Archive for 2014|Yearly archive page

Online Shopping Propensity by State

In Not so random posts on November 17, 2014 at 12:07 PM


I came across this interesting infographic dispensed by eBay based on their database analysis of people utilizing online shopping via eBay.  According to the Daily Post, these big data were gathered from 2013 to 2014, as represented in the infographic that depicts an interesting picture of the consumers’ different preferences for purchasing a variety of products online.

Mmmm…Oregon shoppers like to buy surveillance equipment?  Online consumers in  Delaware seemed quite into vacuum machines.  Pennsylvania shoppers buy more products in the gaming department.  Some cases made more sense as Texas shoppers buy more hunting goods and New Jersey shoppers squander on men’s cologne.  Take a look and see if your shopping habit on eBay maps onto their analysis.




MIT to Launch “Intro to Game Design” via EdTechX Open Courseware

In Becoming ruminative in education, Not so random posts on October 16, 2014 at 6:58 PM
Picture Credit:

Picture Credit:

By way of introducing an exciting opportunity for practitioners and other educational stakeholders to understand and learn more about game design, below is an excerpt of the description of the free-to-all open course, Introduction to Game Design.

“A practical introduction to game design and game design concepts, emphasizing the basic tools of game design: paper and digital prototyping, design iteration, and user testing.”

This course is part of the EdTechX series from the MIT Education Arcade. If you are interested in exploring other educational technology courses, please click here to see more details.  By the way, I had personally taken a series of serious game design courses at Michigan State University where I learned to work with a group of talented game artists and researchers to build board game prototypes, playtesting, and improve game play mechanics through iterative design.  That said, I am sure to be enrolling in this course, set to begin on October 22nd, to further cement my knowledge in educational game design.

Launching “2014 Japan Study Abroad Program Media Hub”

In Not so random posts on September 30, 2014 at 1:45 PM
Welcome banner made by staff and children at Asakumi Kindergarten in Matsue Japan

Welcome banner made by staff and children at Asakumi Kindergarten in Matsue Japan

It never does harm to maintain more than one blogs at one time if you want to base off the different blogs of a variety of nature and to serve varying functions.  In my case, I recently started a separate WordPress site as a repository for my wonderful study abroad experience back in May in Matsue Japan.

That said, having two blogs now actually aids publicity for both of my sites.  I proudly bring to you the 2014 Michigan State University College of Education 2014 Japan Study Abroad Media Hub where you can find documentations of our memorable stay in western mainland Japan in the form of photograph and video-embedded blog entries.

Screenshot of the media hub

Screenshot of the media hub

During our stay in Matsue, we were closely followed by local TV news station crew and as a result our visit appeared multiple times on newspapers and evening TV news broadcasts.  Worry not, the TV news reports were captioned in English so you will have no problem understanding them.  Talk about being a star for a day or two!  For more information related to our 2015 study abroad program, stayed tuned ~

What’s Your Excuse When You Lose in Gaming?

In Not so random posts on August 17, 2014 at 9:39 AM


A Japan-based website recently did a poll on players’ most frequently used excuses when players lose in gaming matches, especially in fighting games.  Do you humbly admit your defeat?  Or do you look for things to blame?  The worst is for you to end the friendship over a gaming match.  Please check out the top 10 excuses gamers use below and maybe you are using an excuse so unique and not even listed here.

10.  I just had a hand cramp!


9.  This game pad is a little bit slippery


8.  It must be my old time hand injury


7.  It must be the newly updated patch

Winner:  Really?  But I have never received any update on the game.

Loser:  Oh.  Then it must be because I’ve had an updated.  No wonder it plays different.


6.  I haven’t played this game for a long long time


5.  Your display/TV is experiencing lags


4.  If only I was using my usual equipment


3.  I wish I had chosen a character I’m a lot more familiar with


2.  It’s all because my Internet suffered some lapses


1.  Something doesn’t feel right with my game pad.  It must be low on battery.

Have you used any or multiple of the above excuses?  Remember, gaming is all about relaxing and taking it easy.  Try to be nice, courteous, and fair to other fellow online gamers, alright?

I am Proudly Generation Study Abroad

In Becoming ruminative in education on June 28, 2014 at 3:31 AM



Coming fresh right off my study abroad experience in Japan which ended about a month ago, I was really pumped to see that MSU is now joining the national initiative, Generation Study Abroad, to expand study abroad participation.  For more information regarding MSU’s joining of the initiative, please click here to read more.

My 3 week stay in western Japan mainland was memorable in many ways and filled with pleasant surprises as I learned to adjust myself to the role of a tri-lingual program assistant responsible for coordinating assignment details and monitoring participants’ reactions to learning activities and perhaps more importantly tending to some participants’ roller-coasting emotions.  After all, when study abroad participants are not in the proper psyche, they won’t be able to fully avail themselves of the rare opportunity to interact meaningfully with the people/objects/environment from a different culture.  The overwhelming advantage for study abroad participants was that regardless of their triumph or frustration, they can really learn to develop mental toughness and ability to adapt while temporarily LIVING in that very culture.  The authenticity of being able to live in a foreign environment where everyone else seems quite different from you yet at times through constant communication and interaction, one could observe and sense similarities between him/herself and the otherness seems intriguing, at least to me.  In our study abroad program, our objective was to help the participants develop global competencies and awareness of multicultural education.  During the 3 weeks, I was able to witness and confirm that our MSU students changed for the better, each becoming a person who is more independent, ambiguity-tolerant, and more accepting to different ways of thinking and acting on situations.  It is my belief that the rapport built between these students from the USA and Japan will translate into lasting impressions potentially beneficial for shaping their identity as a young educator.

Serving as a 3-way translator in Chinese, English, and Japanese was challenging since I needed to navigate and code-switch between 3 language systems and all the while paying attention to pragmatics.  I enjoyed taking on the challenge and my colleagues commended me on my performance.  Effort-wise I still need to study more grammar and sentence structures to further improve my Japanese proficiency and hopefully I will have another opportunity to visit Japan sooner than later.

Once a long time ago I was a study abroad program participant in Tokyo Japan, and just last month I co-led a group of study abroad program  participants and visited different levels of schools in Matsue, Japan.  An interesting role reversal under my belt and now I think I am also proudly a member of generation study abroad.

And the Survey on Recreational Gaming Says……

In Not so random posts on May 4, 2014 at 12:09 PM


The home gaming console market underwent a sizable jolt late last year as Sony and Microsoft both released their next generation console.   And with the increasing popularity of cell phone gaming apps, it is only safe to assume that gaming has become more and more a component of people’s recreational life.   According to a recent survey administered by Entertainment Software Association (ESA), about 59 % of Americans play digital games on computers, gaming consoles and smart phones in 2013.

ESA surveyed over 2,200 families and looked at their gaming activities and found over 51% of these families have more than one gaming devices at home.  Considering that cell phones are nearly ubiquitous in all families, the 51% finding suggests a more than moderate penetration rate in that over half of these families may simultaneously own a gaming console or a hand-held gaming device.   The moderate penetration rate of gaming devices at home implicates the possibility of bridging home gaming practices with potential school practices of digital game-based learning instruction in the classroom.  An ideal scenario is when a teacher utilized DGBL in the classroom and actively attempts to connect school learning with home learning through digital games.  Back to the survey, as for the devices with which families use for gaming, 60% indicated playing games on computers, 53% using smart phones, and 41% were using hand-helds or other wireless devices.  Compare this year’s number with last year’s, there is a 37% increase for gaming on hand-helds and 22% for smart phones.   The average age of gamers is 31 years old with a relatively even gender distribution with male at 52% and female at 48%.  36% of females started to play digital games after the age of 18.  And the findings also showed that adults in this survey have 16 years of gaming experience and play an average amount of 14 game titles on a yearly basis.   14 game titles are quite a lot of games to be played in a year.  Given the alleged short attention span of modern day people, I wonder how many of these 14 titles they actually played to the finish line.  As a Chinese adage goes, “You have to finish once you put a start to things”.   I myself play about 5 to 7 titles per year and once I start playing, I have the tendency to strive to finish.

Good news! I am Japan-bound ~

In Not so random posts on April 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM


As the days wind down toward the end of semester, I am glad to have found that I will serve as a program assistant in a Japan Study Abroad Program in early May.  I had personally made three trips to Japan before, two of them being for sightseeing and one myself being a study abroad participant.  For this imminent trip to Japan, this time I will assume a different role who is responsible for facilitating activities, organizing assignment materials,  ensuring safety, and serving as a Japanese translator when situations call for it.  What is exciting is that I during the trip will have the chance to directly observe classroom instruction in different levels of Japanese schools to obtain a sense of how education is being carried out.  This will allow program participants to see for themselves the comparison and contrast between the education system and learning dynamics in the eastern and the western context.

My pre-travel preparation includes the usual things in packing, locating useful resources for program participants, and cramming myself in language learning books to further boost my Japanese proficiency.  When I found out I will be part of the trip, my exultation was beyond words.   もう一度日本へ、おわらなき旅立ちに。

We need video games in every classroom and here’s one of the whys

In Becoming ruminative in education on March 26, 2014 at 1:34 AM


Digital game-based learning (DGBL) had been touted for an array of benefits in the academic sense.  For instance, DGBL can supplement teaching by promoting motivation, critical thinking, problem-solving, systematic thinking, spatial reasoning, and other higher-order thinking skills.  In research, DGBL has been proved to facilitate learning in traditional subject matters as well.

While there are affordances and constraints with regard to the use of DGBL, my current research seeks to investigate teachers’ gaming experience, attitudes, self-efficacy, and perceived challenges and barriers toward the implementation of DGBL in classroom settings, in the hope of articulating a conceptual framework and typology of educational digital games with which teachers can rely on in incorporating digital games for instructional purposes.  In other words, my research and findings serve as one of the many whys educators and teacher educators should take heed of the potential educational benefits of DGBL.

I came across a talk by Dr. Shapiro of late and resonated particularly with the part where he talked about the fundamental differences between game-based learning and gamification, with the former being intrinsically motivating whereas the latter being more tied to extrinsic competition and emphasizing on commodified rewards.  To watch the half-an-hour talk to get his version of the why we need video games in every classroom, please go to the below link.


Jordan Shapiro’s talk on “Here’s why we need video games in every classroom”

eLearning Launched Right at Your Fingertips

In Becoming ruminative in education on February 28, 2014 at 6:15 PM

elearning_imageCrowdsourcing, open courseware and the increasing ubiquity of computers and mobile devices have combined to  thwart the traditional definition of learning as being taking inside brick-and-mortar classroom.  With more and more eLearning resources available to the general public at practically no expenses, learning becomes boundary-less and literally can take place anytime, anywhere nowadays.

Below is a link that leads to  a compilation of free 50 top eLearning resources, I believe, that can be helpful to teachers, students, and anyone who is keen, earnest and ready to learn!  I have personally used a few of them to learn about introductory programming and such.  After all, eLearning is at the disposal of your active-searching fingertips!

Top 50 free eLearning Courses

When East Meets West…

In Becoming ruminative in education on January 28, 2014 at 2:44 PM

3401885-east-meets-west--hot-dog-and-chopsticks-isolated-on-a-white-backgroundAs an international graduate student, I have had my fair share of cross-cultural experiences (some exuberant, some enigmatic and some frustrating) during my years of study in the USA.   When east meets west, there are bound to be sparks of conflict and also opportunities for mutual understanding.  Often times a lot of misunderstandings went unspoken because either party elected to speak up and find out why people acted the way they did.  Maybe some visualization of these cross cultural differences would help.

Visual designer, Yang Liu, did just that.   Over the past couple weeks, almost every friend of mine told me they had the chance to look at Yang Liu’s work on eastern and western cultural differences brought forth in simple shapes, symbolism and colors.  Me and my international graduate student friends pretty much resonated with every comparison of hers.  For a sneak peek, below is one example.

Picture Credit: Google Images

Picture Credit: Google Images

And the theme is “Complexity of Self-Expression” (I practically giggled upon seeing this), with blue representing the west and red the east.  The beat-around-the-bush fashion of self-expression is evident in how eastern culture people tend to talk, behave and write.  I vividly remembered being a junior undergraduate exchange student at Carleton University in Ottawa when I received written feedback from an Canadian professor who taught American literature.  His feedback was “Where’s the beef?” and I was speechless and clueless.  The matter of fact was, coming from an east Asian culture where students were commended for rote learning and trained to follow rules, I simply had no idea what “beef” was (both linguistically and figuratively in this context) and where I could find some, to enhance my writing skills.  After all, knowing how to write beef or beef up on things requires an dominant emphasis on cutting to the chase and critical thinking.  This comparison of Yang Liu’s rang some bells in me.

In my current classroom teaching to a group of young aspiring preservice teachers, I had the chance to share Yang Liu’s art work and expand on them to discuss the relevance of being open-minded, ambiguity-tolerant, and using cultural relevant pedagogy in an increasingly diverse classroom.  When east meets west, there is always a question mark but more importantly there is always room for developing understanding and reciprocity.

If you are interested in Yang Liu’s art work presented in an infographic, please click here.

%d bloggers like this: