Tagged: Singapore

iCTLT 2010!

Last year when I received the news that my army reservist clashing with iCTLT 2010, I was really disappointed. Edtech has advanced much over the past 2 years (the last iCTLT was held in 2008) and I look forward seeing and hearing educators all over the world sharing their edtech adventures. Now I can only pin my hopes on my Google Reader, Twitter (also check out hashtag #ICTLT2010) and the Official iCTLT homepage.

To all educators who will be attending iCTLT 2010, have fun advancing learning with ICT: Innovate Collaborate Transform! To overseas educators, enjoy your stay in Singapore and do give a shout-out to me here or Twitter! 😀

New Interactive Learning Trail in Chinatown Makes Learning of Chinese Language and Heritage Engaging for our Students

From MOE Press Releases:

A new wireless interactive learning trail at Chinatown will offer students a fun, authentic way to learn about Chinese Language and culture. Through the use of specially programmed mobile phones, students can participate in activities at seven designated wireless-enabled hotspots along the trail to learn more about Chinatown’s heritage.

Looks like a great learning trail using mobile devices. However it’s only for secondary school students.

Update: Channel News Asia report

Review of Teaching of Mother Tongue Languages

From Minister Speech in the 12th Principals’ Appointment Ceremony:

Here’s are excerpts of the speech touching on upcoming changes in Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) teaching:

“…today, nearly 6 in 10 Primary 1 Chinese students come from households where English is the dominant home language, compared to 1 in 10 in 1982. For Indians it has increased from 3 in 10 to 6 in 10; Malays—0.5 in 10 to 3.5 in 10. For MTL, we cannot expect the same outcomes or teach the same way as we have before, when the speaking environment in homes today, indeed in society, is radically different compared to that 20 years ago, or even a decade ago.”

“…a review to make the teaching of CL more engaging and useful, to keep pace with our changing language environment. Basically, we will need more and differentiated approaches to cater to students with a wider band of language abilities and home backgrounds.”

“…we will have to re-calibrate our expectations and teaching methods to keep CL alive and useful for them. Our aim is to emphasise and teach CL for students as a live language they can use, in the modes which they are likely to use. We will have to update our curriculum, teaching methods and even tests to keep in tandem with changes in our society. We do want to make the learning of CL more engaging and fun, but students will still have to make the effort to learn CL.”

“…we will continue the emphasis in speaking and listening, to make the learning of CL more relevant and useful for students…We will increase further the oracy component but details will be announced in due course, with adequate time for students to prepare well. Third, we will use more info-communications technologies platforms to help students learn and write the language. ICT tools are widely available and indeed what people use through emails or SMS-es to communicate in daily life and work.”

“…As with all subjects, we must align teaching methods, curriculum and testing formats to achieve the right outcomes for CL…we are interested in these other systems as they are more tailored for students with home language environments that approximate a growing segment of our students. Their end points have a different emphasis—less focused on writing components but more targeted to help students use the language and build confidence progressively—a goal we share.”

“…We are likely to evolve our own model, by integrating the most appropriate features we find in good teaching systems around the world.”

“…These changes re-affirm our bilingual policy. We are responding decisively to on-going trends and preparing our students for their future. We will not get stuck in any mental mould or system even when they have become less effective or relevant in changed circumstances. Instead, we must remain open to new ideas, methods and tools that are available to more effectively help all our students with different abilities learn CL. We want to engage all our students, help them become proficient in using the language—to converse and read in everyday contexts.”

“…The upcoming changes will require some re-training, but these changes will be introduced over time, to minimise disruptions. I want to commend our CL teachers who have responded positively in the past to change. They recognised the need to adapt to changing circumstances with the interests of our students at heart.”

This is one of the most important speeches delivered by Minister about Mother Tongue (Chinese) language teaching. Exciting times ahead 😉

Technology has made it a totally different experience for a person to read, learn and work with the Chinese language

From Channel News Asia:

Technology has also made it a totally different experience for a person to read, learn and work with the Chinese language.

Mr Lee (Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) said: “In China now, everybody uses computer inputs one way or other. The young people are working on keyboards so much that when they have to write the characters, they do not remember how to produce them.”

Communication styles too are changing, with more people using email and SMS.

Prime Minister Lee said: “There are all sorts of strange abbreviations. I was exchanging messages with a young person in Chinese and the person typed ‘3488’. So I asked, what on earth is ‘3488’ (‘暂时拜拜’)?

“There are all sorts of other abbreviations and synonyms which have become part of the lingo. If you stick to the traditional formal language teaching, you are not going to teach people that, you are not going to use that, and students are going to learn a very formal language. But that is not what they will often encounter in real life.”

Mr Lee said testing methods will also need to change.

“So, in an exam, you can bring an electronic dictionary along and ideally, everybody should have a keyboard and should type and write on the keyboard rather than have the burden of struggling with the mechanics of memorising and writing characters by hand,” he said.

 

My reflections:

1. Yes. Technology has changed it all. The challenge now is to use technology to teach and learn Chinese language effectively.

2. Email and SMS are two huge communication tools. That brings us to highly debated use of mobile phones/devices for learning in classrooms again. We must not forget the other 2 big communication tools – Instant Messaging (IM) and SNS (Social Networking Sites).

3. Does that mean we can look forward to alternative assessment with the use of computers in Chinese language tests and examinations?

At this school, it’s okay to ‘tweet’ in class

Great news article from The Straits Times, 6 November 2009.

This is exactly how technology should be used to improve education – “it’s okay to ‘tweet’ in class”

Congratulations to Ngee Ann Secondary School for becoming one of the 30 “Microsoft Pathfinder Schools” worldwide.

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Link to Microsoft Partners in Learning.

Baseline ICT Standards (Singapore): Where is Web 2.0 for Primary level?

This afternoon I attended a briefing at MOE HQ on Pupils’ Attainment of Baseline ICT Standards. The highlight of the briefing was the demonstration of the Online Assessment Tool which is task based and automated. Pretty impressive stuff.

However what made me a little upset was the glaring absence of Web 2.0 for Primary level Skills areas in the revised standards.

Frankly, I was quite puzzled by this first ICT Focus:

Pupils will use the Internet for email and searches.

and this Skills Area:

Learning with Communication Tools: Online Communication: Send a message. Send an attachment.

While Secondary and Tertiary levels placed some emphasis on Web 2.0, I can’t say the same for Primary level (except for the brief mention of ‘Digital portfolio’ and ‘blog’ as ‘Suggested Evidence’).

I can’t help but ask myself: Is Web 2.0 deemed too early for Primary level?

I will probably slap myself first if the answer is a yes.

As what Deputy Director. Professional Development & Consultancy, Mr. Sin Kim Ho pointed out, the Baseline Standards will be evolving.

I guess evolving is just too slow. It needs an immediate transformation.

Note: Primary level pupils in Singapore are between 7 years old (Primary 1) to 12 years old (Primary 6).