Medawattegedera – Lecturer, Open University of Sri Lanka
  • Nalaka Gunewardene – Science writer, author, trustee of the Science and Development Network
  • Nazly Ahmed – Web App Dev at Social Seed Media

Also the two Keynote Speakers:

  • Dr. Ajit Madurapperuma – Dir. Of Information Communication Technology, ICTA
  • Dr. Nalin Samarasinha – Astrophysicist at Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona (Via Skype)

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Hands-On Engneering – Spaghetti Tower Challenge

 

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Hands-on session on Audio Recording

Scot Logan & Students

Hands-on session on Motors and Electro-magnetism

Scott Logan & students at Montessori International School, teach class – via Skype

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Aaron Fernando facilitates session

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Using audio and video for content creation

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Photography in Science – From SLRs to GoPro

Nazly Ahmed, Social Seed Media explains Depth of Field

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Engineering & Problem Solving – Building a Solar Oven

Paul Funk, US DOA

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Teaching Science Writing

Nalaka Gunewardene

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Future Ready Classroom – Google Cardboard & Augmented Reality

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Future Ready Classroom – Teaching Robotics

Ruben Gameros, ASU, teaches class on robotics – Via Skype

 
 

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Ring-cut or Missed Call? Lankan English at its best

I recently had a conversation with Harshana Rambukwella, a lecturer at the Open University, and our discussion drifted into an evergreen –even controversial — topic: What exactly could we consider ‘standard’ English? Harshana’s work has been about ‘narratives of nationalism’ and often speaks about identity, and nationalism in literature and language.

We got talking about the term “Ring-cut” which means calling someone’s mobile phone from your mobile, and cutting the call so that the number gets registered. Typically, a ring-cut is used because the person you ‘ring-cut’ has a free calls, and can call you back. This pithy term captures the essence of an action that has become ‘standard’ even in a conversation in Sinhalese or Tamil. Meaning, there is no need to translate it!

Interestingly, in some parts of the country, this is also called a ‘Missed call’ – a term I came across in advertising. As in: “Give us a missed call” and enter to win…” So much more interesting than saying “Call and leave your number on our answering machine to register to win.”

Here are a few more Sri Lankanisms:

  • What, for instance would you be doing, if you were caught “murdering the queen?” (Hint: It’s not a punishable act, but could be embarrassing).
  • How about being accused of doing a “Devil Dance?”
  • “Don’t tell me!”  is the equivalent if “Are you kidding me?” but conveys more shock and awe. Another version of which is “You’re telling me!” 
  • “Driving like a lunatic” (Said in exasperation, when talking about TukTuk drivers, or… a spouse)

Incidentally, you could find more of these Lankanisms in Michael Meyler’s  a dictionary of these words in Mirisgala.

And if you like to share your favorite words and phrases, please send them along.

 

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Social Media

 

STEM Student Ambassdors to visit Sri Lanka

STEM Ambassadors - Salt River Elementary 2Two students from my school district have been invited to visit Sri Lanka as ‘STEAM Ambassadors‘ in December.

They will represent the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community at two workshops for teachers on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The workshops will be held in Colombo and Kandy.

The students are:

  • Dominique Grey, a sixth-grade student at Salt River Elementary.
  • Haley Smith, a seventh-grade student at Salt River High School.
  • Maria Chavez, the school’s Parent/Community Involvement Specialist, will accompany them, as well as one parent of each of the students.

Listen to the story here, on KJZZ.

 
 

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