Tech Me to School
What Edumall tech revolution means to parents
You know your IM from iN2015. You have a family blog, and you play Warcraft like a pro (almost). So you think you’re tech-savvy? Your kids are light years ahead, riding on a technological supernova in schools.
All around the island, educational institutions are harnessing the power of IT for everyday tasks like homework, as well as ground-breaking projects.
Take, for instance, Fuhua Primary, which has used Pocket PCs (PDAs or Personal Digital Assistants) and Flashloggers (integrated data logging systems) to promote an inquiry-based approach in the learning of science.
It started with the Primary 5 and 6 cohorts in 2004 and extended it to the Primary 3 and 4 cohorts last year.
The pay-off: it gave pupils more time to plan and design experiments, as well as analyse data.
Meanwhile, pupils at Hong Kah Primary School publish their learning journals online at a blog site (www.multiply.com). “Blogging adds value to the learning process as pupils are captivated by the new form of writing and communication,” says Leslie Lai, the school’s IT head, in an article published on the Ministry of Education’s website.
“Pupils also make use of the online discussion tools that are available on the website to discuss topics posed by the teachers.”
Students in River Valley High, Monks Hill Secondary, Crescent Girls’ and Catholic High have access to tablet PCs so they can study in a digital classroom environment and download information from the Internet wherever they may be. They are part of the BackPack.NET Pilots and Trials initiative (a strategic collaboration between IDA and Microsoft).
And early this year, Anglican High bought 5 SMART Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs) — a tool that combines a projector, computer and whiteboard, and which operates much like a touch-screen device.
Jimmy Tan, the school’s science teacher and IWB coordinator, says this means students are no longer passive learners. “Students are able to learn better and faster. It changes the dynamics of the entire class,” he says.
The future of school
Expect even more changes in the next nine years. In June, the government unveiled Intelligent Nation 2015, or iN2015 — a 10-year, multi-billion dollar infocomm masterplan to transform Singapore into an Intelligent Nation and Global City by 2015.
Its plans for homes and schools include:
- At least 90 per cent of homes will have broadband access (up from 54 per cent now)
- Every household with school-going children, no matter how poor, should have a computer with Internet access.Students will have anytime, anywhere connectivity and access to digital resources
- 15 to 20 per cent of schools will be designated as Experimental Schools, which will try out innovations applications in teaching.
- Another five per cent will be Schools of the Future, leading the technology charge. Does IT work?
But how have parents reacted to the fast-paced changes? “It’s almost like something out of a science fiction novel… at least the ones I read during my childhood days,” laughs Cynthia Tan, a teacher in her 30s and mother of two preschoolers. Rita Tan, on the other hand, was impressed when her son’s Primary 4 form teacher set up a class website last year.”It allowed the students to put in their blogs, and used it to remind them of their daily homework. This also served as a tool for parents to monitor their children’s work and happenings in class,” says the 37-year-old brand manager.Now in Primary 5 at Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School, Randal subscribes to a programme developed by LEAD, which is recommended by the school for supplementary/enrichment purposes. LEAD, or Learning EDvantage is a company that develops and provides e-learning solutions like Digital Textbooks, e-programmes and –syllabuses.”He’s now a more confident learner, particularly since refresher and quick reference materials are also more readily available,” says Rita, who has a younger son aged three.Angela Quek, whose sons are in Primary 3 and 6 at St Andrew’s Junior School, also thinks IT has helped her kids learn. “My children do not really like to read books. But when it’s on the computer, they have no problem reading and searching for more information. My older boy, Mathias, is also able to do simple class presentations using PowerPoint.”During the June and December school holidays, the school will usually give out a ‘Holiday Homework Package’ for every level. It’s usually printed worksheets. But they are required to go to the Internet to search for answers. It keeps them occupied during the holidays.”The statistics bear her out. The Ministry Of Education’s Evaluation of Implementation of Masterplan for IT in Education Report 2001 showed that more than two-thirds of the pupils surveyed agreed that “the use of IT increases their knowledge”.But while technology is fast becoming an intrinsic part of school, it is ultimately only a tool. Rita says, “Honestly, [e-learning] has not had much effect on my son’s academic performance in school. Tuition and assessment books are, by far, still the most effective tools.”Those who will succeed in the 21st century are those who can “learn, unlearn, and relearn”, said futurist Alvin Toffler. To this end, teachers and parents still have an important role to play in developing the ‘heartware’ of the 21st century child – the EQ and CQ factors that determine true winners in life.
Participating Schools in Edumall
1. 芽笼美以美小学 Geylang Methodist Primary
2. 湖滨小学 Lakeside Primary
3. 巴耶利峇美以美女子小学Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ Primary
4. 先驱小学 Pioneer Primary
5. 圣若瑟书院附小 St. Joseph Institution Junior (2008-2013)
6. 裕华小学 Yuhua Primary (2008-2015)
7. 云海中学 Coral Secondary (2008-2013)
8. 青景中学 Green View Secondary (2008-2011)
9. 海星天主教中学 Hai Sing Catholic High (2008-2013)
10.励志中学 Pasir Ris Crest Secondary (2008-2010)
11. 百德小学 Bukit View Primary
12. 大众小学 Dazhong Primary (2009-2012)
13. 联华小学 LianHua Primary (2009-2013)
14. 伊丽莎白公主小学 Princess Elizabeth Primary
15. 孺廊小学 Rulang Primary (2009-2015)
16. 圣安东尼小学 St. Anthony’s Primary (2009-2014)
17. 圣母圣诞圣婴女校 CHIJ Our Lady Of Nativity
18. 海格女校 Haig Girls’ School
19. 柏盛小学 Macpherson Primary
20. 美以美女校 Methodist Girls’ School （Primary ）(2010-2014)
21. 远景小学 North Vista Primary
22. 士林小学 Si Ling Primary
23. 丹绒加东小学 Tanjong Katong Primary (2010-2014)
24. 维新小学 West View Primary (2010-2015)
25. 康岭小学Casuarina Primary (2011-2015)
26. 凤山小学 Fengshan Primary (2011-2015)
27. 工商小学 Gongshang Primary
28. 義安小学 Ngee Ann Primary (2011-2013)
29. 奥匹拉小学 Opera Estate Primary
30. 培英小学 Peiying Primary
31. 新加坡国际学校（香港）Singapore International School (Hong Kong) (2010-2012)
32. 四德女子中学 Cedar Girls’ Secondary (2011-2014)
33. 加东修道院女校 CHIJ Katong Convent Secondary (2011-2014)
34. 裕廊景中学 Jurongville Secondary
35. 圣安东尼女校（中学）St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary (2011-2012)
36. 圣若瑟书院 St Joseph’s Insitution (2011-2012)
37. 淡马锡中学 Temasek Secondary (2011-2014)
38. 永康中学 Yio Chu Kang Secondary (2011-2012)
39. 耘青中学 Yuan Ching Secondary (2011-2015)
40. 尤索夫依萨中学 Yusof Ishak Secondary (2011-2015)
41. 嘉诺撒仁爱会小学 Cannosa Convent Primary (2012-2013)
42. 圣婴女子小学（大芭窑）CHIJ （Toa Payoh）Primary (2012-2013) (2015-)
43. 大智小学 First Toa Payoh Primary
44. 先锋小学 Frontier Primary
45. 蒙福小学 Monfort Junior School (2012-2015)
46. 侨南小学 Qiaonan Primary (2012-2014)
47. 养正小学 Yangzheng Primary
48. 杨厝港小学 Yio Chu Kang Primary
49. 武吉班让政府中学 Bukit Panjang Govt High School (2012-2012)
50. 南华中学 Nan Hua High School (2012-2013)
51. 裕廊西中学 Jurong West Secondary (2012-2014)
52. 协和中学 Unity Secondary
53. 博理小学 Balestier Hill Primary
54. 康培小学 Canberra Primary (2013-2015)
55. 康达小学 Cantonment Primary
56. 圣尼格拉女校 CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School
57. 辅华小学 Fuhua Primary (2013-2015)
58. 新华小学 Northland Primary
59. 北源小学 North Spring Primary (2013-2013)
60. 圣安德烈小学 St Andrew’s Junior School
61. 林景小学 Woodgrove Primary
62. 育智小学 Yew Tee Primary
63. 义顺小学 Yishun Primary
64. 锦文中学 Clementi Town Secondary
65. 蒙福中学 Montfort Secondary (2013-2014)
66. 武吉班让小学 Bukit Panjang Primary (2014-2015)
67. 花菲卫理小学 Fairfield Methodist School (Primary)
68. 丰伟小学 Fernvale Primary
69. 马西岭小学 Marsiling Primary (2014-2015)
70. 美华小学 Mayflower Primary
71. 树群小学 Shunqun Primary (2014-2015)
72. 伟林小学 Wellington Primary (2014-2015)
73. 群立中学 Greenridge Secondary
74. 南华小学 Nan Hua Primary
75. 拉丁马士小学 Radin Mas Primary
76. 聚英小学 Juying Primary
77. 女皇镇小学 Queenstown Primary (2015-2015)
78. 城景小学 Townville Primary (2015-2015)
79. 介民小学 Jiemin Primary
80. 光洋小学 Guangyang Primary (2015-2015)
81. 德林小学 Guangyang Primary (2016-)
Experiments on Chinese Language Teaching in the Information Technology Environment
- A rich repository of multimedia reading resources
- Customisable individual home pages and blogs for teachers and pupils in the programme
- A “billboard” for students to showcase their works
- Functions such as editing, posting comments and rating for peer evaluation