Now don’t switch off because you will want to hear about the school I visited. But first….
The Conference I am attending is called the iCTLT 2010. The first day involved a choice of two from Three Learning Trails organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). This group works with the Singapore Ministry of Education in developing programs integrating in ICT into the schools in Singapore. A selection of schools have been set up with a Technology Partner. I will visit one of these schools in the school visit the Cresent Girls School.By way of background here is what some of the other schools with Technology Partners are doing.
This whole program is called Edvantage Programme: Empowering Learners and engaging minds, through INFOCOMM – Future Schools@Singapore.
- CIVICA Consortium for Jurong Secondary School has developed a Personal , Behavioural, Cognitive and Humanising (PBCH) tool, Maven World where the students have an Avatar called a Maven, 3D Virtual Field Trails and a Content Classification Engine with Smart Search.
- The HP Consortium works with Cresents Girls School which I visited. It espouses a the Holistic development of the students though an integrated teaching and learning platform, a Virtual Global Learning Faculty(VGLF), the use of NextGen interactive books, independent learning through learner centred interactive digital media, experiential learning through 3D Interactive Virtual reality and authentic learning through the use of mobile devices
- The SingTel Consortium works with Canberra Primary School and had 3DHive for online game based learning, the 4D Immersive Lab and Next Generation school life e-portfolio.
- ST Electronics Consortium works with Beacon Primary School. Beacon World has a creative studio for the media and arts programs, the Funky Gallery to showcase artwork, the Live Arena which is a public area where avatars can meet, an Exploratory Laboratory which is a 3D World which simulates scientific scenarios and the interactive I- Max for role plays.
- ST Electronics also is working with the HWA Chong Institution on an e-learning solution which addresses borderless communication linking up learning communities across cultural boundaries.
I can elaborate on each of these projects but will only do so for the school I visited. Let me know if you want more information.
The Cresent’s School Programme to elaborate focuses on empowering the learners through an integrated curriculum , varied assessment through technology and customised , Technology enhanced Teaching and Learning.
- The subject integration is based on themes such as climate, conflict, relationships etc to enable linkages to authentic development in the real world.
- In support of the student centric approach a range of IT assessment tools are used for formative and summative assessment These include Mastery, Adaptive and Diagnostic ( MAD) online assessments for students to gauge their level of mastery and progression.
- T he technology enhanced Teaching and Learning and is achieved through the learning portal, a virtual learning portal and through the use of Instant Messaging, forums, blogs etc…though they don’t use the term Web Tools.
Crescent Girls School Visit – well the rhetoric matched the reality. Very impressive slick presentation (which I got photos of for a later day plus a video) and above all this is an extremely well funded and support school. I would not expect less for a one of the Five Pioneering Schools. I will save my evaluation till later. Let’s just see what it is like we can get beneath the surface later.
There are a 1000 girls and the fees are $26 per month. Very research based in its findings for school results and acknowledges results are good not only because of technology but it is making a difference because they have been through three master plans covering : infrastructure, the teach the teachers skills and finally student self directed learning using the tools.
Just a quick summary of some of the photos. The music and art room is combined. Two monitors the accessories attached to the wall and the white bench is used for drawing artwork and is moved away to reveal a keyboard for music lessons. I did the weather on the Crescent News Channel and watched a 3D Geography lesson. There is a special keyboard for movie making. A round table for video conference for 6 people with the camera in the middle which focuses on the person speaking. There is a charging station for the students – it has a key and they pay to use it. There are LCDs in the playground with information for the students and they can interact with it to get information. The other pictures are self evident.
The question time was quite informative – with the Principal.
- Financial assistance is given to students – did I say they all have laptops- to but their laptops. The assistance is based on their level of income.
- They are working on textbooks in partnership with writers
- Is there any evidence of impacts on performance? Been going for 4 years and results have been better – but not only due to technology necessarily.
- Teacher development – this is well done and I will develop more of this when I get back to school – some very good ideas. One hour allocated in timetable per week plus every 6 months a day in holidays amongst other things.
- Are teacher ICT skills considered in working at school? It is a Govt school so appointments are made but in transfers there can be selection
- Evaluation of Teachers. Lessons observed and other things in place.
- Web Tools including social networking– open access because they can just go out the door for the hot spots. All about education.
- Teachers work hard – how do you support them? Strong culture of teachers being excited about change. Normal pats on the back and internal awards.
- How are 21 Century skills defined? Skills needed to survive in the 21 Century workforce.
- 90% uptake of notebook because it is voluntary. How do you cater for final 10% they can bring their own or use school laptops?