Singapore Learning Trail-Sungei Buloh

Hi all,

Well- from my last post..

“This afternoon I am on a Learning Trail  in a Wetland area Sungei  Buloh up near Malaysia”

I was very near – I could see the coast and the high rises. Maybe the closest I will ever be.

Anyway  Sungei  Buloh up was great.  Like Hort Park we got to use technology in the field.  I will explain more in a later post about how this is all set up – basically these are projects which link schools in partnerships with technology companies to develop activities in what they call here “Learning Trails”. 

After updating my blog I arrived at Suntec to be told we had a long trip.  We one’s definition of long does vary.  I thought oh well off to Bowral or Bathurst.  Well it was only half an hour when we asked.  I joked that was a sort commute for many of us – – got a few chortles. 

During the drive to the west and I suspect north of Singapore I chatted with Enoch  from Jurong as well as Darren the Manager of the government body who  does the work with the learning Trails with the schools. 

 During the drive out and from the wetland we could see Malaysia.  It is an industrial area and also had old unused army barracks.  I laughed at the BMW and Mercedes wrecking yards where there were half cars as spare parts.  I then asked how much cars cost and a Corolla like I have costs S40-50k – lot more that the $21k in Sydney. Petrol was also $1.78.  

At Hort Park we used a HP handheld, this time we used a netbook with this cool handle – see the picture.  This would work really well with students.  Each of the exhibits in the centre and  plaques during the walk had a bar code.  We took the netbook tablets with us and using the camera  (which flipped both ways).  All you had to do was scan the card with the webcam and information would come up about the location you were at – see picture. 

I found it interesting to see why they used different technologies in different locations.  At Hort Park  there are no trees so the GPS have  good access to the satellites.  Amazing how trees can cause so much trouble.  In the wetland there are too many trees so the company in partnership – I will spell out the detail of the organisations in another post-  has set up a wireless network all around the wetland.  I asked how it was done – and took a few photos.  During the walk they have shelters in each shelter they have some solar panels which generate power for the wireless hot spots – quite clever for an isolated and wet area.  

A few other bits of information I found of interest. Yes about real estate.   It costs about 200k for a two bedroom unit.  Levies are paid but the government is responsible for the lifts and painting outside foyers etc.  No strata managers to speak of.    Unit sizes are around 100square metres and you have to own them for 5 years before you can sell them on.  This is because the government subsidises the purchase and selects who lives where.  I remember reading about this during my Masters degree.  There is a belief in a pluralistic society rather than a multicultural society so the government makes sure each community has a mix of Chinese, Malays and Indians etc. 

Just for some objective evaluation.  The HPs at Hort Park were hard to read in the sun.  Also if you clicked too much , like young kids would do, it was difficult to get back to where you needed to be.  In the wetland I felt like Mr Gadget man with my flip camera , camera and phone as well as the netbook.  I asked about  this and they said the netbooks were introduced  in 2007 and received good reviews  from the children who used them but they have plans to go a bit smaller.  In Chinatown the Learning Trails actually use Nokia phones. 

I got back to the hotel and wanted to go for a run.  Yesterday for those who don’t know I did a discovery run for n90 minutes because I got lost.  Today I wanted to be a bit more sensible so I went to the area  along the river and the harbour – very much like Darling Harbour.  Good run for about 50 minutes.  Everywhere I go I see these three huge buildings that are being built which what I can only call a ship on the top joining them together.  It has really got my attention – pretty impressive.  Don’t know what it is called. 

A few have asked me for the link to the Conference  here it is:

Cheers Martin


PS: Only thing of note is that I have to take my glasses on the runs I do so I can read the map to tell me where I am going.  Well the glasses fell out of my pocket.  I found a reasonable pair of glassess in a shop an found a ripper of a pair that fold up.  Now I can put them in my pocket  to see/read when I run.


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