HOW MOE CAN ADAPT

THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION

HOW MOE CAN ADAPT

Singapore and the developed world are undergoing a technological revolution. Many industries are getting disrupted and apps are spawning daily. What does the future of education look like? It is only time before Singapore’s education undergoes a technological revamp.

Education is at the cusp of the next big revolution ever since printed material such as textbooks were first published. Technology will have a great impact on learning. Teachers will utilise technology and students will be constantly learning new technologies. What MOE must do is to utilize technology to realise its educational objectives.

Mobile Apps

With the recent announcement that MOE will be using the PayNow app to distribute its Edusave payments to ITE and Poly students, it is a sign that MOE is open to using mobile apps in the future.

More apps can be used for teaching and handling administrative tasks in schools. Apps can be used to collect school excursion monies, marking attendance in the mornings, doing surveys, collecting feedback and the list goes on. This will help teachers handle administrative tasks but it doesn’t just stop there. Apps can improve the classroom learning experience as well. Teachers can use apps to dispense notes, get students to answer questions, and more. These apps can also be used to monitor the overall performance of a child in sports and CCA.

AI and VR

Artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) are the future. They are also key technologies that MOE can leverage on. With many blue-collared workers being displaced and disrupted by technology, robotics and AI will be at the forefront of this disruption.

Imagine history lessons coming alive in a virtual world. Students can relive or at least “see” what actually happened in history.

Imagine putting on a pair of AR glasses and walking among the DNA strands.

Robots can be used in the school canteens in running the tuckshops and stalls. Schools can cut down on costs on hiring cleaners as it can be done by a robot, or have unmanned vehicles deliver things in the canteen.

Incorporating next-generation technology will inspire students to innovate and reimagine the future.

HOW MOE CAN USE APPS TO ENHANCE TEACHING

DIGITAL CLASSROOM

HOW MOE CAN USE APPS TO ENHANCE TEACHING

We are living in the age of a technological revolution, disruption in technology is rampant. Apps are spawning everywhere. So, how can we enhance our education sector to be at the forefront of this technological change in our lives, how can MOE use apps to enhance teaching?

 

PayNow and Edusave

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Thursday (Jan 18) that it will pilot the use of PayNow this year to disburse Edusave Award funds to Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnic students. In its press release, MOE said the move is in line with Singapore’s efforts to become a Smart Nation. Currently, they would have to visit a bank to deposit their cheque and wait for it to clear before withdrawing the money. It will also send letters to award recipients to let them know which Edusave Award they will be receiving and enclose further instructions on how to sign up for PayNow using their NRIC number.’ – Channel News Asia
It is good that MOE has made use of such apps to ease its administration in Edusave awards. But how can apps enhance the teaching experience?

 

Facilitate classroom discussions

Apps can encourage classroom discussions. For example, if a teacher is explaining a certain math question and he wants everyone to participate in it, an app allows everyone to key in their answers. The teacher can then mark the answers and give explanations, and answer questions that may arise.

Apps ease administration and hence gives the teacher more time to teach. Apps can be used for attendance taking in the mornings and for other administrative tasks. This allows teachers to focus more on teaching.

 

Learning outside classroom

Apps can also be used to facilitate the learning experience after school. For example, teachers can use an app that allows them to monitor homework and if a student has a question at home, he/she can voice it out using such apps. Technology allows one to be in touch everywhere.

MOE should eagerly look into using third-party apps that are already available, or come up with a niche app for themselves. Welcome to teaching and learning in the Brave New World.

EDUCATION AND VALUES: LESSONS FROM JAPAN

EDUCATION AND VALUES LESSONS FROM JAPAN

Singapore has a world-class education system no doubt, but there are lessons to be learnt from many other successful education systems around the world. Japan is one of them. Visit Japan and it’s hard not to be amazed by their polite culture and values. It would be good if our students in Singapore can embrace such values and mindsets.

 

Souji

Souji is a task that all Japanese elementary school students partake. This involves 15 minutes every day cleaning not just their classrooms but corridors and every area of the school. In fact, in many elementary schools in Japan there are no janitors. The students themselves clean windows, empty the trash and even scrub toilets. Why? The students take pride in their school. They want to keep it conducive for everyone. From young, students develop a high level of civic responsibility. Souji has the added benefit of teaching kids to help out in household chores.

 

No Canteen

Japanese schools don’t have canteens. Where do they eat then? In the classrooms of course. Students and teachers eat together in classrooms. Meals are cooked in a kitchen which are then brought to the classrooms by students themselves. They are also given roles and responsibilities. The Japanese believe such exercises make children feel gratitude towards the food that nourishes them. In essence, every kid is taught to appreciate food from young and to never waste a single grain.

 

Students are teachers too

Consider a math lesson in Japan. It starts with the teacher teaching the students how to solve a question first. Then the teacher will check the students answers and students are then asked to check their other students who finish later.

The student simulates the role of a teacher. This method allows the students to apply and re-apply what they have learnt, by explaining to another student how to solve a math problem. This reinforces learning.

LESSONS FROM SCANDINAVIA

HOW THE FINS DO IT

LESSONS FROM SCANDINAVIA

 Finland adopts a holistic approach to education. In other words, the country does not prioritise academic excellence above all else – yet they achieved excellent PISA scores. They have free meals in schools, free healthcare, and counselling. What can Singapore, as an education hub, learn from Finland?

 

Individual-based learning

Finland revamped its curriculum in 2014. The Finnish education ministry first gives the overview of their national core curriculum. This is then broken down into municipal levels. This is then pushed to schools to develop their own learning styles.

Much of Finland’s education in schools focuses on skills-based learning. The Finnish are taught not what to learn but how to learn, how to acquire skills and knowledge. Their teachers focus more on students’ individual learning characteristics. The students are not really expected to memorize facts from a textbook.

 

Play

According to Heikki Happonen, Head of the University of Eastern Finland’s teacher training lab, children’s brains work better when they are on the move. Finnish children learn through playing games up to the age of seven. When they are in primary schools, they get 15 minutes of play for every hour in schools.

 

Cutting down on national exams

Finnish students take only one standardised test at age 16.

 

Teaching

Teachers are of a high quality in Finland. Their teachers are required to at least possess a master’s degree to teach in primary schools.

 

Schools designed for students

There are many conducive common areas in schools for students to hang out. Classroom have bright colours and lighting everywhere. This makes students more comfortable in classrooms and common spaces, and encourages healthy interaction between students. School, for these kids, is a second home.

SHOULD P1 ADMISSION POLICY BE REVAMPED?

SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR

SHOULD P1 ADMISSION POLICY BE REVAMPED?

A recent Singapore newspaper reported this:

In his two years as a property agent, Mr Sylvester Lee was asked by at least half a dozen parents if they could pay to use a false address in order to enrol their children in a school of their choice.

He told them “no” every time.

 

Selection by address

“Their intention is to lease a place for the school to check. They were willing to pay a lot of money just for the address,” Mr Lee, 39, told The New Paper on Monday (Jan 29)’- The Straits Times

With such incidents rising from time to time where primary schools find out that these parents use a fake address to get into primary schools, is this a sign that the primary one policy needs to be revamped?

According to the Ministry of Education, MOE, there are three registration procedures for entry to primary schools. Phase 1 is for students who have an older sibling studying at their primary school of choice. Phase 2 (consisting of Phase 2A (1), 2A (2), 2B, 2C) is for students who have parents or siblings that are alumni of the school of choice or parents who have served in voluntary positions to the school of choice (parent volunteers, active community leaders). Phase 3 is for students who are neither Singapore Citizens nor Permanent Residents.

 

The myth of “top” schools

Before we address the need for a review, parents must note that there is no such thing as a ‘top’ or ‘neighbourhood’ primary school. Parents must understand that Singapore’s standard of education at the primary school level is relatively balanced and uniform.

Although some schools might have more students doing well in the PSLE, this is not always indicative of the quality of the schools’ education. In a nutshell, it is simply erroneous to assume that if a child enters a better primary school he is bound to do better, or that he will flounder in secondary school if he comes from a neighbourhood primary school.

Should we eliminate the system that favours the alumni of a primary school over one’s physical proximity to the school? Would a balloting system be fairer? Food for thought for MOE and other relevant authorities, who have done an excellent job putting Singapore’s brand of education on the world map.