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Broadband - furthered the feasibility of telecommuting by enabling virtual group collaboration to be possible anyplace, anywhere. \[ICT and Our Society\]
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Change in Working Styles

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Telecommuting:

unmigrated-wiki-markup

Telecommuting

refers

to

working

from

home

using

ICT

such

as

phone,

fax

and

computer,

to

electronically

connect

themselves

to

their

offices

during

normal

organizational

working

hours.

The

location

of

work

is

usually

the

home

but

there

are

also

mobile

offices

where

workers

travel

to

a

satellite

office

which

are

located

nearer

to

the

homes.

Telecommuting

therefore

replaces

commuting

by

rail,

car

or

other

transport.

\[ICT and Our Society\]

Panel

Origin

Wiki Markup

The

term

telecommuting

was

first

used

by

the

Center

for

Futures

Research

at

the

University

of

Southern

California,

to

describe

a

geographically

dispersed

office

where

workers

can

work

at

home

on

a

computer,

and

transmit

data

and

documents

to

a

central

office

via

a

telephone

line.

\[ICT and Our Society\]

Telecommuting was initially intended to extend the working day and also to maintain a better work-life balance.

Telecommuting has been greatly
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Trend of Telecommuting:

Due to rapidly evolving ICT, companies in the more information-saavy countries, such as the United States, are considering telecommuting as a means to achieve greater corporate benefits, such as:

  • Reducing amount of office space and thus gaining tax incentives
  • Increased productivity
  • Better retention of workers due to greater flexibility in working hours
  • Improved employee moral and hence reduced sick time leading to better productivity

There is an increasing trend in telecommuting especially in information-saavy countries. Telecommuting has been motivated and enabled as a result of information and communications technologies

as follows:

(ICT) that have materialized, as meted out in the table below:

Technology

Impact/Influence

Personal computer

- makes

  • Makes it possible for individuals to work on documents from home.

Mobile phone

- added

  • Added mobility for workers as it is now possible for them to contact anyone, anywhere.

Internet

- generated

  • Generated the deepest impact, as it allows two-way communication between employers and workers through communication tools such as electronic-mail and instant messaging softwares eg. Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!Messenger, QQ.
Wiki Markup

Broadband

  • Furthered the feasibility of telecommuting by enabling virtual group collaboration to be possible anyplace, anywhere.

Companies who consider telecommuting view it as a means to achieve greater corporate benefits, such as:

  • Reducing amount of office space and thus gaining tax incentives
  • Increased productivity
  • Better retention of workers due to greater flexibility in working hours
  • Improved employee moral and hence reduced sick time leading to better productivity
Panel

Telecommuting and the Environment

One point which environmentalists have cited in advocation towards telecommuting is the benefits it could have in easing traffic congestion and hence reduce air pollution. Although this point has not been greatly evidenced, a June 2008 report by The Climate Group on behalf of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI) has studied the positive externalities that telecommuting could have in fighting Climate Change.

Potential Benefits:

Telecommuting could generate up to 260 MtCO2e savings each year. In the United States, given that 30 million people could work from home, carbon gas emissions could be reduced by 75-100 MtCO2e in 2030, the effect of which is comparable to likely reductions gotten from measures such as fuel efficient vehicles.
The June 2008 report also presented the analysis that suppose a significant number of employees telecommute for more than three days a week, it could bring about energy savings of 20-50%, even with greater use of energy at home.

In a study conducted by the UK Department of Transport, it has been found that telecommuting reduces car travelling by UK telecommuters by 48-77%, representing reductions in fuel required for transport.

2)Change in Lifestyles

The constant innovations of both existing and new information and communications technology have brought about the information age where the personal living of people in countries with good IT infrastructure is more than ever closely knitted to ICT. The following table presents the various forms of transitions, primarily from 'offline' to 'online' or from print to non-print:

Transitions

Past

Present

Impact

Reading Newspapers

Reading news online
eg. BBC, MSN, Yahoo, Reuters

Reduction in demand for newspapers would translate to lesser demand for paper. Lesser processing of wood pulp which requires energy.

Writing diaries in books

Writing diaries on blogs
eg. MySpace, Wretch, Blogspot, Wordpress, Diaryland

Reduced demand for paper thus fewer amount of energy is needed to manufacture paper.

Manual purchase of goods from shops

Online Shopping
eg. E-bays, E-auctions, Commodities websites

Paperless transactions save trees and bring down demand for energy as fuel in manufacturing plants.

Manual banking, billing

Internet banking, online billing at Government websites, Self-Service Automated Machine
eg. SAM machine in Singapore which provides a variety of 24-hour services ranging from telecommunications, billing, postal to ticketing.

Automated f

Impact on Environment:

Reduces paper usage, thus reducing need to process wood pulp which consumes great amount of energy
Reduces need for travel - uses less fuel for transportation - reduces amount of greenhouse gases emissions

3)Change in Teaching Styles

  • E-learning in schools eg. Singapore, USA, UK
  • Multimedia softwares/Cd-roms to replace classroom teaching
  • Use of Smart Boards instead of conventional marker boards/chalkboards
  • Online submissions of students' assignments through school portals/platforms eg. NUS- IVLE

E-learning in Singapore

  • E-Learning initiatives in the Education sector

     1. IT Masterplan II

     2. Backpack.NET Initiative(Microsoft+IDA)

     3. iSHARE Project(Repository System Project)

     4. Learning Gateway with Microsoft

     5. Digital Content Exchange(DCX) Project

     6. Classrom of the Future(Microsoft+IDA)

     7. iTAP - Programme with Microsoft and the MOE. Students helping teachers

     8. Library of digital interactive resources

     9. Digital Learning Resouces

     10. Edumall - a quick-stop site for information on IT in education in Singapore and the masterplan II for IT in Education(mp2)

     11. Increasing use of Open Source Software

SMART Board

The SMART Board is an interactive, electronic whiteboard, which is very different from conventional marker boards and chalkboards. The SMART Board combines the simplicity of a whiteboard with the power of a computer and its feature of touch-sensitive display makes it incredibly easy to use.(SMART)

Since SMART Board can provide more impressive virtual images, which can attract students' attention and easily help students to learn more effectively. Moreover, the SMART Board provides easier ways for students to participate and thus benefit more from involvement in the lessons. (Liebrecht, 2007)

School platform

Nowadays more and more schools, especially universities, have set up their own virtual learning platforms. These learning platforms provide students and teachers access to various information and resources within the school and outside the school. Thus, they enable more effective communication and management between students and teachers. According to Becta, learning platforms are not just "a single 'off the shelf' product but a collection of tools that are designed to support teaching, learning, management and administration.(Becta, 2007) 

IVLE - Integrated Virtual Learning Environment in NUS

-provide online webcast lectures: CS1105 lectures are only conducted online through IVLE

-provide easy access to the library's eResources

-Provide important messages from University Administration

-enable lecturers share their teaching materials and provide lesson plan for students

-allow students to submit their homework and assignments for assessment

-provide forums for students and teachers to discuss on various topics

-other tools: such as gradebook, consultation, organizer

-also provide virtual environment for communities.

Link: http://ivle.nus.edu.sg/lms/default.aspx 

References:

Becta, 2007: Becta. (2007). What is a learning platform. Retrieved 13th, November, 2008 from http://schools.becta.org.uk/index.php?section=re&rid=12887

SMART: SMART Board interactive whiteboards. Retrieved November 13th, 2008 from http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-US/Products/SMART+Boards/

Liebrecht, 2007: Deia Liebrecht. (2007) West Area Gets Smart With Technology. Retrieved November 13th, 2008 from http://www.theledger.com/article/20071127/NEWS14/711270453/1229/CAMPUS40

Impact on Environment:

  • Reduces paper wastage
  • Reduces resources to make boards

    Environmentalists have been advocates of telecommuting as the new way to work because of the belief that Telecommuting has an inclination to reduce pressures on the environment. It is reasoned that telecommuting would minimize traffic congestion and also reduce the amount of fuel consumption attributed to travelling.

    In a June 2008 report that is conducted by The Climate group on behalf of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), the Telecommuting concept has been probed into for its potential as yet another means to save the Earth. In the research, US and UK, two leader countries in the world, have been selected for case study.

    In US, the percentage of Americans who telecommute in 2005 stood at 1-2%. The report analysed that suppose 3 million Americans chose to telework, there would be reductions in road usage that translate to a drop in fossil fuel consumption, thereby constituting a consequent carbon gas reductions of 75-100 MtCO2e in 2030.

    However, the report also highlighted that the impact of telecommuting would vary according to the number of days each teleworker spends on telecommuting. In UK, although the UK Department of Transport study states that telecommuting by its citizens has resulted in the decline of 48-77% of travelling by car, the report explains that the figures might not necessarily bring about a genuine fall in the amount of carbon gas emitted if each citizen only teleworked less than three days in a week, while the other days are spent in the office.

    Telecommuting was concluded as having the potential to save on the Earth's resources, but the extent to which it is effective would depend largely on its adoption in each country. Even though the impacts at the moment might not be as significant as other measures, telecommuting remains a plausible concept to be further explored and leveraged on to mitigate Climate Change.

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    References

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    1. Yeo,G.K.,Oh,B.B.(2008).ICT and Our Society.(4th Ed.). Singapore:McGraw-Hill.
    2. GeSI.(2008). REPORT:SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age Retrieved on 13 November, 2008 from http://www.gesi.org/index.php?article_id=36