Sights on MTE 2007

M²cFrog, CiliSoS.

Sorry! Neither of them is related to the new sets by McDonald.

These are newly coined models, designed and pilot tested by F, and her researcher, BY.These are models of learning which are exhibited in the recent technology expo, Malaysia Technology Expo 2007. Venue of this event is PWTC, Kuala Lumpur for three days (29 March–31 March 2007)  Yours truly has volunteered to help BY during the three days event. I see this as an opportunity to see something out of my little glass box.

There were preparations, unpredicted last minute hiccups and “just-in-time” Eureka’s’ before the day of the exhibition. Fortunately, and unfortunately, these scenarios also occurred during the three-day exhibition.

I am going to give a much-detailed explanation for DAY1. Reason..you will find it at the end.

Thursday, 30 March 2007 0930

Booth 44, 45, Hall 3, PWTC

I managed to reach PWTC before the judges did their rounds.

Previously before PWTC…I was supposed to reach early (got up at 0700) but there was a hiccup in the colour printed brochure for the judges. Some words were not properly aligned when the document was opened in another PC. There was a frantic moment as my laptop was not able to detect the USB cable for the printer.  All the possible calculated methods to solve the problem from restarting the PC before plugging in the USB cable, switching off the printer when plugged in the USB cable before restarting the PC, and doing it four times. Time was running. Time waits for no woman.

Eureka! I have totally forgotten that I have a friend working at PWTC. E was a life saver even though E was only able to print out 2 sets of coloured brochures and the other 2 in BW. (E, I owe you LUNCH. Sorry, I was not able to lunch with you the next day.)  

Lesson No.1: I do not recommend JIT if you do not know how to use it….TBK- Just In Time To BE Killed.

Lesson No.2: Some solutions are meant to be simple.

Back at Booth 44-45

Security was real “tight” at the entrance.  I was on my cell when the guard mentioned something about using cell. As usual, I was piqued. Then, I had to explain I am exhibiting something for UM. Yup, that actually came out from my mouth. What the heck! I need to get in. By the way, I have not obtained the ID tag. Repercussion or consequences of what I said that time meant little to me. I am already worried about the setting up of my laptop etc. etc. etc. Anyway, locating the booth was easy. I saw W in green, waving. Then, I saw the whole team H, A, and BY. Finally, I got my tag. Exhibitor cum assistant. I wrote the name as printed name-tag was not provided.

tag 

The booths were interestingly arranged.  Two blue framed posters, one on M²cFrog (booth 45), while the other on CiliSoS (booth 44). Each had a yellow spot light signifying the focus

44
 

45

 

Two adjoining short-length table covered with black cloth was directly positioned beneath the frames.  Next, BY’s laptop was one of the main items for DAY 01 as we would be telecasting live to-fro little house, Nebraska, US. There would be video-conferencing with F. My laptop was for PowerPoint displays. Students’ products including logbooks, CVs, and final project-products were on the shelves. Smart Board was also another media used to facilitate our exhibits.

H was our video person. A, W and I were the explainers.  BY was the chief explainer. If there was anything that we could not answer, we pass to BY (final resort). The judges started making their rounds at 0930. They went to UM first and second booth but later bypassed out booth. This meant that our turn was much later because we were booth 44-45. Looooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggg way to go. We were busy calculating when it will be our turn. Would F be staying up for 4-5 hours? Would F be taking coffee breaks? Would BY be agitated for long? Can I have my lunch? W had to do some recon.

Which judge was the most difficult? What were their backgrounds? What were they looking for? W came back with another piece of info. There were more than 1 group of judges. In fact, there were four.  So, which group was coming to our booth? More recon was needed. W and I went. I had to find other exhibits with similar theme. First booth (from the same university) was the Courseware for Standard Four students.

The exhibit was ok. Basically, the tools offered for this product were similar of other courseware in the market. Colourful and cutesy graphics with the right tone of colour which may attract Standard Four kids. The product was bilingual-Bahasa Malaysia, and English. The teacher would be able to compile the students’ marks for each activity as a form of assessment of the student’s performance. In addition, there will be a bar chart to illustrate the students’ performance. I did asked the “exhibitor” of whether was there any comparison or study done on other courseware. The answer was “We compared with the syllabus of the Standard Four.” Puzzled. I rephrased the question. It sounded like “Did you see the courseware produced the Ministry of Education?” The reply was “no”. Interesting! My thoughts reserved. I didn’t want to pursue any more questions as time is essence. By the way, the exhibit had been judged. Questions asked such as “how good is your product?” and “what can your product contribute?” etc. etc. etc.

Next recon was a product by another public university. The product aimed to centralize all group activities. It can be used by all types of people including the family.  It also tracked the development of the group, and the activeness of each member in that group. It further acted as a diary. Initially, I thought it as something similar to the knowledge management centre but nope. I had more questions to ask like which product it was compared to, any differences with other similar online services, what was the benchmark, etc. etc. etc. Beside, I didn’t get to read the literature review. Time was essence. Anyway, the booth was not judged yet.

After recon-ing, W and I met up and went shopping. Items grabbed were paper bags (good quality ones) and compilation of research books from some universities. Both items were F.O.C. I found out that there are 2 recent (early this year) newly promoted public universities: University Malaysia Pahang, and University Malaysia Terengganu.

All right. Back to Booth 44-45. Judges were not there yet.Waited.Scanned for any moving J within the radar.Waited.

Finally, a group of three judges stopped at our booth. Let me label them:  FJ1, FJ2, and MJ1. This group was judging only 1 exhibit which was M²cFrog. They did not want to hear anything not even the slightest mention of the word CiliSoS. BY and F explained. FJ1 and FJ2 had the look of unimpressed. Both of these judges didn’t ask any questions. On the other hand, MJ1 was complaining about the file. This was because the judges had many things to carry. It was not just only their score sheet, but also brochures picked up from other judged booths. BY had too realigned the Smart Board several times. We hadn’t expected that. MJ1 had some questions. He did asked were the logbooks and CDs end products. Then MJ1 asked whether the other two judges understood. They said fine, thanked BY and F and left. By the way, we had to take the file from the judges for the next group.  

The next group of judges came. The target was CiliSoS. Let me label them again: FJ3, FJ4, and MJ2. This time around, the judges stated what they were looking for. MJ2 clearly listed what they want to hear. Explanation should be done in six minutes. Of course, the explanation went a bit more than 6 minutes. MJ2 was asking questions like what form does the exhibit come in, where is the proof on the effectiveness, how long does it take for the product to be marketed etc. etc. etc. BY entertained FJ3 and FJ4. Before the judges left, FJ3 commented on the product.Finally the worst is over.

Finally I can disappear for lunch. It was almost 1pm. That is past my lunch time.

All right, that is the only day I write 70% in detailed. I have self-censored some of the contents. This is because I am not sure how the other readers will react to the explicit details. Anyway, I am also bored reading what I have written. Hence, this is to cut things short. The rest of the other days, I will leave to your imagination based on my summary and the uploaded photos.

(Refer to this link for photos taken on DAY3 http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/nhzher/album?.dir=b6b0scd&.src=ph )

Learning curve.

As I have mentioned earlier, this is my first time ever participating in a national exhibition. I had fun going through all the three days.I have witnessed how L worked, plus H and the rest of the team (before and during the exhibition)This time around L did it without the direct-lecturer-behind-your-back-looking-at-you situation. L did pull of a great work. Yes, L will say (after reading or hearing this) “I couldn’t do it without all of you.”  Its true that we pulled this together, but without L prior experience which led to something call benchmarking, I doubt the exhibition will move on smoothly. On each day, there will be something new from L. On each day, there will be something to improve the previous situation. An example of Just-In-Time and bench-marking. 

Visitors

There were visitors but not many compared to last year (of what I heard).Some of the visitors came from other exhibition-event. There were three at the same time at PWTC: NatPro 07, MRSM study fair and MTE 07. VIsitors who dropped by at our booth were very fascinated with the SMARTBOARD – SB (though that is not our main item)  and also not forgetting our SYSTEM OF LEARNING. The kids, especially, loved to play with SB. After all, this is not the usual chalk and duster SM.

Exhibitors

I realised all the participating universities are public universities. There wasn’t any private university or even private university college in sight. I wonder why.

The exhibit was done in clusters / group. For e.g, there is UM group, UTM group, UiTM group, UKM group etc etc etc. Easier to identify since it is categorized in such a way. It was even easier to identify as there are also different colours for each group. THe colours were part of the university logo.

By the way, the first day is the most “gala-est” day. Second day, I don’t see some of the exhibitors in action. Some even come late and left early. But on the third day, situation is almost similar to DAY1 minus the free compiled research book.

Finalle 

No doubt, it was an “interesting” experience being behind the scenes. By the way, our booth didn’t win any gold or silver of bronze medals but it did win an award for the best customer service (an award given by yours truly. GRIN). Believe me, we did have customers wanting to forge relationship with the product.

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