Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trip to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on 18 August 2007

  • 8.30 am: Arrived at Visitor's Centre
  • 9.30 am: Introduction to the Programme of the day
  • 10.00 am: Participants each oriented to the use of equipment for the online trail.
  • Each was issued with a minicomputer and a webcam.
  • The screen can be swiveled back and the unit can be treated like a tablet. When flattened (with screen and keyboard), its size is almost equivalent to the tablet (when folded).
  • The minicomputer came with a touch-screen and knobs beside the screen to scroll the screen.
    The webcame is clipped to the screen so that it can capture the barcode.
  • The Mangrove Boardwalk area has the wireless internet access set-up.
  • Objective of the activity:
  • Participants to go on an online trail to discover and learn about the species of plants and animals around the park.
  • Along the boardwalk, spot the bar code found along the way.
  • By scanning the bar code placed at a location, a webpage containing information about the species will be launched. The participant can read and learn about the species.
  • In some of the pages, participants are to download a word document where participants can do some recording (eg. location, description of species, reflection).
  • One of the activity requires participant to activate a paint program to complete a diagram. This diagram shows the lower half (ie. the roots) of a mangrove species. Why the roots are given? 'cos each type of the mangrove can be distinguished through the unique look of the roots.
  • In some pages, there are multiple choice questions to check participants' understanding. However, it was noted that there's no 'tracking' feature as it's "not meant to be a test".
  • A short video clip is embedded in the last page of the series of webpages (#41).
  • It took a while to scan the barcode because of the reflection from the plastic shield.
  • 10.15 am: It's time to go out for the trail!!! Oops! It started raining! In the end... we still tried, but within the visitor's centre.
  • 11.30 am: Sharing by 5 Students from Krangji Secondary
  • Students shared their experience in the collaboration that lasted for about 6 months.
  • In the collaboration, pupils visited the park several times to collect data such as photos, video clips and audio - which contributed to the content development of the website. To do these, they used data collection tools such as digital (video) camera. Part of the research also required them to interview visitors.
  • Back in the school, they organise the data and piece the information together. They also wrote the scripts to narrate the information of the species of plants/animals they came across via podcasting. In fact, from their talk and sharing, it's obvious they have gained valuable experience from this collaboration - not only having a deeper understanding of nature, but also soft-skills and confidence.
  • {side note: during the presentation, it's very obvious that they got very strong support and lots of encouragement from their accompanying teacher}
  • 11.45 am: Sharing by Ms Serene Wong of Punggol Secondary (Geography Investigative activity). Serene participated in the workshop (by CPDD) whereby participants learn about the different aspects of nature (related to geography) with technology. She shared about her class' experience in the learning activity.
  • There are about 35 pupils in this class. Pupils were divided into 2 groups, each group facilitated by 2 teachers. It took about 3 hours to complete 2 activities.
  • To manage the activity with the available resources, group A does the field experiment near the river while group B did the other at teh Aerie Tower.
  • Group A: At the river area, pupils took samples of the water and use data loggers to investigate the water quality. They measure the pH values, turbidity, oxgyen level, nitrate concentration, etc. of the water samples. These data were captured and transferred to the PDA. Pupils then did the necessary analysis, as tasked.
  • Group B: At the Aerie Tower, pupils got the paranomic view of the reserve - where they looked at the various species available. They used the digital videocam to capture teh
  • These activities are anchored on Inquiry-based learning. The park provides the authentic learning environment where pupils asked to investigate and based on the findings to recommend (or not), in response to a proposal to build an Integrated Resort at the Park.
  • My thought: Though it's came across as a Geography activity, I would see more of the Science in it... moreover it has illustrates how the various ICT tools are put into good use to support the learning... not forgetting the last part - where pupils put up their findings in the blog! There it goes... Tools include - Dataloggers, Digital (video) camera, Sound recorder, Blog... Skills include - Multimedia, online communication tool, handling and transferring data from data collection tools to other platform, investigation...
Some thoughts over the activity we did in the morning...
  • The purpose of scanning the bar code: To read/hear the information from the website loaded. I just wonder the value of scanning? Just to unload the relevant page? Hm... I still doubt that technology has really put to good use here? Probably, to the user, it's a novelty... it added mystery and 'excitment' to the participant initially {why I quote excitement? 'cos what's the difference between having a 'digital map' on the web where the participant could follow the map, click at the hotspot/hyperlink , as compared to activating the next webpage using a bar code?}
  • The hardware: Find much difficulty to click with my fat finger on the touch screen. Still prefer the stylus. So much easier! The application has not designed to support the screen size. We could not even move the dialog box to enter our response.
  • Overlaps: In fact, after today's session, it reaffirms that there are some many common things we can find between Science and Geography (in some topics)! We should look out on opportunities that might be originally initiated from the individual subject and see how best we can leverge on each other to bring about more integrated and synergised learning experience. In fact, I could see some overlaps in our "Field trip" workshop with the one shared by Serene. Perhaps, we should extend the antenna and what are things or existing practices that we can tap on or broaden our awareness, hence sharpen what we can offer to keep ourselves ahead of others?

The bar code without bars?
The scanner recognises the information through the white-black patterns.
Each bar code sticker is unique
On scanning, the system is able to activate the new webpage that shows the information


I see rectangle? I see parallelogram? I see triangle?
I see a 'big house' without bird?
Flowers at the entrance to the Visitor Centre

The residential 'monitor lizard' that once in a while moves around the Visitor Centre.

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