Category: commentary

Use of ICT in Schools Aimed at Enhancing Teaching and Learning

From MOE Media Centre:


Use of ICT in Schools Aimed at Enhancing Teaching and Learning


We refer to the letters by Zhang Chun Yu (“Do Primary and Secondary Schools need Wireless internet”, 14 June), Shen Yu Sheng (“ICT is a double-edged sword; don’t turn love into harm”, 18 June) and Xiao Guo Rong (“Restrictions should be imposed on the use of IT to aid teaching”, 21 June).


MOE invests in ICT to support teaching and learning in schools, to ensure that students are well prepared for the future working environment. The objective of a Standard Operating Environment for Schools, SOE (Schools), is to support the third Masterplan for ICT in education in providing schools with an appropriate ICT infrastructure. It includes replacing obsolete infrastructure such as local and wide area network equipment and servers, and enhancing technical support.


The writers were concerned that wireless connectivity in schools could result in students accessing undesirable content online or be distracted from lessons. MOE ensures that the use of ICT in teaching and learning is done in pedagogically sound and age-appropriate ways.


Wireless access provides a wider learning space beyond the classroom and allows students to learn in a more authentic environment. For example, a teacher could guide students to use wireless mobile devices in a school’s eco-garden for science trails, engage in group discussions and share information found online. The teacher would refer their students to credible sites when conducting their research online. Schools also filter undesirable content from school networks.


MOE has put in place cyber-wellness programmes to educate students on cyber wellness and the safe and responsible use of technology. A recent school-wide effort involves training student ambassadors to lead the promotion of cyber wellness among their peers. Parents also play a crucial role in working with schools to ensure that students adopt the right values and attitude when using technology in school and at home.


Mr Lim Teck Soon

IT Director, Organisation Development Division

Ministry of Education

不爱才是害!

Source: Lianhe Zaobao 18 June 2010

My Facebook response in Chinese:

笔者借鉴教授砸电脑的事件,凸显学生滥用资讯科技。我倒觉得这起事件揭露了时下的课堂教学与孩子在课外的数码生活脱节的现实。其实我们是否也应该想想:大人为什么开会时常被社交媒体科技“干扰”呢?是不是会议无法引起我们的兴趣?还是我们不懂得所谓的开会礼仪?无庸讳言,大家猛开的会议似乎也脱节了。

笔者提到我们可能会步西方国后尘,电脑资讯造成教学弊病,学校将首先成为灾难区。我倒想反问笔者,要是学生在中小学没有机会正确有效地学习及使用科技,难道要等到他们步入社会才学吗?那么灾难区不是将来的社会大学?

笔者也提到孩子缺乏自制能力。与其一律禁止和过滤,不如致力于教导孩子正确的数码公民价值观。如果教学还不迎头赶上孩子的学习需要,恐怕最终吃亏的就是我们的下一代了。

We are less willing to let boys be boys in classrooms

Great read via Get Schooled:

Today’s classroom is better suited for the ways girls learn, says Rao. “When you promote all this assessment and increasing standardization, you narrow the way you are going to teach kids, eclipsing the ways that boys learn better. You go to much less hands-on and manipulation of objects and to more sit down and lectures.”

Is standardized testing unfair for most boys? I guess that’s the main reason boys are often misunderstood as late bloomers.

My take on the 5 K-12 Technology Trends for 2010 by THE Journal

From THE Journal:

With technology evolving at the speed of light, and everyone looking to benefit from the latest, greatest hardware and software, keeping up can be challenging for educators, administrators, and school districts themselves. To help, THE Journal spoke with a handful of technology experts and came up with a short list of top tech trends you’ll want to watch in the new year. Here they are:

  1. eBooks Will Continue to Proliferate
  2. Netbook Functionality Will Grow
  3. More Teachers Will Use Interactive Whiteboards
  4. Personal Devices Will Infiltrate the Classroom
  5. Technology Will Enable Tailored Curricula

Of the 5 trends, I rate 4 and 5 the most important. eBooks might take shape of touch tablets, but I don’t see them impacting classrooms so rapidly. Netbook functionality will grow together with personal devices infiltrating the classroom, with the latter gaining more attention.

Somehow I felt the least convincing trend is the use of IWBs. Though IWBs are really great tools, I still feel they are too expensive and inflexible. However I do expect more teachers wanting to try it out in classrooms because of the hype around it.

I expect personal devices to take classrooms by storm. Despite years of advancement, mobile technology has yet to fully go into classrooms. The use of iPods and mobile phones has been making waves among educators all over the world.

Last but not least, the most important trend should not be a trend in the first place.  Many a times, education technology has been much maligned because of poor integration with curriculum. Technology is not just a tool. It is an enabler of customized curricula.

“She did not know how to type.”

From The Straits Times (21/3/2009):

type1

My thoughts:

1. Primary school pupils must be taught digital literacy right from Primary 1. Kids must know basic keyboarding/touch typing.

2. Baseline ICT standards should have equipped Madam Lim’s daughter with the essential text inputing skills using word processor.

3. Why must project work be submitted as computer printouts? How to justify the need for it?

Hanyu pinyin and technology

From Lianhe Zaobao:

 Photobucket

Highlighted text (translated):

In this era of technology, Hanyu pinyin becomes an important tool for Chinese inputting. My wife, son, daughter and I use Hanyu pinyin to input Chinese. My father who started learning how to use a computer, tried several inputting methods and chosed Hanyu pinyin although he is not familiar with it. Majority of my friends and colleagues also use Hanyu pinyin.

Slideshows 2.0

From ReadWriteWeb,

When it comes to presentations, typical slideshows have gotten a bad reputation for being dull and dry. That doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Thanks to Web 2.0 tools and applications, you can bring pizzazz to your presentations like never before. Whether you’re looking for an “un-slideshow” altogether or just looking to add a little kick to the boring charts and graphs in your PowerPoint, you can find something here that fits your needs as we introduce you to Slideshows 2.0.

Great article on Web 2.0 slideshow tools.

Insights of education technology and Chinese language teaching/learning by Cornelius C. Kubler

Excerpts From Lianhe Zaobao,

…“有关华语语法、发音的说明,课本都有英文翻译,学生可以自己了解,不需要老师在课堂多费唇舌,浪费时间。上课的时间应该用来进行沟通式教学:包括口语、阅读、写字的练习。华人传统说teach是‘教书’,意思是teach the book。过去是这样,现在不应如此。我们现在以学生为中心,上课是‘教学生’,不再是‘教书’。”

担心老师迷恋电脑教学科技

  最近15年,教学科技越来越发达,这本是可喜现象,顾百里却忧心忡忡。他说:“在美国有部分老师爱上电脑,把原来用在备课的时间,用在电脑上,喜欢发展很多新的软件。这些软件部分有用,部分未必有用。我认为,教师应该以学生为重,备课为先。设计一个像样的软件要花上几百几千个小时,我经常建议老师先搞清楚在中国大陆、台湾、香港、新加坡,有没有同行在研发类似的软件,尽可能避免不必要的重复。

  “近年来有很多年轻老师爱上新的科技,很多卡通人物、漫画等等可爱小东西,这些其实都不是太重要,应该紧记一切以教学为重。有好的教学软件,不妨采用,但是不可以盲目跟风。”

My translation:

Traditionally, the literal Chinese meaning of ‘teach’ is ‘teach the book’. Now, in a learner centered environment, teachers should ‘teach learners’ instead of ‘teach the book’.

Kubler is worried of educators getting obsessed with education technology. He said in recent years younger teachers love technology, cartoons, comics and other little cute stuff. In fact, these things are not important. We must remind ourselves teaching and learning come before everything. If there are good educational software, give them a try. However we must not blindly follow suit.

I agree with most of Kubler’s view. In fact Mr 高极登 expressed similar concerns in this article. Both articles are very insightful.

However, since we are talking about learner centeredness, educators must rethink about how learning takes place today. We must also rethink on how technology can add value to teaching Chinese language. Most importantly, we must always keep an open mind on ways to engage students in learning Chinese language, without compromising the quality of teaching and language proficiency of students.