Saturday, August 30, 2008

National Education (III) Challenges Ahead

  • Welcome & execute change
  • Be alert to and ready for changes > Scenario Planning

Foundational Pillars of the PS21 Movement:

Scenario planning is strategic planning.... scenarios are stories about the future. In telling this story, we examine the forces that are at play today and how they might influence the future.

10 driving forces
- definite trends [3]
- critical uncertainity [7]

Definite trends:
(i) Increasing complexity, increasing instability = mobile technology; accessibility to information
(ii) Aging Population: We are living longer however our population is shrinking
(iii) Physical realities

Critical uncertainties:
(iv) Who's in power?
(v) What will be our social structures and values? (eg. "Is it a family to go home to" or "success and wealth at all costs"?)
(vi) Can the planet continue to support our needs?
(vii) How will technology shape the future?
(viii) Who am I? (People being closer through globalisation & technology)
(ix) How do we trade?
(x) What will future governments look like?

National Education (II) Principles of Governance (PoG)

Singapore is well-known internationally for its:

  • Efficiency
  • Rule of Law
  • Lack of Corruption

The system of governance is based on circumstances & change

ie. Challenge = Circumstances + Change

Our circumstances, in a way, are situations arises

  • Limitations: Lack of size & natural resources and therefore rely on others (from basics to economic growth - ie. investments)
  • Multi-racial make-up: Being balance & open - stem undesireable influences that could undermine our social fabric
  • How it impact us... we have to look for innovative ways to overcome our constraints & be adaptive to changes quickly.
  • How we respond... being reliable and useful to others
  • High standards; Pragmatism and no-nonsense

The changes we face...

  • Globalisation: Goods & Services
  • Shifting socio-demographics within the state (can led to new divisions in society)
  • Singapore's role as a service provider, facilitator adn catalyst
  • To survive these, we have to (i) Produce new ideas (ii) Preserve our core values (iii) Keep our role relevant

9 Government Imperatives for successful governance in Singapore context

  • Good & proactive leadersip: ensure national interest is protected
  • High standards of Government: ensure that public trust is maintained
  • Optimise our resources & ability: compensate our shortcomings (ie. what we lack)
  • Greater Ingenuity: when dealing with challenges
  • International space: compensate for our lack of hinterland
  • Adapt to stay relevant: especially in this fast changing world
  • Safeguard values & identity: to maintain our distinctiveness
  • Greater sense of belonging: for rootedness to preserve our core values & identity
  • Continuous self-review: re-examine our role to remain relevant

These imperatives determine our principles:

  • Leadership is key: Eschew corruption; Do what is right, not what is popular; Be pragmatic; Provide long-term vision (PS21, S21, Remaking Singapore, Top-down Leadership)
  • Reward for Work; work for reward: Self-reliance, not welfare; Meritocracy for best use of talent (Education & training)
  • A stake for everyone, opportunities for all: Singapore a global city & choice home; Promote collective responsibility; Beyond physcial stakes; Preserve our values & identity (importance & availability of mass education; mixed housing policies (racial quota scheme); tangible assets & heartware)
  • Anticipate change, stay relevant: Stay nimble & flexible; Be better organised than our competitors; Exploit opportunities even in adversity; Turn constraints into advantages

As Singapore enters its new phase of development, what is important is our ability to:

  • Look at issues from afresh
  • Think "out of the box"
  • Pursue ideas with vigour

Other points:

People with moral courage and integrity to acknowledge and correct past mistakes, recognise when an existing policy outlived its usefulness and has to be discarded or changed.

National Education (I) Economic Competition

Key points from the online module:

Economic Competitiveness
  • changes over time... as the economic power of the neighouring countries (esp. those in Asia) rises
  • for survival, 3 key areas: Globalised Economy, Diversified Economy, A creative and entrepreneurial nation

Key principles:

  • prudent macroeconomic policies (ie. fiscal spending: disciplined)
  • outward orientation (ie. globalisation)
  • conducive environment (ie. stability and just)
  • infrastructure: efficient & well-connected
  • education and training
  • eschew welfarism

5 key thrusts (ERC):

  • Expand external ties - through trade liberalisation (eg. FTA)
  • Manage competitiveness and flexibility - from direct to indirect taxes; land & rentals, electricity, telecommunications, manpower (eg. wages, CPF)
  • Grow domestic enterprises and encourage entrepreneurship - (i) Enterprise continuum (ii) Enhanced Cluster Development (iii) Intellectual Capital (iv) Human Capital (v) Expanded Regionalisation
  • Promote engines of Growth - manufacturing and services
  • Develop human capital

Basically, Singapore relies on manufacturing and services for growth.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Teachers’ Mass Lecture 2008: Pushing Boundaries: Culture and Space

Sometimes, it's pretty interesting to hear from professionals from a diferent field... often, it offers a couple of useful triggers to our minds... to reflect/think through what we've been into most of the time...

Pleasantly surprised, Dr Liu's style of presentation was so 'similar' to those that we (have always been advised to) practise - Agenda and point by point.... so systematic and easy to follow :D hahaha... (wish that the set of slides is available to us...)

Here are some points that I managed to scribble...

(i) He started off presenting the background... the changes that Singapore has gone through over the years, from its humble beginning to progress and to the challenges we face today.

- Singapore has limited space: It has a small population though... It has no hinterland (true! where got extra land? almost every inch has been used...)... It is a single city country... and for survival, we compete internationally!

(ii) Singapor is high in the Global structure... as in the word "Singapore" is a brand name (Wah! It's the rubber stamp of quality... True true... that's why am wary the need to fly the Singapore flag well when overseas... people have certain expectation when they know we are from Singapore!)... Singaporeans are well-respected... and we have the ability to achieve beyond limitations so far...

(iii) To push the boundary will mean... having to work on 2 types of spaces - Physical as well as mental spaces. Physcial boundaries is obvious.... (we can expand our venture from nearby countries to teh various continents)... the least manageable one is the psychological aspect - having a realistic perspective... and that comes with 'digested and processed knowledge and experiences' from travels, arts, etc...
(iv) Culture is a rather 'individual' thing... one's personal upbringing matters! One's exposure to art, etc.. plays a part in it...

2 things...

(a) From a golden cage to a wild jungle

That somehow describes the mentality (and behaviour) of the generation(s) we have now in our society... which is a result of our high efficiency and productivity... when we found "the formula" and stopped thinking beyond... to some extent being complacent with what we have... of course, the 2nd half of the line is really a test to us... to survive in an unprotected environment, especially when competiting with the rest of the world... the mindset and behaviour others... So, has our system done us unjustice?

(b) Ruleless Competition with Integrity

That brings our another point - our integrity... and accountability, social responsibility - are we equipped with the set of desired values that enable us to compete with the world out there without comprising integrity?

New things I hear...
Gallup Path (Jim Clifton)
Click HERE to read more about "Gallup Path"
Illustrating Singapore's situation in a Gallup Path...

Efficiency leads to mutation of system... when people ust behave like "a creature of the system" (equivalent to a mindless part of a big machine)... one works more for rule and less (or rather) for purpose of goodness.

Hobson's Choice
Click HERE to read what's Hobson's choice
He reiterated that, for survival, there is no choice but to face the fierce global competition - and he stressed that Arts & Culture cultivates that kind of passion desired in the new environment.

How it works...
Arts & Culture > Imagination > Passion > Can do > Innovation > Economics

He reminded all that... Look Not at others' Weaknesses but Strengths

Innovation = Science & Technology + Design & Art

Other points...

  • Education as Catalyst: Not only aim high, but be aware of the weak segment
  • Character: Inner strength, mental stamina, will power
  • Competency: Employment readiness, intellectual depth
  • Creativity: Curious, Critical; Imaginative, passionate

Creative Education Approach

  • Maths: Logical Thinking
  • Humanities: Expands minds and experiences
  • Art: Creativity & imagination
  • Sports: Competitiveness & team spirit

While we can buy technology, arts & culture needs to be home grown (which has to be uniquely Singapore - that's our identity).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

22 August: ETD Divisional Gathering

This year's Divisional Gathering is packed with 3 activities, the Amazing Race, the CIP activity & the Farewell of DET.

The Amazing race was pretty fun... First of all, the combination is refreshing! Hey, looking at my team, I'm the only one from the PDC branch while the rest came from different sections in TFL branch... pretty interesting... As the organising committee had assured, there's at least someone in the team that someone can associate with or talk to... Ah ha! True! Was pretty relief when saw Neo's name in the list while the rest of the names/faces were pretty 'alien' to me... Nevertheless, on the whole, thought we did well as a team :D Oh yes, the collaborative spirit was quite obvious - that while everyone were fearful of the unknown 'forfeit' for the last team... yet, the teams exchange information to help each other! Ha! This would not have been possible without technology!

At the end of the day, someone commented... Ah! The winners of the race were those who took the other route! (seems like 2 different routes and 7 teams per route)... Well, well... while competition is one thing... think the team spirit that developed just over that couple of hours was great! and certainly, I think, everyone who had participated wholeheartedly is a winner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reflection: HOD Workshop (Session 2)

Today, attended the 2nd session of the workshop... was not there for the 1st session. Hm... a bit lost... ah ha... have a taste of what it's like when adopting materials prepared by others...

Well, it also largely depends on one's personality... ie. Used to adopt other's materials or not... For myself, notice that I prefer to have a say on what I'm going to use... maybe, I'm not so adaptable... or maybe I have become more and more 'yim-jim'... ah! There's always room for perfection, right?

Just a couple of observations...
(i) By the time we moved into 3 o'clock... know that it's impossible to carry out what's plan... not enough time! Apart from 'spill-over' from the previous session, but also participants need the time to find the relevant resources to address the learning gap.

(ii) Select and trim... because of the time constraint, yes, to ensure there's enough time for the Integration Cycle... that's the soul of the entire workshop... and it should be the key takeaway... hm... something we did not compromise :D

(iii) Understanding of baseline ICT standards... after having gone through so many sessions and also experiences with the Partner schools and baseline support schools, learnt that it's something that's all participants must get it right first! If they don't understand what it is, all the mapping will go wrong!!!

Ah!!! Decision making!!! So much... Hm... not so much of think on your feet, but "Decide on Your Feet" :D

Sunday, August 17, 2008

教师交流会: 今天我不烦

Organised by 联合早报 on 2008, August 16.

(i) Sharing on Relaxation Methods 周美伶博士
Key points...

一` 理想的情绪

  • 见微知著 (处变不惊)
  • 不动声色
  • 情绪平和
  • 全情投入

二` 瞬间解郁法

  • 心能量中心 (It's about Inhaling and Exhaling exercise, focusing in counting down from 7 to 1 while exhaling... and repeat several times)
  • 库氏挂钩 (Read more about Cooks' Hookup HERE)
  • 眼珠转动法 (It's about moving the pair of eyes swiftly from left to right for about 20 times... then close the eyes to rest... and repeat for about 2 times... By doing so helps to 'temporarily' switch off the active area of the brain, hence helping to re-focus. Read more about Eye Movement Exercise HERE.)
  • 大笑法 (Read more about HERE. About the World Laughter Club).

Well, in particular, the 3rd & 4th methods tired out one so that to 'drop' the worry for a short while...

(ii) Sharing on the Use of the use of “SEL听筒” to support teaching by 蔡勇智 (Teacher from Poi Ching School)

  • He shared a couple of examples how he made use of the passages to get his students to think deep, what's the right action to take and why they think so.
  • One example is 两朵花 which talks about the relationship between a foreign maid and child. He also leveraged on this story to get pupils to talk about their views on maid's role in a typical current singapore context.
  • One teaching strategy he shared: Instead of distributing the newspapers to the class after receiving the newspapers, he scanned the passage for discussion and got the pupils to read (with their eyes) and listen to the story first. This helps to focus their attention to listen and discuss. Only after the activity, he would distribute them for reading.
  • Throughout, he emphasized that the use of the articles is to set pupils thinking. As a teacher, he would not "correct" pupils' as the important outcome of the whole activity is not about right or wrong, but to encourage the pupils to think and talk about their responses, and therefore answers are not important, and it is not necessary to have answers to everything.
  • While I agree to some extent that we should give pupils the freedom to express their views and encourage them to articulate their thoughts, I feel that it is necessary and important to articulate the right values to our children when theirs is questionable. No doubt, that may just splash cold water on the enthusiastic child! On the other hand, that also means teachers need to be equipped with the skills to guide (引导). Otherwise, it gives students the perception that they are always right and they can just argue their way out!
  • He closed the sharing with the PEL (Performance, Enjoyment, Learning) model he shared, the message he sent across is enjoyment and learning matters most... with that, it will cover boost the performance...
  • Audio files are available at

(iii) “21世纪新加坡儿童漫画作品的生态现象” (孙爱玲博士)
大拇指 (作者:陈聪明)

孙爱玲 shared on her analysis of the comic "大拇指 " in relation to the mindset of children and also a reflection of social issues from the perspective of a child. She also shared how the comics have cleverly integrated NE, Social & Moral values into the storylines. Through the comics, the author also raised social awareness by touching on issues like the forest fires around and dengue fever. Well, it seems that this set of comics book has quite a bit of educational values!
See archives:

... in fact, this session sounds more like a paper presentation (from the paper!!!)... ok, you'll know how dry it is... On the other hand, definitely, this segment reminded us that serious messages can be brought out in light-hearted manner (eg. in the form of comics) to reach out to children... So, the choice of media plays a part in reaching out to the targeted audience effectively.

(iv) Stayed back after lunch for the KuSong Competition (Prize Giving Ceremony)

In fact, learnt a new term in this session... on what's KuSong... Hm.. seems to be a re-packaging of what some of us did in our old days, but with new elements integrated... so, it's a "mutilated" product! er... Old wine in new bottle??? Hahaha... ok... not a good choice of word... that's doing unjustice to the work done... ok... maybe term as Revolution? maybe Evolution sounds better :D

Well, it's from the Japanese... ah ha! ring a bell? the 哈日风seems making a comeback!

Read more about what's kusong HERE.

But what's more amazing is the products by the students... pretty creative! There are multimedia ones, there are also those that used the 'ancient' technology. Am impressed. View HERE.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Future@MeL Forum

@ Ngee Ann Polytechnic LT26, 2008 August 13.

(i) How IHLS Can Prepare Students for Globalised Workforce (by Bob Chua)

Key Points...

(a) Landscape 2018

  • Retirement of baby boomers
  • Declining birth rate
  • Global citizen, global market
  • Immersive technology
  • Note: Generation X is a term used to describe generations in many countries around the world born from 1965 to around 1980. Generation Y is the generation following Generation X, especially people born in western culture from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. The generation is also alternatively defined as the children of the Baby Boomer generation. Generation Z is the generation of people living in Western or First World cultures that follows Generation Y. Experts differ on when the earliest members of Generation Z were born, ranging from 1990 to 2001.

These lead to Generate Shift & Structure Shift

(b) Computers are no longer location-based...

  • So... it's not just availability, but it's anytime, anywhere... which allows collaborative & participative work through the network
  • Our urge... the need to be connected (eg. a typical behaviour: passengers start switching on handphones once the plane has landed)
  • Singapore Vision 2018

(c) "Super-Graduates" / "Millenial Graduates"

  • Descriptions of Millenial Graduates (CERI, The Millenial Generation)
  • Characteristics of these graduates: Technology-savvy; High IQ, EQ, SQ (social quotient); Competitive; Mobile & Travelled; Highly ambitious; Social entrepreneur
  • For work, they ask for different level/kinds of incentive
  • To attract these people, MNCs will need have unique mission and have creative work spaces
  • To select the right candidates, different forms of 'entrance test' are used...
  • Examples (i) Through dinners - look for social skills (ii) Through playing lego bricks - team players; logical thinking (iii) Scenario - observation and analytical skills, keeping a cool mind in chaos (iv) Games at Casino - interests and ability to trick others; ability to remind clear minded over long hours.
  • A new term: Something not quite clear: Is social quotient equivalent to social IQ? Hm... how it is related to social intelligence?
  • The 21st Century at Work: Force Shaping the Future Workforce and Workplace in the United States (download PDF)
  • Attributes of "Millenial Graduates": Must be adaptable (changes in technology as well as product demand); Lifelong Learning; Non-routine cognitive skills (abstract reasoning; innovative problem solving; P2P communication; Collaboration); Culture adaptability; Contrarian Minds
  • Contrarian Minds define a person who expresses an contradicting view point, especially one who denounces the majority persuasion (Wikitionary)

(d) Workplace of 2018

  • Alcoves: Architected to meet the millenials tastes adn senses; colours, water, light; Soothing, creative; Encounter locations
  • Mentors: Support & groom; Knowledge transfer; Quick take-off
  • Transform: Ideas; Projects; Results

(ii) Disruptive Innovation & Creation of Social Learner Ecosystem (by Jeremy B Williams)
Downloadable presentation slide

Vision of Students Today

source: Digital Ethnography (Kanas State University, Oct 12th, 2007)

Points to ponder...

(a) In today's context, does having a good qualification wonder a good job?

(b) Does the increasing accessibility to technology come with a promise of flexibility to deliver?

(c) Online learning is not about transplanting Face-2-Face model... but...???

Other points...

  • Horizontalization of learning: a shift in our a view of knowledge communication that emphasizes less the vertical relationship between a producer and a recipient and more horizontal interactions required for the negotiation of mutual relevance
  • (e-)Learning should be interactive, flexible and "ready to go"
  • Constructivism in a digital age: (i) Building and thinking > Learning > Sharing > Building > ... (ii) Deep learning can occur as the learner is actively engaged in, operating upon or mentally processing (iii) significantly, the student is both consumer and producer of information
  • Refer to powerpoint slides (
  • eduFIRE - Live video language Learning (

Friday, August 08, 2008

Useful Websites... for Mathematics Games

There are some websites introduced during the workshop (Architecture for Participatory Learning)

Workshop: Architecture for Participatory Learning

by Dr Niall Winters & Yishay Mor (London Knowledge Lab)
Part 2 of iLab2015 Ideation Workshop 2008

Objective of Workshop

  • To engage in collaborative development of patterns to provide a framework for sharing their design knowledge.
To do this... we will inspect & reflect upon the practices of producing technology and activities for use in educational contexts... we take the perspective that to design technology-enhanced learning tols and activities an interdisciplinary approach is required, bring the expertise of educators, software developers, designers and researches together.

Patterns and scenarios
Some Useful Links
2 (new) key terms we are introduced to... Case Studies and Patterns
For a while, it took us to reconcile our understanding of these terms with the new definition. After a while... It's Ah-ha... Oh I see :D

Overall Framework
Initially, could not quite understand what this diagram tries to say 'cos could not quite connect the "new" terms with what we know... however, after the workshop, it makes more sense... Perhaps, it would have been easier for us to connect if we had revisited this framework at various junctures of the workshop.

What are Case Studies?
...they are critical incidents of practice, highlighting key design challenges and possible solutions.

  1. DigitalLanguageLearning
  2. MoodleForum
  3. podcastYI
  4. FOP (Free Oral Portal)
  5. SituationalSpeakingInVirtualWorlds
  6. ChineseDigitalGames
  7. DigitalLanguageLab
  8. More case studies
What is a Scenario? a description of a speculative event, describing a problem / issue / desired function in a well-defined context, and a possible manner of addressing it. It is similar to a case study, except that it is a-priori rather than a-posteriori, and should have a more detailed justification of the proposed solution.
Chim! Something that can't quite be understood easily... No wonder no task given on this component... Hm... also can't quite recall they talked about it...

What is a Pattern?
(read more)
  1. Media Production Team
  2. leadingtoformalsetting
  3. MilestonesManagement
  4. facilitatedteammeetings
  5. CommunityofTeacherDevelopers
  6. SuitableDataCollectionProcedures
  7. More patterns

What I learnt from this workshop...

  • The workshop began with getting the individuals to share a 'formative learning experience'
  • Here's the picture I drew...
  • Yeap, something I could recall very quickly... one of the recent experiences in learning how to use the collaborative tools. In fact, we heard about GoogleDoc sometime ago. Though have been blogging for a while and have learnt about the use of wiki, have not really dwell into collaborative tools like this, that allows 2 or more people to work together on the same piece of work synchronously. Exciting, isn't it? The exploration comes with both online and face-to-face interaction. Certainly being in close proxy allows the few of us to come together to discuss and troubleshoot, and experiment together.
  • I thought this was a pretty good start for a workshop... (Like what I shared in the iCTLT) to connect participants' existing knowledge or experiences to the new content (that's coming soon!). In this way, we can better appreciate and possibly connect what we are going to learn to actual application (hence, translating our new knowledge to application).
  • Unfortunately, this was not obvious to us... a few fellow participants... and the facilitate tried to draw out "commonalities"... somehow, still can't quite made out what the facilitators tried out draw out... so, this activity turned out to exist in silo.

  • Talking about "Cases"... think our team dished out the example too fast, a solid example indeed... well, it once again shows the singaporean efficiency... a write-up that's published in the edu.MALL recently.
  • While we were efficient, but I think, I think we missed that is valuable that a workshop provides... that is hearing, through the interaction and discussion from people of different background... and learning from each other's experience.
  • More can be done to make the time passed more meaningful, in fact.
  • I must confess too... that I've not paid attention to much of what's delivered at the beginning of this "Case Studies" segment... ok, blame it on technology! With the hyperlinks to the workshop-related resources coming in one after another... I'm totally distracted... yes, I was lost! That reaffirms one thing... I can only do one thing at a time when it comes to learning... and certainly, much better in a quieter environment... So, that's how I learn.

  • What I understand about patterns... They are problems identified from numerous cases... and there's some commonalities among these problems... then we term them as a PATTERN. Hm... a little like the Induction Method for mathematical investigation... where we generalise to conclude a property/rule from the numerous cases dealt with earlier.
  • The idea of this Pattern Design is to work on solution(s) to this 'general' problem so that this 'general' solution can be applied to the numerous cases where the problems were identified earlier.
  • I thought, if this segment was linked to the previous segment using the case studies that we generated in the first half, then perhaps it would have helped us understand what patterns mean... and made our activity more meaningful... unfortunately, we started from scratch again...
Some after thoughts...
  • Application - is it possible? Yes, it is... but how to make it practical without investing too much time and resources into building this pool of knowledge?
  • It is a very novel idea to solve problems in a very efficient... theoretically, it works! However, as time goes by... it grows and become a huge monster that's difficult to manage! Apart from there, it's the complexity that has to be considered - while one pattern can result in many possible solutions (so, write each of them as a separate document?) and it's also possible to have several patterns that can be addressed by a common solution! Ah! The more you think of it in a network diagram, the more complex it can be... on the other hand, with a good tool (maybe not exist yet), this complexity can certainly be managed.
  • The other consideration is how to make it friendly enough that it's the first database that people will refer to when encounter a problem? Only when people keep coming back to contribute and use the content, then the system has met its very original intent.
  • All in all, I think the concept and idea behind is a solid one... more thoughts on how the key components can be delivered and connected perhaps would have made the learning a more effective one.

Other links:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Future Trends in Assessment

Panel led by Dr Randy Bennett (ETS)
Part 1 of iLab2015 Ideation Workshop 2008 @ Marina Mandarin on 7 August 2008

This session looks into the current assessment practices and provides perspective on the gaps, opportunities, issues and impact on teaching and learning.

Here are some of the points captured...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

iCTLT2008: Keynote - Mind-Shift Culture-Shift

6 August #3: Mind-Shift Culture-Shift (by Cheryl Lemke)

Some points gathered...

  • to create: The act of bringing something into existence that is genuinely new and original, whether personally (original only to the individual) or culturally (where the work adds significantly to a domain of culture as recognized by experts)
  • to innovate: to create ripples of change across your institution.

7 Windows of Opportunities... (Peter Drucker)

  • Unexpected occurrences
  • Incongruities
  • Need for efficiencies
  • Industry/market changes
  • Demographic shifts
  • Changes in perception
  • New knowledge

7 Key Design Elements to drive mind shifts and culture shifts

(1) Vision

(2) Webbed Learning 24/7

  • 3 Perspectives on Learning: Acquisition (at individual level), Participation (in group, community, network, culture), Knowledge Creation (the innovative knowledge community)
  • Democratization of Knowledge (TED, Bolinsky 2007)
  • Harvard Biovisions: Cell Animation

(3) Clusters of Innovation

  • Classroom Structures That Engage

(4) Dynamism & Churn

  • Dynamism: (from
    1. any of various theories or philosophical systems that seek to explain phenomena of nature by the action of force.
    2. great energy, force, or power; vigor: the dynamism of the new governor.
    3. Psychology. a habitual mode of reducing or eliminating tension.
  • Beware: Square pegs in round holes
  • Break down silos
  • Communities of Practice

(5) Infrastructure, Technology & Web 2.0

(6) Assessment for Growth

  • Alignment
  • Rubrics
  • Informative Assessments: Students as full partners, Low stakes, Intended to reveal gaps, Differentiated Solutions

(7) Sheet Music for Improvisation (Scaling)

iCTLT2008: Concurrent Session #3

6 August 2008: Concurrent Session #3

@ MR311

(a) Project ATLANTIS: Applying ICT in a Multi-Disciplinary Education Field Trip
Lyncoln, from Catholic Junior College shared how pupils participated in this Field Trip project, that commenced since 2004. Each year, pupil volunteers from various disciplines form teams to go to rural/cultivation areas in nearby countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. In the trip, pupils grouped according to their disciplines, eg. Biology, Chemistry, Humanities... and they made use of ICT tools to plan and carry out investigations. In the process, inquiry-based approach was adopted... whereby pupils were given a broad topic (eg. Animals), which they are required to zoom into specific areas for investigation.
Presentation downloadable at

(b) Intuitive-Experimental Approach: A New Pedagogy for Geometry
That's the Geometry project that I was involved in 2007.
Paper downloadable at

(c) Harnessing Features of Blogs for Maths Learning
That's my presentation!

iCTLT2008: Spotlight - 21st Century Learning - The New Balance

6 August Spotlight #7: 21st Century Learning - The New Balance (by Bernie Trilling)


  1. What will the world be like 20 years from now? What must students learn to be successful in the 21st century?
  2. How should they learn this (21st century skills)? What does 21st century learning look like?
  3. What practices and models will help us to move to a new baseline?
  4. What would learning look like if it was designed around your answer?
Framework for the 21st Century Skills

Digital Learners...

  • Multitasking
  • Multimedia Learning
  • Online social network
For the Future World of Work...

  • In the more developed countries: emphasis - Creative work
  • In the less developed countries: Routine work by machine and people continue to predominate
3Rs X 7Cs = 21st Century Skills

  1. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  2. Creativity & Innovation
  3. Collaboration, Team work & Leadership
  4. Cross Cultural Understanding
  5. Communication & Media Fluency
  6. Computing & ICT Fluency
  7. Career & Learning self-reliance
It's characterised by...
  • Learner-centredness
  • Collaborative Construction skills
  • Process
  • Higher Order Thinking
  • Life Skills
  • Team Work
  • Cummunity
  • Formative Evaluation
  • Learning for Life
A better balance will mean striking a balance between Direct Instruction and Project Learning
  • Guided Instruction vs Collaborative Construction
  • Connected Content vs Life Skills
  • Virtual 2nd life Screen World vs Real Word 1st hand experience
  • From the Head vs from the Heart & Soul
We inspire students to think, connect, create, share using technology to fulfill one's full potential

Learning is what most adults will do in the 21st century (S J Perelman)

21st Century Project Learning...

New Learning about Learning...

  • Context: Real World Learning
  • Caring: Intrinsic Motivation
  • Construction: Mental & Virtual Model Building
  • Competence: Multiple Intelligence
  • Community: Learning socially in groups and teams
Today's ICT Challanges...

  • Innovation (Learning how to innovate; Innovate the learning process)
  • Collaboration
  • Transformation

Other useful link(s):

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

iCTLT2008: Teachers & Innovation

5 August 2008 Concurrent Session #2: Teachers and Innovation by Stephen Breslin (Future Lab), Eric Lam (Amdon) and Adrian Tan (Nan Hua High)

It's sharing about Nan Hua High's LEAD ICT Project: Games Development for Humanities Education

Some observations on games and learning...

  • Complex and challenging
  • Systemic & multivariate
  • Part of Young People's culture
  • Communities of Practice (peer instruction)

Mori (2006)

  • A significant majoirity of teachers (72%) do not play games for leisure as compared to 81% of children play games
  • ~ 31% of teachers use games for teaching

Inquiry-based learning

  • 5Es: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend and Evaluate
  • 2 levels of Inquiry - Involvement (Engage, Explore), Understanding (Explain, Extent, Evaluate)
  • Predict, Observe, Explain

Relating topics in Geography and History

  • Natural Resources; Ancient Civilisation
  • Settlement; Internal Threats
  • Population Growth; External Threats

iCTLT2008: Keynote - Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society

5 August 2008 Keynote Address 2: Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society (by Mitchel Resnick)

  • Education is no longer information transfer from one to another... (unlike the good old days)
  • Changes/Shifts over time... Information Society >> Knowledge Society >> Creativity Society
  • Children are to be given opportunities to Deisgn > Create > Invent.
  • They are not just interacting... their voice are to be heard.
  • Briefly, there's what happens to the learning process of very young children...

2 softwares were introduced...

  • Lego WeDo (for young children)
  • Scratch (a research project at MIT)
  • One interesting illustration is when a child uses Scratch to collect real-time data... It's a game when the user suppose to click while the system captures the response time :D
  • Another one is using it as a video "How-to" tutorial.

  • Creativity is both Imagination and Systematic Thinking (They do co-exist!)
  • Think of Creativity... There are big "C" and small "c"...
  • The big "C" is usually what we tried to align our perception to others' perception/expectation....
  • What really matters to an individual is the small "c"... no matter how small, it's really what one comes up with to address to one's needs and curiosity... (meaningful experience, isn't it?)

iCTLT2008: Spotlight - Leadership that Inspires Innovation

5 August 2008 Spotlight Session #2: Leadership that Inspires Innovation (by Bruce Dixon)

Some key points:

(a) Building a Culture of Innovation

Innovation Transformation...
Automated >> Idiosyncratic (trivial use) >> At Scale (innovative practice) >> Cultural
  • Beliefs & Attittude
  • Opportunities & Possibilities:
  • (i) Access to hardware (affordable computing)
  • (ii) Pedagogy needs to be reinforced (in fact, this is neglected while PD usually & most of the time focuses on skills and forgotten about sound integration). We were once again reminded on the trivial use of technology in learning (which is very much back to the mp1 days - PowerPoint slides as high-tech transparencies; Interactive Whiteboards as high-class whiteboards!)
  • (iii) Simple tools makes a difference when creatively used, not necessary complex tools
  • (iv) Opportunities to let go some of the practices
  • Pedagogical Wisdom

(b) Technology and Change

Innovation that will drive child-centredness...

  • Increased interactivity & effectivenss of communciation (eg. the use of social networks like Facebook).
  • Have educators re-look at what are the effective forms of communication and ways of communication for the digital natives?
  • Have educators' way of teaching and use of technology address to the learners' diversity?
  • Other considerations include learners' adaptability, individualised and personalised learning.

Promotes new dimensions of pedagogical innovation

  • increase in shared visualisations and shared laboratory access
  • increase in experiential learning

Look for more appropriate & effective means of assessment

Incremental Change vs Fundamental Change/Transformation
  • Incremental change are small changes to the way school might function, it provides measureable improvements
  • Fundamental change looks very different... it's not about tweaking

In fact, this reminded me of the actual situation in our schools! So often, schools have no choice, but to go through incremental change... and in fact, because of all the existing entities (staff, students, culture & practices... ), it's a great challenge to any leader who wants to carry out transformation! Think many of us would agree that Deep-seated Mindset is the most challenging of all... That's also why some of us think that we are fortunate enough to grow together with the school, from Day 1, start from scratch... of course, one has to treasure this hard-to-come-by opportunity to ensure all are set in the right direction!

Bruce then quoted...

Innovative Schools... cater to successful learning for rapidly changing environments

1. Learning Environment - Physical, Virtual, Formal/Informal, Innovative Use of ICT

2. Teaching, Learning & Assessment

  • New Learning... New Literacies taking into account (i) classroom diversity (ii) differentiated and customised learning (iii) banks of learning content
  • Lateral Communications: Peer-to-Peer, Learning as collaboration
  • Collaborative Literacy (An interview with Dorothy Sisk: Collaborative Literacy)

3. Ongoing Professional Development

  • Encourages Collaboration, hence, Peer Coaching on Collaboration

(c) Sustaining Innovation vs Disrutpive Innovation

  • Disruptive Innovation by Clayton M. Christensen
  • From Innovation Zen: The basic idea is that some innovations will appear as simpler, cheaper or even inferior solutions when compared to traditional technologies. In the early phase such innovations will serve a marginal or completely new market segment. Over the time, however, as the performance of the disruptive innovation improves (often faster than what is demanded by customers) it will be able address the mainstream market, displacing incumbents.

iCTLT2008: Keynote - Creativity & Innovation in Teaching & Learning

5 August 2008 Keynote Address 1: Creativity & Innovation in Teaching & Learning (by Sir Ken Robinson)
Some key points:
  • The education system is undergoing some form of transformation, a revolution.. whereby the Power of Imagination plays a significant role.
  • Are we able to leverage on the affordances of ICT as a strategy to transform education?
  • All along, education is seen to be a means of employability > we become economically independent... however, in today's context, the acquired set of knowledge no longer ensures the long-term security.
  • Divergent Thinking is fundamental to creativity processes.
  • Creativity is an entitlement for everybody.
  • At one point, the audience were asked of their view on how important it is to systematically develop creativity in Education. Many indicated fairly high importance. In another question on How well does the current system allows that to take place? This time, the responses was low... in fact, if we look at the audience's response, we can tell that while one believes it is important to promote creativity in schools, however, our systematic system has not really cater to this aspect and integrate that into our system, ironically. So, why we didn't operationalise it?
  • Be mindful of our ability to perceive our insignificance! Are we imaginative? Often, we landed up thinking we aren't. This is illustrated through the comparison of the planets in the solar system... and all the way to the various systems in the galaxy!
  • I like this illustration one very much... not just a better understanding of the heavenly bodies out there... but there's also something we can draw from it and relate to our very own experiences.

  • Imagine we are the Earth... In real life, I think it's human nature to compare... very often, we said, 比上不足,比下有余 . It's like the planet earth when compared with the smaller bodies... we have the added advantage in many areas... at least the first impression we give to others (who yet find out how strong or solid we are!). Isn't this true in real life?
  • Just like the other day when we were discussing another project related to professional development for a NGO, someone reminded us that the target participants come with very high academic qualifications! (They are the academics!) Sure, none of us have a doctorate degree... so, do we have enough and solid content to deliver? Hm... for a moment, we felt like the Earth staring at the Sun!
  • Then one other colleague reminded us... hey, no doubt they are the academics, however, what we are looking at is the application at ground level, which they lack the idea of what it is like as well as the experience that we have - those are absent from their repertoire of expertise! For a while, I think, we felt like the Earth while they're equivalent to Mercury or Pluto! :D
  • So, be wary of our very own ability to perceive our insignificance!
  • So, beware! sometimes we are limited by our own perception and beliefs!
  • To add on... rule by the head, rather than by the heart... it works here, at least...
Next... the outlook of education in the changing paradigm...
  • In the past - Industrial-like: Utility, Linearity, Conformity and Standardisation were highly valued.
  • What's next - Organic-like: Vitality, Creativity, Diversity and Customisation are the ways to go.
Conditions for Growth...

iCTLT2008 (5-6 August): Exhibition & General

@ Suntec City
Official website (download presentations)

This inaugural conference is the collaboration between MOE Singapore and ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education)

  • This time, the delegate's pass is "RFID-powered"...
  • I guess the purpose is to manage the crowd to sessions that are over-subscribed... and to monitor the participation in each of the workshop session. Also, thoought that's used to monitor the distribution of the coffeetable book.
  • Somehow, found that it has not been put to real use... First of all, it's up to the participants to tap against the receiver or not... so, the data monitored is not accurate (if one of the purpose is for data collection). People just walked in unless you have someone to strictly reinforce the checking-in process! Secondly, the participants simply need to queue and collect the book. No tapping needed... what's more... at the end of the 2nd day, uncollected copies are lay-long out! What an ironic!
  • Just feel that the technology is simply not put to good use here... hm... it's a wastage!

Here are some of the Poster Presentations by Schools:

Managed to spend the last bit of the time to check out what some of the vendors offer in the exhibition...

(i) a differently dressed "Classroom Performance System" (CPS)... so thin and looks like those calculators? I couldn't even recognise! Oh yes, the ones that we know of look more like those TV remote controller! Well, here's one that's distributed to the participants for the Plenary session on the 2nd day... did not get the chance to use it... 'cos was roaming around the exhibition area then.

(ii) Atomic Learning: Learning of ICT (Technical) skills online... in the form of video clips together with 'tutorial sheets' that's said to tie to the US and UK curriculums... Well, seems useful if training of ICT skills is to be outsourced? (Trial-site Username: ICTLT08, Password: atomic)

(iii) Centralised control of LCD projectors (by AV Media): Was just toying with this idea of merging the broadcast system with the LCD projectors in the school buildings... so that one equipment can be tapped on for multiple use! Hey! It seems possible... that is, having a system to centrally control all the LCD Projectors in the campus... also to allow 'broadcast' to selected classrooms... convenient! and something we can consider for the new campus :D