SINGAPORE: Educators must harness the possibilities that technology brings to teaching and learning, to help the young navigate the future and become responsible digital learners, said Acting Education Minister for Schools Ng Chee Meng on Wednesday (Mar 30).
Speaking at the 5th International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology, Mr Ng added that despite the strong foundation, there is a need to sharpen and deepen ICT efforts in education as “technology is at the fore of change”.
Mr Ng also pointed out that technology can be harnessed meaningfully, as well as facilitate creative thinking, collaboration and the development of ideas.
He said: “We will continue to build our educators' capacity in the appropriate and meaningful use of technology for teaching and learning. Teachers are encouraged to design different learning experiences for their students by harnessing the possibilities from technology.
“This helps teachers to design the lessons that are most appropriate for their profile of students. The lessons are also designed to best achieve the learning outcomes in terms of subject mastery and the 21st century competencies."
"The aim is for technology to be seamlessly embedded into the classroom for student-centric learning," he added. "School leaders are vital in this as they build the culture for meaningful technology in their schools."
PROMOTING INNOVATIONS IN LEARNING
Mr Ng said the Education Ministry and the National Institute of Education have already started the eduLab programme, which aims to promote innovations in learning and teaching with technology.
In recent years, more schools have been coming up with their own ICT innovations to help students learn better.
To date, 44 projects, involving teachers from 111 schools have been implemented. This is up from four innovations, involving about 30 schools, in 2011.
Among the projects introduced is wRiteFormula, a mobile gaming app that hopes to help students come up with formulas for chemical compounds. The app will allow students to test their knowledge in an engaging manner and learn from their mistakes immediately.
"Chemistry students often struggle with formula writing because it is quite arduous and they often resort to memorising," said Mr Zachary Kang, a chemistry teacher at Raffles Institution. "So my team and I decided to come up with a mobile app game, so it can help with revision and strengthening of concepts."
The app is currently being used in more than 40 schools. Typically, such innovations are first piloted in some schools before they are opened up for more schools to take up and for their teachers to be trained.
(Photo: Hetty Musfirah)
Mr Ng noted that even as educators must stay relevant and keep up technology, “values remain at the core of education” and the young must become “responsible digital learners”.
He said: “Even as our students tap into the many possibilities offered in the online space, they need to know and demonstrate behaviour online responsibly. Our students also need to be fluent in new media literacies as they navigate the digital world.”
He added that a toolkit on new media literacies will be made available to schools and cyber wellness education will also be strengthened. The conference brings together 1,700 delegates from more than 20 countries who will share their insights and practices in the field of educational technology.