voice transcription software

it’s been a while since i needed this. a search quickly turns up Express Scribe Transcription from NCH. installed and tried using it. but found its Play with Stopping function’s not good enough for my poor memory.

hunted for a much older software, and found the good old VoiceWalker. there’s 2 versions, according to Department of Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara. you can download version 2 or version 1 from the local mirror. but i think i have been using version 2 all along.


simply love and cant do without the Walk (F5) and Looping function.

the only catch is, VoiceWalker only supports wav; mp3 is a no go. but fret not, just download dvdvideosoft’s Free audio converter will do.

another thing to note is the file size of .wav. i just witnessed a 134mb mp3 converted into a whopping 984 wav. that’s not too environmentally friendly 😛

chinese new year, or lunar new year, or …

chinese new year, or lunar new year, which is “correct”? linguistically speaking, there’s no right or wrong 😛

but …

every year when we celebrate Chinese New Year (CNY) here in Singapore, there would be pple calling these holidays Lunar New Year, instead of CNY. “Chinese New Year” should be the more scientific and proper term, which our officials at MOM have also recognised and adopted:

150218-mom holidays 2015

WHY is CNY a more scientific and proper term in the Singapore context? context is important to take note, for language use is often, if not always, contextualised. let’s examine three(3) reasons:

1. The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar. it takes into consideration BOTH orbits of mother Earth around the Sun, and the Moon around Earth. it is NOT a (pure) lunar calendar. these two calendar types are DIFFERENT scientifically. therefore, if one insists to call it LNY (singaporeans just love capitalisations & acronyms very very much), LNY should refer to Lunisolar New Year. “Lunar” new year is unscientific.

2. In multi-racial Singapore, we observe public holidays celebrated by the different ethnic groups. CNY originates from the Chinese ethnic group. while one may argue that LunarNY may “belong” to other pple in other parts of the world as Wikipedia have suggested, in the local context, we are obviously not celebrating this day becos the Japanese, or the Korean, or the Cambodian are celebrating it. it is Chinese New Year we are celebrating, based on our local multi-racial & cultural context.

3. If we were to trace how the Chinese called these (holi)days in the Chinese language, we have 春节 or 元旦 (used in contemporary P.R.China and ancient China respectively). Singaporean Chinese call these days 华人新年 or 农历新年 (note: 农历 is a 阴阳历, a lunisolar calendar in other words). neither in Singapore nor China do we hear “阴历新年” or “月历新年” or “月亮新年” if “Lunar New Year” were proper.

i think i can work out more reasons. but three should be enough as we have already examined the scientific aspect, cultural aspect, and the linguistic aspect of the phenomenon. on this day before CNY, “除夕” (chu-xi) as we call it, may i wish you “新年快乐,万事如意。身体健康,心想事成!”

this is 乙未(羊)年, year of the Goat btw (:



CNY’s round the corner

转眼又要过年了。当然严格说来立春已过,所以我们已进入乙未羊年了。明天就是除夕了。而今天傍晚开信箱时看见了一份意外的惊喜 *faint*

150217-sihui cny card

十分感谢斯惠在百忙中还亲手为我设计并绘制了极富“羊”气息的贺年片 **faint**

期盼下星期六初十学生来家里团聚时再当面道谢 ***faint***

今年原来只寄出三张贺年片,现在可以加多一张了 ****faint****

祝愿所有朋友在新的一年里“身体健康,万事如意,福慧增长” (:

(p.s. sihui told me the story of “蛇鼠一窝” the other day when she saw this *****faint*****)

flipped learning

it’s been 6 months since i shared my thoughts on how i perceive a flipped classroom. and only recently, i came upon FLN (led by Aaron Sams and colleagues)’s definition of flipped classroom in hope to “counter common misconceptions and bring clarity to discussions”, using another term “flipped learning”.

in this 2-page document, of particular interest to me is the outlining of the 4 pillars of FLIP (p.2):

  • Flexible learning culture
  • Learning culture
  • Intentional content
  • Professional educator

the 11-point checklist would be useful for teachers for quick assessment of their existing practices. whether it can be classified truly as flipped learning or flipped classroom, or it’s just a manifestation as a result of misconception(s). 张冠李戴 is not too uncommon i would think.

where Intentional content is concerned, i think it’s good for teachers to provide ‘starters’ to get students going. along the way, we should allow them to be content co-curators in the spirit of SDL n CoL. of cos, from an exam point of view, teachers could be the one to curate things that are “for exams” aspects of learning, and students co-curate things that extends their learning beyond the scope of exams. in this way, teachers and students could become co-creators of knowledge in a classroom (:


what teachers want in their PD experience

chanced upon this research article published by bill & melinda gates foundation reporting on teachers’ view on teachers’ professional development.

this list of “wants” of PD (and the ‘fineprints’ below) caught my eyes:

  • relevant
  • interactive
  • delivered by someone who understands my experience
  • sustained over time
  • treats teachers like professional
  • less lecture
  • opportunity to apply learning (through either demo/modelling, and practice)

20151002-2014_gates foundation_pd
(acknowledgement: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2014). Teachers know best: Teachers’ views on professional development, p.4)

as the first bullet point “relevant” highlighted, this research reports the US context. would our teachers be looking at the same set of things, or less, or more, or entirely different set? based on my past experiences engaging in-service teachers, i would think the list can generally apply to our context too. and a timely reminder to fulfill them in my existing and new offering of courses, especially the blended ones (: