Saturday, December 18, 2010

Habits of Mind

Brought the book with me when went to Kyushu. In fact, bought this book for more than a year, but was left in the shelf.

There are 16 habits altogether. Indeed, after going trhough a few chapters, thought some of these habits are highly applicable to Mathematics in a classroom - to inculcate the discipline of thinking and working together.

The 16 habits are:
  1. Persisting
  2. Managing Impulsivity
  3. Listening with Understanding and Empathy
  4. Think Flexibly
  5. Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
  6. Striving for Accuracy
  7. Questioning and Posing Problems
  8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situation
  9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  10. Gathering Data through all Senses
  11. Creating, Imagining and Innovating
  12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  13. Taking Responsible Risks
  14. Finding Humour
  15. Think Independently
  16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning
I think some of these simply sit very well in the Maths classroom... and would like to introduce some of these to my classes next year :)

Some encouraging phrases that echo my beliefs (as I read):
  • [Persisting] If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat the whole world as if it were a nail. ~ Edward de Bono
  • [Managing Impulsivity] The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. ~ Mark Twain
  • [Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision] This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. ~ Winston Churchill
  • [Creating, Imagining, Innovating] I believe everybody is creative, and everybody is talented. I just don't think that everybody is disciplined. I think that's a rare commodity. ~ Al Hirshfield

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Learning Boost - A 'LMS' application
Came across this in the eduCamp @ NP.

A pretty interesting tool that could help the teacher to manage the class schedule, attendance and even assignments, and to the extent of allowing parents to access, too! Wow! It sounds great, and there's one example of how it's being used (in SAIS!). Thanks for the sharing!

It's a pretty simple tool, though, and it's free!
On the other hand, to integrate into the school's google domain, it would mean allowing the apps to access data from the site, hence, would probably compromise the security level, I think. Hence, it's pretty unlikely to incorporate it into the staff domain.

What are some features that are interesting to me:
  • It allows one to plan the classroom layout... haha... it's a good to have where we could drag and drop students' names to the classroom layout (as we wish) :)
  • Attendance marking, which could be extracted in CSV format
  • Indication of home work (and teacher could elaborate) in the system
  • Recording of marks and review
  • Of course, parents could access!
Of course, there's one features I was trying to find... but was not there...
having a link that I could post at the public blog or embed into the GoogleSite/ Blog...

I guess it's worth exploring if one's use of the GoogleSite is not in a mature stage, which unfortunately, in my situation, we are...

eduCamp @ NP on 3 December 2010

First heard about "BarCamp" from Preetam in March this year, when attended the Asia ADE Institute. Was curious about it... it's a totally new concept, at least, to me. I guess, it's not just me... but to many fellow educators. It's an interesting concept of 'formalising' a gathering of like-minded people. It sounds abit contradictory 'cos it's supposed to be sharing in an informal setting. Haha... well, well, moving inwards from both ends, there's where the "barcamp" is :)

Indeed, very much like to know how this whole "Barcamp" operates.
I guess, having been in the education system for such a long time and got so used to organise everything with a certain format/ structure, I was quite lost how how event could kick off and how the responses like. I think, the most uncertain thing was, who's going to turn up for the event!? This is utmost to many of us, in particular, in the school environment, when we do not want to be caught with unpleasant surprises.

Hence, am thankful to have the opportunity to attend one last week.
Missed the start... but I guess I know how it was like... started with a list of topics that people are keen to share. Topics of interest are written in the post-its and these were sorted out accordingly.

Then knowing the timeslots for each topic that's going on in each room, that helps the interested participants to roam from one room to another.

Amongs those presented, there were familiar ones, there were also new ones :)
Here are some of the sharing:

1. Mobile Learning (Adrian & Ruiwen)
Indeed, this was something that I'm very familiar with 'cos what's presented was basically the activities conducted in the school. Yup, I thought the platform presented was a good one, though it's some initial ideas. Yes... there's potential for more developments. Thanks to Adrian acknowledging the school :)

Oh yes, people are looking at lighter and more portable devices. I'm not sceptical over the change of device (instead of using a macbook), to use a more 'sexy' device like the iPad. But my point is really, how we could leverage of the capability of the device and 'marry it with the application to bring about a new/ different experience! On the other hand, some old issues will not disappear even if we change to a smaller device, that is, how the students manage the device. Some 'old' problems (that sounded as if would disappear) such as having one student holding the device such that the rest would be able to view. This would not disappear. Instead, we have to teach (yes, I mean teach - sounds directive) the students to handle the device so all students could discuss and work together!

Anyway, let's see how it goes when we move on to more portable devices next year :)

2. OLPC XO laptops
The first time I see such 'toy-lookalike' laptop. It's really small - in green and white.
Yup... vaguely, I remember the demo set wa a monochrome one? (I think) or it only came with 2 colour display... with either a white or grey background (i.e. wall paper)

Something caught my attending is its display mode. So, unconventional! The icons were organised in a circle! haha... just wondering... what if we only have 3 apps? will the icons come closer? On the other hand, if I have 10 apps, then they will be organised on the arc of the circle... hence the circumference of the cirle increases! Just imagine, if there were 12 apps, then it's like a clock. We could just direct someone to "3 o'clock", "8 o'clock" position! hahaha...

A resource website was introduced: Sugar Activities

3. The use of GoogleApps to facilitate the learning process + LearnBoost (Sean)
I think, we have done very well in SST in terms of the use of the apps for learning, including the use to facilitate the processes. Am glad that we did not encounter some of the problems that was highlighted. Hm... let me think why? On the other hand, I learnt something new in this session, too! I was not aware that there were templates that could be used to facilitate specific activities or purpose (apart from those fanciful ones that I usually igore during setting up). Ok, I'm not the kind who embrace fanciful stuff if I need to choose between practicality and aesthetic :)

On the other hand, I'll try this out hwen opportunity arises :)

A new platform (new to me) was introduced... it's LearnBoost ( - A pretty interesting platform, which act like a utility tool. Would talk more about it in the next post. Thanks, Sean!

4. Presentation: Using Game Mechanisms to Improve Student Engagement (Ben Leong)
The presenter shared one of the sources of inspiration of this research is from the speech by Jane McGonigal in the 2010 TEDShow - Gaming can make a better world.

The key understanding is to tap on students' emotional response in gaming to complete assignments on time.

The approach is to structure the assignment like "games", using terms such as "Missions", "Quests" and "XP" (ok, that's experience points, based on what I gathered.. haha... I'm no gamer, anyway)... so, it's talking about connecting to the learners through their preferred mode of learning? (I wonder): The game mechanics were:
  • Gratification
  • Progress
  • Small immediate goals
  • Rewards
  • Competition
Hence, it's really about knowing and riding on the 'psyche' of the youngsters these days.
The process, needed to support the above and sustain the users/ learners' interest would include
  • Quality control
  • Timely feedback
  • Normal interactions
  • Social pressure
Wow! Gaming and Learning can join hand to become big business!

The assignment was broken down to 22 missions, together with side quests & contests. This is followed by 24h grading as well as unlocking achievements.
So, to level up, one has to gain enough "XP" (I guess).
Well, it seems to be pretty success, based on the improved number of students submitting their work on time or even earlier.

I guess, one point that the presenter wanted to bring across is, eLearning needed not to be a 'boring' platform which everyone of us know (at least in the Singapore context). It could take place in the form of game! Once they cleared each level, they will be rewarded - be it XP or the comics. Haha... someone asked, what is the relationship between the comics and the work. Well, I was hoping for some useful and relevant response. Unfortunately, no.

5. GMap & GDocs Use in a University Classroom by N. Sivasothi
Glean interesting idea from this presentation, though I'm not Geography trained (oh yes, I only did Geography up to Secondary 2! and it was so many decades ago! haha). I guess it's the appliedness of the learning activity describe that got me 'hooked' to the presentation :) yes, the use of GoogleMap has truly describe how it's applied in the real world! I also like the 'more primitive' lesson that talked about constructing the 16 pt compass! So, map reading and navigation could be so interesting! :) I think I would have enjoyed the lesson if I were in his class :)
Lesson on Spatial Awareness using GoogleMap

From the way he described how he used GoogleMap and GoogleForm/Spreadsheet to facilitate the outdoor programme, etc.. I really take my hat off for him! He's truly a true guru in these 2 applications! I hope those who attended would bring back these ideas and use the applications as well as him! :)

What resonated most was the review he carried out. Key understanding: Observe, take feedback, review and refine - Do not make assumptions, even to the simplest and most commonsensical thing! This is really something that I felt we must keep in mind!

Thanks! It's a very eye-opening session :)

6. Google Search
There are some many useful tools around us that we seldom bother to explore and use it ... so, while on one hand, we felt that we spend too much time doing something like searching information in the internet; on the other hand, we are reluctant to master the basic skills that would help to improve our search effectiveness and efficiency. Haha... What a dilemma!

Something that could be implemented in/with the class:
  • Google Search Operators: Think this has to be reintroduced, to help students to streamline their search. Well, from what we know, the NLB course actually introduced (and taught) the use to students; nevertheless, it seems like they did not apply it beyond the workshop. Let's see what could be done :)
  • Wonder wheel is another wonderful way of presenting search results, not just search results, but also the links between key words! First saw this in Hong Kong when Kathleen shared with the participants!
  • Of course, there are other great features that I've not explored or aware of! Look at the left panel. Just a search of image, it provides other parameters for the search! Wow!

  • On top of that, there's the other one on News Timeline, which seems useful to track events! I'm thinking it from the subject learning aspect - this would be great for language and humanities, and event social studies lessons!

  • Another interesting resource that Google provides is the Year End Zeitgeist. Thought that this is definitely something very interesting - and could be used in subjects like Mathematics where students see the direct application of charts in real world, and also to understand why people did so much data collection and analysis... what's the purpose and intent behind all these?
A good reminder from the presenter, which I almost forget about that totally: Google is not the only Search Engine that exists! There are others... and we should bear in mind, each has its own niche and strength, too! Time for me to review and re-introduce!

Another very useful tip, which actually hit right at the issue that most (or all?) of us face: Students don't seem to remember the search strategies! So, the suggestion is teachers to demonstrate how he/she carry out search... to reinforce the fact that such strategies are really useful, and how to apply the strategy. Ah! The key understanding here: To influence the learners' habits, role model!

Last but not least... suggestions from presenter:
  • Seek out other seekers (e.g. Wolfram|Alpha, cha cha, creative commons, yo search)
  • Bookmark a search folder
  • Customise search engines on your browser
  • Use browser plugin like Fastest Fox
  • Read about Google Search and alternatives
  • Consult librarians - they are natural archivists
  • Check for reliability and biasness - use "Wayback Machine", "EasyWhoIs"
  • Remain sceptical

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Visit to Central Sikh Temple

It's a rare opportunity to visit a temple of another race. What's more, the Sikh Temple, when the Sikh community is not big here.

Went to the Central Sikh Temple at Towner Road (near Boon Keng Road) this morning to understand the religion or I would say, to know the ethnic group better.

Thanks to Mr Baljit Singh (I hope I got the name correct) for his patience and a very detailed explanation of the practices that many of us (outside the community) do not know.

Here are some thing(s) that I learnt this morning:

  • When entering a Sikh temple, one is supposed to cover the head (with a scarf, at least) and to remove their shoes. This is to to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. Why cover the head? Head being the most important and sacred part of the human body.
  • 3 key beliefs: (1) The teachings of the gurus (2) Hard work (3) Sharing
  • The Sikhs do not pray to any symbols or idols, but they listen to the teachings in the holy book, which was a compilation of 10 great gurus.

One interesting observation was that all the devotees who after they performed the prayer rituals, they would receive a spoonful of paste that was supposedly blessed (from the prayers, etc) - which was a paste made up of flour, sugar and ghee.

It seems like, there are several practices that revolve around equality:

  • All the devotees were to sit on the floor for their prayers, etc... which is lower than the main altar. Certainly, it's to show respect to the teachings of the gurus. On the other hand, it's also symbolic when everybody is on the same level ground - to symbolise equality.
  • Similarly, this applies to having a common 'name' in all the names - all men have "singh" in their name; similarly, all women have "kaur" in their name too - which symbolises brotherhood and sisterhood respectively; as well as equality in all.

The spirit of sharing is shown through the monetary donation made (be it 10 cents or a significant amount) as well as contribution of grocery and food to be used for meal preparation for the devotees who visit the temple.

Indeed, felt the hospitality of the community... not only Mr Baljit Singh, but also, in particular, the lady volunteer who served us the meal, getting the hot tea for us and keep checking if we were fine :) Thank you for the thoughtfulness :)

Sunday, November 07, 2010

GoogleMap - What a clever suggestion!

Googlemap has been one of the most popular sites amongst those I use to plan my travel. Not just showing me the place 'visually' (as it comes with numerous features), but also planning of the route. That's why, in the recent travelogues, without fail, I included googlemaps to illustrate my journey in a more graphic manner :)

Saw this retweet (by HumanJenz) that aroused my curiosity, it said "Get instructions leading from China to Taiwan, and look at instruction #55".

I am amused!!!!!

View Larger Map

Friday, November 05, 2010

About Leadership... briefly...

I think, I said this twice in my tweets (which were re-directed to one of my Facebook accounts) - I was impressed!

It's about the capability of our students, especially when it's demonstrated through 13-year-olds. The self-directedness and 'professionalism' exhibited when they were entrusted with the task that usually adults would do. I guess that's what's meant by leadership; of course, it's also about leveraging the opportunity and providing the right environment to nurture.

Leadership - it's NOT JUST something that one brings with them, but it MUST be COUPLED with the right attitude, so that it's demonstrated in the right light, to bring out its best :)
Unfortunately, it's not something that all could 'understand' - including adults, who strive to become leaders.

That's one word that we seldom mention when talking about leadership - Professionalism.
Yes, one might possess the leadership qualities; however, when not conducting himself/ herself in an appropriate (and relevant (to the context)) manner - such unpolished leadership would not be able to create the desired level of influence and impact.

Professionalism includes looking into areas that one usually take for granted.
  • Preparation is one of them. More often than not, people ride on their own experiences (which is built over time) and become slack in their preparation - because they thought they could speak off the cuff and 'think on the feet'. Nevertheless, no matter what, preparation is necessary, and sometimes over-preparedness helps to boost one's confidence and helps to handle unanticipated situations. Look around - sometimes, I think adults get into this problem - because of the 'experience' and therefore take things pretty lightly; and when faced with the issue, problem doesn't lie on them, but on others. This is not uncommon.
  • Thinking - in depth and breadth. It's not difficult to find adults who do not think deep enough. Hm... Shallow? Sometimes we would say, but sometimes it's because of one's "narrow point of view". It' just like the frog in the well, with their point of view determined by the size of the opening of the "well". Thinking deep is not enough. What's important is being able to articulate the rationale behind the thinking, and the ability to link issues to the action in order to bring out its importance!

Well, well... just within 6 hours in a day, I saw a 13-year-old being able to demonstrate this kind of maturity & fluency; while I interacted with an adult who was unable to make the connection to substantiate. So, what does that tell?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

About Identity (III) about Women

The topic our group presented is on the Evolution of Identity of Singapore Women.

More shall appear in the Course Blog.
Some resources (media) that we used - series of songs identifed during the session are as followed. Indeed, it brings out the distinguishing difference (and progress) across the eras:


  1. Superwoman (1988) by Karyn White: Lyrics.
  2. Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison: Lyrics.
  3. I am Woman by Helen Reddy: Lyrics.

MP3 files of these sounds can be found at

Mom's Song by Anita Renfroe

Dadsense by Anita Renfroe

Other references:

  1. Socyberty. (5 April 2009).The Changing Role of Women in Society. Retrieved from
  2. Marcia Reynolds. (27 June 2010). The Emerging Identity of Women. Retrieved from
  3. Jean Lee S.K. Kathleen Campbell & Audrey Chia. (1999). The 3 Paradoxes: Working Women in Singapore. Retrieved from
  4. EDB Singapore. (2 July 2009). The 1960s Singapore Economic Development Board. Retrieved from
  5. The Development of Education in Singapore since 1965
    Background paper prepared for the Asia Education Study Tour for African Policy Makers, June 18 – 30, 2006
  6. Singapore’s female entrepreneurs – are they different? Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 5, Nos. 3/4, 2008

About Cultural Identity (II) Rojak

It's a very nice and close-to-the-heart analogy... literally, from the bowl of rojak... it reminds us the 'good taste' in the hands of a good chef - to bring the different 'foreign entities' together.

I like the simple approach.. where the different 'components' that make up the rojak... isn't it the same as the different nationalities that make up our nation?

However, it does not necessary mean that we could just mix any fruits together. Good taste only come about by the appropriate portion of paste and the chef who mix the paste with the fruits, and the finishing (sprinkle peanuts on the rojak)!

Put it across in a simplistic manner: The paste resembles the programmes that are to be implemented while the chef is really the 'implementor' of the programme - the outcomes depend largely how it's delivered.

So, don't take for granted the 'uniquely' made in Singapore rojak :)

About Cultural Identity (I) Diwali commercial - Petronas

This was shared by the Group 9 - to conclude the day of presentation (that lasted for 5 solid hours today. The topics revolved no other than topics on Identity & Multiculturalism.

This clip was an interesting one... which I think, it clearly illustrates what's going through in our youths' minds today. In fact, it touches on what another group talked about "Assimilation" vs "Multiculturalism" - what's happening today?

In the advertisement, the 4 young men actually 'adopted' what they considered as "hip". And that included creatively 'adopted' a new name "Andy" and "Sam". However, they were spotted by grandma who brought them back to reality!

Well, initially, I thought "Andy" would either run away or rudely replied his grandma to 'mind her own business'... haha... that's how I would stereotype those 'hip-hop' guys! Nevertheless, the storyline has proven me wrong! And grandma has no fear to correct "Sam"! (not anticipating any rude responses from him?), and she added "What a divine name!" hahaha....

There's hidden and deeper values to a seemingly entertaining advertisement.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

About Relationships... a conversation...

{in the middle of a conversation...}
  • ME: have a good breakfast... that helps :) er... not a too heavy one... else zzzzz monster will visit u
  • ACE: my breakfast is coming later....
  • ME: Have a cup of beverage that wakes u up :) into my 2nd cup of coffee this morning :)
  • ACE: O_O i tot it's not too good to have so much coffee O_O
  • ME: hehehe.... hm... proportional to age (I guess) hahaha.... it follows a linear graph hahahahhaahha
  • ACE: hahaha.. linear graph O_O eeek i wonder if i still rmb the way to do it ==
  • ME: oh... understanding what it means (esp the equation) helps :)
  • ACE: hmm
  • ME: hm.... y = mx + c. So, imagine the equation that represents number of cups of coffee we drink per day is.... y = 0.005 x where x is the age. oops! one could only drink a cup of coffee when reach the age of .... 200!!!! hahahaha..... oops! hope that's not confusing to you :)
  • ACE: O_O ooh i think i understand
  • Loh: hahah... Hm... maybe a more realistic equation would be y = 0.05 x (where y represents the number of cups of coffee) and x is the age
  • ACE: we must make y = 1. Is it O_O
  • ME: ah... then at what age, theoretically speaking when one is eligible for 1 cup of coffee
  • ACE: according to the equation or...
  • ME: .... (waiting for the "age') hehehe.....
  • ACE: 20
  • ME: :)
  • ACE: ooh i see...
  • ME: hahah... pretty easy hor
  • ACE: hmm then while drawing the graph i know c is the y-intercept and m is the gradient.. but what is y and x?
  • ME: x and y are any items that we want to create a relationship... ok... it sounds a bit vague. Use the earlier example, u notice we want to describe a relationship between age and no. of cups of coffee?
  • ACE: yup
  • Loh: so, we let y represents no. of cups and x represents age. So, to describe how x and y are related there are some 'facts' (that could be discovered through research). So, people realised that when one gets older, the number of cups of coffee also increases so it becomes y (no. of cups) = a description times x (age)
  • ACE: hmm..
  • Loh: the description is 'how fast'
  • ACE: i see.
  • ME: so, maybe research shows that it's 0.05 times the age then we describe it as y = 0.05 x
  • ACE: so the relationship is the when y increases x also increases.
  • ME: yes....
  • GRACE: ooh
  • Loh: remember the graph of y = 0.05x is moving upwards (from left to right of the graph paper) so, it's a positive relationship hm... we can also describe something else like...
  • ACE: oh
  • ME: amount of hair one has... as one ages.... ok... this case, we'll have something like from the age of 40 to 100 so guess how the graph would look like if y represents the amount of hair and x represents the age (age starting from 40) hahahah.....
  • ACE: hm... what is m ?
  • ME: :) of course, we are not talking about exceptional cases like those who shave their head.... hm... m is to describe how fast the hair drops... hahahhha.... or the rate that hair grows?
  • ACE: ...... so i can replace it with any number?
  • ME: 'cos as one gets older... the rate of hair growth also significantly reduced :) ah... u can place it with any number... then test out to see if it's logical
  • ACE: hmm... y=20x ?
  • ME: but before that, we'll have to ask ourselves... is the number going to increase or decrease as age increases
  • ACE: ok
  • ME: hm... so, if you look at y = 20x. it means as one grows older, the amount of hair would increase? (this is true when we look at... starting from baby to around the age of 40?)
  • ACE: ok. So if we change 20 to -20?
  • ME: good suggestion :) - implies getting lesser and lesser... however we can't have negative number of hair on the head. Hahahha..... the most we could go to is zero hair
  • ACE: so decrease the number? oh
  • ME: :) so... hm... here, the y-intercept might come in useful
  • ACE: O_O then now what O_O
  • ME: use what you have... maybe we can try something like y = -20x + 400. we add the y-intercept to make the relationship more realistic so, if one is 10 years old, does he have any hair?
  • ACE: hmm yeah 200
  • ME: :)
  • ACE: oohhh
  • ME: so, by the age of 40.... haha... nothing's left.
  • ACE: yup
  • ME: so it could be a special scenario whereby someone was struck with some sickness
    and the equation could be used to describe the hair loss... which is, y = -20x + 400 well... this is a very simplistic way of describing relationships
  • ACE: i see thanks xD
  • ME: in real world... more complex... that's why we move into quadratic equations, etc....
    :) Enjoy :)
  • ACE: i see tyty! :D

Sent at 7:48 AM on Saturday

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Media Consortium - Useful Sites

Education Technology Trend-spotting Forum (22 September 2010)

The 2 invited speakers for the forum were Dr Larry Johnson and Dr Stephen Breslin

Some things that the 2 experts shared:
Larry Johnson, CEO, New Media Consortium

7 Patterns of Technology

1. Computing in 3 Dimensions

  • e.g. Models that are generated and only possible to create 'virtually' and not realisatic in real world.

2. Games in Reality

  • Learning moves through games (this has been adopted in some countries for military training).

3. Keyboards are for Old People

  • Observation of more youths are using sms than email to send messages.
  • Communication is no longer limited to devices that come with keyboards.
  • Speech-to-text is one technology that is likely to take off in the very near future.
  • Touch technology has become more ubiquitous - e.g. use of multi-touch surfaces as well as iPad.
  • On the other hand, I agree with what Larry shared: The choice of device really depends on the purpose and/ or the kind of activity one carries out. For instance, the iPad could be an ideal device for reading because of its portability and storage. On the other hand, a decent device like a tablet or a laptop would still be the more appropriate device when keying in lots of text (e.g. preparing a report) despite the fact that iPad comes with a (virtual) keyboard. Every device has its natural fit. Another example: While a phone would allow one to access pages of text or read information from the websites, however, when it comes to reading books of hundreds of pages, the iPad would probably be the choice.

4. The Machine is US

  • The latest development was showcased in the 2009 TED show (Sixth Sense Technology)
  • Personally, I think the Sixth Sense technology is amazing, and it definitely possesses lots of potential mobile (or outdoor) learning. In particular, the ease to access information and the 'portability' of 'devices'.

5. Collective Intelligence is the new knowledge

  • The example given was about citizen journalism - when news is no longer dependent on one source, but people become participative and contributes to the virtual community via various means and platforms (e.g. twitter, facebook).
  • Moreover the latest news does not necessary come from the news station or reporters, but could be reported by anyone out there. Especially first hand footages (videoclips, photos, etc)

6. The Network is Everywhere

  • Networks are created in multiple platforms; serving different purposes.
  • The point I gather from this point is, information is embedded everywhere; it's really up to one's creativity and resourcefulness to tap on the information around and turn them into knowledge.
  • This is clearly illustrated in the example about the use of the photos posted in Flickr to help 'define' the boundary of the country.
  • On the other hand, by analysing the photos posted at the various locations, and using the timestamps, experts could analyse the photos to study certain migration patterns.
  • Well, the examples are amazing, isn't it?

7. The People are the Network

  • It's about social networking, if I remember correctly.
  • Using Facebook as an example, again, it's about teasing useful related information from the network of responses. Hm... unfortunately but still, can't quite make out the link between the advantage of the looking through those who share the common interest (through the 'like' button') to teaching and learning yet.


Stephen Breslin, CEO of FutureLab

(a) Emerging Technology Trends

1. Continuation of Moore's Law

  • Massive decrease in cost and massive increase in computing power

2. Once per decade disruption

  • shift from networked to ubiquitous computing

3. Computing as BioScience

4. Cosmetic psycho-pharmacology

  • Smart drugs and cognitive enhancement

5. Invasive and non-invasive brain/machine interfaces

6. 3D printing and printable electronics

  • the capacity to print bespoke mechatronic devices

7. Artificial intelligence remains hard

  • Semantic web technology augments capacity of intelligent analysis and synthesis of information

8. Large scale systems of systems

  • complex system less well-understood, cost of failure increases

(b) Beyond Current Horizon (BCH)

Stephen also shared some of the implications of the findings from the research:

1. Education is a futures facing activity

  • assumptions about the future underpin all levels of education activity

2. Challenging Existing Assumptions

  • e.g. continued progress towards a universal technology-rich, global knowledge economy.

3. Explore alternative Future

  • Possible - what could be
  • Probable - what is likely to be
  • Preferable - what ought to be

4. Education futures work should aim to challenge assumptions rather than present defintive predictions

5. The future is not determined by its technology

6. Thinking about the future involves politics

7. Education has a range of responsibilities that need to be reflected in visions of its future.

In a way, I fully agree with the point that we need to challenge the assumptions - the assumptions of how future looks like, and what is needed in the future - in terms of the skill sets that's needed for survival in the future. When the set of 21st century skills were drawn up, it's based on the trends and the 'extraplotted' 'predications' which are based on our experiences. So, how close is it going to be?

On the other hand, Stephen also reminded us that "We are the Agents of our Own Future". So, we determine how the future looks like, what the future needs... and then we engineer it accordingly.

Haha... well, both points seem to contradict each other a little, but also complement each other!

Another important reminder from him... I thought it was very useful: The emphasis should be "What makes good learning" rather than looking at technology. Fully agree! We could have the best technology in hand, however, without sound pedagogy, it would not be able to put to good use to bring about the desirable change or impact. So, its success still lies in the hands of the curriculum designer!

He also gently shared the UK government's effort in building schools of the future - the key to the entire exercise is... People Matters - Practice and Mindset determine what changes and eventually unfolds - in terms of the learning experiences of the learners.

3 challenges were posted:

  1. Should education continue to be organised around the unit of the individual learner?
  2. Should schools retain its dominant position in assumptions about educational futures?
  3. Should preparation for competition within a knowledge economy remain a primary goal for education?

Creating the Digital Divide

Quote directly from Wikipedia:
The digital divide refers to the gap between people with effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access at all. It includes the imbalance both in physical access to technology and the resources and skills needed to effectively participate as a digital citizen. knowledge divide, both reflecting the access of various social groupings to information and knowledge, typically gender, income, race, and by location.

"Digital Divide" was first used to describe the gap, the difference in terms of accessibility to technology. I think it started off as a comparison between countries where technology - in terms of availability and accessibility to computing devices; and it's more often than not, between developed and developing countries.

Lots of effort have been put in to narrow the digital divide - philanthropic organisations and even technology companies to come up with solutions for countries that face issues like electricity so that children are not deprived from access to technology and the world wide web.

On the other hand, today, digital divide no longer just refers to the provision and accessibility of the devices or internet, it's looking at how technology is deployed and how it is used!

Indeed, I think we are now at a juncture - to widen or to narrow the "digital divide".
At least 2 things to look into, in terms of addressing to today's "digital divide" - How we use technology, in particular, our learners; and What devices are we using?

To remain ahead of the rest... I guess, one has no choice, but to create the "digital divide"...

What's Next in the classroom????

Attended a talk 2 days ago.

2 leading experts in educational technology were invited to give talk about their views on the progress and direction of future technology use in teaching and learning.

Well, I guess many of us are hoping that they could share with us what they glaze through the crystal ball.
Hm... somehow, personally, I could not quite get the answer... maybe we are at the 'future' technological world?

Indeed, about 20 years ago, client-based application was the emerging 'technology', and we looked for innovative ways to use them in schools - as productivity tool, primarily in the early years before a more important 'role' came clear - to benefit the learners' experience.

When IT was first introduced to school (ok... let's put the subject "Computer Applications" aside), it's a novelty, especially when introduced to the academic staff. (Apart from the senior management) The administrative dept was the first to have access, the first to use the email system. When email was first introduced to the academic staff , only the selected few (think no more than 5) were given the email account. Ha! Still remember that kind of "privileged" look my colleague wore on her face. The rest of us? Hm... that envy look. Oh, I only received my email account almost together with the rest. That was when IT was first introduced to the academic staff - through email.

Then through the 1st Masterplan, when internet use was still at the infancy stage (at schools), client-based applications was at the centre-stage. "Teacher-centred" way of using technology was encouraged and the 'trailblazers' were the one who took the lead to use in classrooms. By then, LCD projectors started to make their way to every classroom.

The "Client-based applications" reign lasted for long, and it faced a challenge - to cope with the need for widespread accessibility; and eventually we turned to networked technology. The internet suddenly became so accessible to everybody in the school (but... not quite yet for students). Of course, a handful of schools also started experimenting 1-to-1 computing environment. There were successful cases, there were those who decided to return to the where most schools were, due to challenges.

It was almost a 10 good years before Web 2.0 applications to take centre-stage. I think, there are lots of push factors for this is due to global changes. It's a recogition of the way today's learners learn, and what they are prepared for. Now, in many schools, it's not difficult to hear about web 2.0 technologies playing a role in classrooms. While we are now immersing, 'enjoying' and leveraging on the features and capabilities of web 2.0 environment, the question is... What's next?

Networked technology is here to stay. No matter what. Even if we are moving away from the computer.
It's about "CONNECTEDNESS"... whether via the computer, the mobile phone... or any devices.
It's so powerful.

Somehow, from the talk, "Social Network" seems to be the next wave... OK, we know that social networking platforms like Facebook, Ning, MySpace have made their presence felt and they are growing in an unimaginable rate. But, really, how to leverage such a platform for learning... When I say learning, I'm referring to we are able to capture that process and learners can revisit, to recap what they go through and apply the content generated to their tests or exams. OK, I might sound 'narrow'... there's so much to learn from, learn with and learn through the social network. The benefits is a whole long list... well, back on 'earth', back in 'school', at the end of the day, we want something that is also tangible... er... 'concrete' in some sense.

So, are we expecting to see "Social Network" going to be the predominant technology in the learning environment in the next couple of years to come?

Hm... I think, it would be nice to see examples of lessons leveraging on this environment to value-add the learning experience... I think I'm looking at 'direct benefits'...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Experimenting with ProjectLive3D

Chanced upon this website:
I think it's a research tool. To participate, one just need a Google Account.

Pretty interesting... and definitely exciting for the user because we know that we are contributing to the construction of the 3-dimensional look of the map!

To do this, one needs a photo of a building/ structure. Then identify area to be 'mapped' onto the googlemap. Pretty easy to do.

As for teaching and learning, it's still quite obvious for meaningful integration, although we would usually thought of Geogaphy (because of GoogeMap/Earth) and Mathematisc (because it deals with shapes).

The next step is... to find a natural fit into the subject topic...

Talking Postcards - Lesson Ideas

Got this idea when attended a ICT-related session in the Hongkong University, where the speaker shared the use of some simple tools for language learning.

I can't quite remember the actual activity being shared... but certainly, it's got to do with Mac applications like Photo Booth or iPhoto's album.

Anyway, a few ideas generated from this... that I thought would be useful for Language learning, for obvious reasons...

Activity 1: Building Vocabulary List
  • Possible subject implementation: Any subjects that could have a list of new words that students should master (the use of the subject language).
  • E.g. English Language, Mother Tongue Language, History, Geography, Science, ADMT and Mathematics.
  1. In this activity, each student would learn a new word/ phrase/ idiom/ proverbs, etc (that could be related to a topic or a genre).
  2. He/She would find out the meaning of the word, figure out the pronunication of the word and an example how this word could be used in (various) contexts.
  3. He/She would also find a picture that could depict the meaning of the word.
  4. Using KeyNote (or something equivalent), student could add text (i.e. the explanation of word) to the picture. Convert the final picture (with text) to an image.
  5. Using QuickTime Player, he/she could record the following: Pronunication of the word, read out the meaning (which is already added to the image) and verbally describe an example how the word could be used.
  6. Using iMovie, the end product (clips) from all students could be compiled to become a "thematic vocabulary" book. Alternatively, each clip could be uploaded into a blog which is delicated for this topic. Hence it could be a compilation.

When the end product is posted online or compiled as a final movie clip, it could be shared so that everyone could have access learn from each other (coooperative learning).

An added advantage of posting in the blog is where they could also further explain the words (when need to) or add examples to the help each other understand even better.

Activity 2: Reading/Oral Activity

  • The activity gets students to describe pictures, which is one component in the language oral examination.
  • Possible Subject Implementation: English Language, Mother Tongue Languages
  1. Given a picture (e.g. a postcard), students to describe it according to the key areas outlined by the teacher (the scaffold).
  2. Students to identify 5 key words (e.g. adjectives or verbs) that are significant in the description.
  3. Using KeyNote (or something equivalent), student could add text (i.e. the explanation of word) to the picture. Convert the final picture (with text) into an image.
  4. Using QuickTime Player, he/she could record the description of the postcard.
  5. Using iMovie, the end product (clips) from all students could be compiled to become a 'talking' picture book. Alternatively, each clip could be uploaded into a blog which is delicated for this topic. Hence it could be a compilation.

When the end product is posted online or compiled as a final movie clip, it could be shared so that everyone could have access learn from each other (coooperative learning).

An added advantage of posting in the blog is where they could also further explain the words (when need to) or add examples to the help each other understand even better.

Online Resources from Singapore NLB

Received a circular on the databases that NLB recently rolled out nationwide. What I like was, it's so generous that it doesn't even require any login at all!

The resources are very rich (as I mentioned to my colleagues)... and we could get something for almost all the subjects.

What I marvel was the archives of newspapers articles, dated back to the 1800s! Wow! Way before Singapore's independence.

In fact, I think, the newspapers archive would definitely set a very authentic stage/ context for our students as they go through what happened in THOSE SIGNIFICANT dates!
  • For instance, I pull out 2 articles on the day just after Singapore declared independent! The emotions, the reactions from the different parties. Hey, our learners could really immerse in the emotions! And at the same time, 'hear' the different perspectives.
  • Also, with the exact date of significant events happening in Singapore, we could read and have a good picture of the day! An example could be the riots that happen in Singapore!

The generous sharing of the images/ pictures are definitely going to benefit the Humanities learning - not just history, but also geography - the changes in the landscapes, etc.

For English

  • Think about the recent topic on "Advertisement"! Let's compare what was the 'style' of advertisement as compared to what we have nowadays!
  • Of course, also the use of Headlines... to reflect emotions in writing, etc.

It's so hard to find good information about Singapore on the Internet!

National Online Repository of the Arts (NORA)
Digitalised works in the literary, performing and visual arts by prominent Singapore artists
A fully searchable online archive of Singapore news which offers users access to a host of newspaper titles, dating back to 1831
Singapore Digitised Books
NLB's rare collection and British Library's Oriental & India Office Collection

Singapore Infopedia
An online encyclopedia of Singapore places, people and customs

Singapore National Album of Pictures (SNAP)
A Singapore image bank which is open to Flickr, allowing users to post their own images

Web Archive Singapore (WAS)
Reflects Sinagpore life on the web, capturing websites of historical value

No login is required for the above.
Check out the
National Library Board Website!

NLB's eResources offer access to an impressive collection of eDatabases and eBooks covering every possible subject area from a global perspective.
NLB eResources are available FREE to all who register at

Reference Point: NLB's remote reference enquiry service provides answers to queries, suggest search strategies and guide you to relevant and useful resources.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Information Management

A couple of weeks ago, in one of the presentations to the group of visitors, I was asked,
"How do your students manage so many blogs that they created or they needed to access for learning?"

Well, it's a good question. Especially for those of us find it challenging to keep track of the many webpages out there. Oh, what's more we are talking about managing information related to learning! So, simple bookmarking the pages is no longer enough to help manage the information generated.

Let's recall how do we manage information in those good old days:
  • Information is organised as chapters in books.
  • Within the chapter there are pages.
  • We can also insert physical bookmarks to indicate where we stop 'halfway'.

In the early days when we start using computers:

  • Information is organised in files (be it word document, spreadsheet, powerpoint presentation, PDF Files, etc)
  • Then we organise related files in folders (which is equivalent to assembling as a book).
  • Even when it comes to webpages, we tend to organise with the Site Map which goes by "Chapters" (i.e. sections).

When it comes to web 2.0 technology, the use of tags and labels has started to replace specific pages to organise information. For instance, when it comes to blogs, one good way to organise related posts would be using labels.

Indeed, we discussed about this in our subject preparation time because the subject uses the blog regularly for learning activities throughout the year. Posts of various natures are put up - exercise, quizzes, information, students' work. As the posts are arranged in chronological order, so it is kind of challenging to adopt the conventional way of grouping the different kinds of posts.

So, labeling comes in very handy! Each post could be labelled with the topic first. In this case, when we filter, we would be able to surface all the posts related to the particular topic. This would be quite similar to what we 'traditionally' get :) Apart from this, we could also label students' work differently (e.g. eLearning Activity 1). In this way, we could easily siever out those work we are looking out for - for checking or discussion :)

It's a whole new way of organising information :)


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sharing by ADE @ SOTA on 16 Sep 2010

Something gathered from the 2-hour session...

Through creative arts, students able to express ideas differently.

Example 1:
Action Trailer "workpiece" by student
  • animation, accompanied by similar-to "Mission Impossible" sound track
  • Movie import into Garageband

Example 2: "Lively" storybook
Turn book into scripts... and turn into movie
  • Students write the script, then they narrate story
  • 'insert' real characters (students) into 'environment' (drawn background)
  • Students acted out the characters, expressions
Example 3: Splat Painting
Student being a "weather forecaster"... as they comment, the background - world map 'weather indications' changes, charts as background to make their reading/ narration meaningful.
  • Why do you choose to do a splat painting?
  • What emotions do you portray in your painting?
  • What colours did you use in your painting?
  • What do the colours represent?
Example 4: Creating Digital Children Storybook
  • Children's book published into a iMovie
  • Students' drawing + narration .... turn into a story book
  • Given a topic, students carry out research and put their findings into a story. They then draw pictures to express it in the form of story. Then, using iMovie to record the pictures, with narration - end product: Digital story book
Example 5: "I Miss Home" by Maya & Zoe
  • Students play (guitar) and sing the poem... composition of music to express themselves
  • Applications: Garageband
Changing a Move's Genre
Activity: Use iMovie to change the genre of the Horton Hears a Who trailer.

Example 6:
Origins: Humans explain their origins in different ways
  • Idea: Interviewer... interviewing people all over the world about their religion.
  • Start with the globe, map from Singapore to the various countries - interviewer to interviewee (dressed in the traditional attire), with image representative of country.
Some Thoughts:

1. Useful for language subjects... in terms of contextualising the conversation or text

2. Does the teacher really need to know how to use the software? Or is knowing what features available and the affordances would be enough? ...
(to be continued...)
Continue... (18 Sep)

3. The examples were work by students that take hours to come up with the end-product.

What do I gather from these works?

  • Students definitely love to work with media applications - which is the same regardless primary school kids or the secondary teenagers.
  • On the other hand, how much time to be devoted into the production is considered as being reasonable, and not taken up too much time from the learning - curriculum-related knowledge and skill acquisition process? I wonder.
  • What's the emphasis of the learning? I think it depends on the key understanding and skills of "that" subject or topic.
  • Apart from the multimedia aspects, what else & how else have they done differently with other applications? I would love to know...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

New Media in Education Fiesta (20100907, Day 2)

Signed up for the workshop at 8 am.
It's the first time attending a virtual workshop... I guess it would be a good opportunity to experience it before moving on to consider 2nd life as a possible learning space.

Indeed, this notion first appeared in 2009 Term 1 when we were working on some publicity stuff for the school... considering it's a 'hip' thing... nevertheless, after some considerations, the idea was withheld.

The workshop I signed up this morning... "Use of Collaborative Tagging through Diigo to Promote Independent Online Research amongst Student" by Alicia Poo Peng Peng (

Thought this would be the first "window" to open - to learn how others have used SecondLife in Teaching & Learning (This is precisely my objective of participating in this whole event). Synposis from the NMiEF event at
  • This paper investigates the potential of using Diigo to encourage interdependent online research among Economics students through the use of collaborative tagging.
  • The prevalent rise of various information repository and social networking platforms such as Google, Facebook and Moodle has provided vast opportunities for collaborative and interactive learning for both educators and learners of the current era.
  • Simultaneously, the tremendous rate at which knowledge and information has grown for the past decade has been astounding.
  • This poses challenge for any serious learner or researcher who wants to continually engage in research to renew his or her knowledge and keep abreast of the latest empirical developments and observations in relation to what is acquired theoretically.
  • The need to effectively sift out, organise and archive critical updated information is even more significant for A-Level Economics students who require supporting real world data, facts and observation for rigorous essays’ analysis.
  • Given the tight curriculum and the numerous commitment faced by a typical junior college student, researching into every topic of relevant interest for Economics is impractical and results in wastage due to the duplication of research efforts.
  • Hence, this has brought us to examine the possibility of exploiting the Diigo platform for a collaborative research experience that maximises research efforts and outcomes among students.
  • This research project explores how the Diigo platform offering the online tools for quick annotation, highlight, archival and the adding of sticky notes of comments directly to online research materials fosters a social information network rich in collaborative research and self directed learning.
Now... awaiting for the lecture to begin (6:36 am)

  • Introduction to Diggo Platform
  • Research Problem
  • Implementation
  • Research Outcomes & Recommendation

What is Diggo?

  1. Convenient Highlight Feature on Online Activities
  2. Add a Sticky note feature on Online Activities
  3. Tagging Feature of Online Articles to Enable Efficient Archival and Faster Retrieval

Why is there a need to promote interdependent online research among economics students?

  • A comparison between the use of Google and Diigo
  • Teacher's observation:
  • The school compiles all relevant and important theories and examples for us, personal research is not important.
  • Even if research is necessary, I thnk it is more efficient ot conduct it personally.
  • Most essays written by students are theoretical
  • Students carry out research in an adhoc manner
  • Lack of organisation
  • Absence of sharing & collaboration for research efforts among students

Tapping on selected features of Diigo

  • Research: Annotate. Archive. Organize
  • Group Knowledge Repository: Share & Comment
  • Personal Learning Network: interact with others on content of interest

Implementation Approach

  • Identification of topics (that students need to research on)
  • List of prescribed websites

Findings of Research

  1. Majority of students engage in little or no research (self directed/ mutual) despite knowing the importance of research
  2. A high proportion of students (about 70%) will use the group repository for major exams like A Level
  3. Most significant factors hindering intent and effort for mutual research


Think this is a platform worth exploring. In fact, think it has high potential and relevance in our context, especially when it comes to managing online materials... will follow-up on this :)

Monday, September 06, 2010

New Media in Education Fiesta (20100906, Day 1)

organised by Innova Junior College

Was quite excited over this event as it gives me the opportunity to 'wonder' in SecondLife. Haha... it was as if I don't already have one! (Indeed, I think I spend more time online than talking, in any day... unless I have no internet access! Oops! Yes, one could say, I'm addicted to the Internet... as I hop in not just for work, also for my leisure).
3 of us (Aurelius, Aidil & me) attended the same event.

Keynote 1: Learning in the Digital Age (by Erin Reilly)

Synposis from
This talk will examine students’ daily practices situated within their learning ecologies and hence are dynamically interrelated to their existing conditions, infrastructures of place, and technologies. Although the classroom and interaction among teachers and learners is at the core of this ecology, research has shown that adults’ and kids’ worlds are co-constituted, suggesting that school, after-school, home, and online places are all organic parts of the ecosystem. There will be discussion on how the focus of literacy has changed from individual expression to community involvement where creative manifestation and active participation are the hallmark.

Some key points gathered from the talk:

(A) A framework was presented:

It describes the 3 stages that one would go through when given ubiquitous access to others (via the internet, when they are soically connected). The way they interact has changed. The purpose would evolved. It's like progressing from a novice stage to an amateur stage.

(B) Next is something we heard over and over again in the recent years, the change in the way 'routines' are carried out...

  • Reading a Book VS Reading a Trans-Media

  • Writing Alone VS Networked Writing

  • Memorising Formula VS Gaming as Problem Solving

Indeed, this is very true.

  • Take reading as an example. "Books" are no longer just limited to text and images when technology comes into the picture. Take the Channel NewsAsia website that I like to go to. There are videoclips (snippets from the TV news), there is polling features when sometimes they wanted to get feedback from the reader. There is also distribution feature where the reader could further broadcast selected articles to the others via other platforms like Facebook or Twitter. So, the entire 'reading' experience has changed. The reader is no longer passive, but could also play an active role to respond according to his/her own opinion.

  • Writing activities have certainly evolved from "self proprietory" to "shared and collaboration". Writing on a piece of paper has allowed one to "own" the full ownership - the creation. However, often it's one-perspective usually. With technology, I guess, the first stage of evolution took place was the introduction of "comments" features with the word processor. The first step to make it interactive, when someone could respond to the writer - to correct or to comment. The next turning point, I think is the idea of collaborative writing was made possibly through wiki! There, the collaboration, the building-on each others' thinking takes place in a borderless manner. Multiple readers, multiple-respondents (writers). One no longer in full control of the writing, the direction of the writing could just change because of the different perspectives and background, experiences that each writer brings to the 'table'. Nowadays, it's no longer just 'wiki', but many Web 2.0 tools that could facilitate networked writing in various look-and-feel.
(C) Project New Media Literacies (NML):

The project was introduced to the participants. Its key focus is on the 4Cs. Connect. Communicate. Create. Collaborate.

(D) Question: "Conservative with Content" VS "Radical" in approach

A photo of the entrance to the school computer lab/ library with a notice pasted on the door was shown to the participants. It read:

"Social Networking Sites (e.g. MySpace, Facebook) is no longer available on this Friday"

Haha... does that sound familiar?

  • So, is there anything wrong with this message?
  • What was the motivation behind this action?
  • What's the impact going to be like?
  • What's the reaction(s) from the students?
  • Does this really 'solve' the 'problem'

Lots of questions crossed our minds, isn't it? It goes back to... Social Networking is here to stay... So, how do we 'live in peace' with it and leverage on what it could bring to our everyday life.

Indeed, we recently 'blocked' Facebook because students were indulged in it... and have been 'dropping' by to play games. But this is only to buy time to educate the users. In fact, if we continue to 'block' everything, we are always in the firefighting end and it's bound to be a losing battle. No worth spending the time and effort in this.

(F) Participatory Learning Characteristics

The following diagram shows the 5 elements essential for participatory learning:

Indeed, if we look at it... it's commonsensical... for today's learning, we recognise that "Partcipatory learning" makes up the major mode of learning.

  • Authenticity: This has been something we emphasize alot in the school's approach - the connectedness - not just linking to real world (i.e. the environment), but also linking to oneself. This connection bridges the meaning of learning to what's intended for the learner.

  • Creativity: I forget who Erin Reilly spoke about "Creativity"... I think, creativity comes from both teacher and the learner. The teacher no longer can hold on to the old toolkit - the same 'strategies' used to deliver a lesson does not necessary bring out the desired (expected) impact/ effect that he/she would see in a conventional classroom. Indeed, if we look at cooperative learning strategies - it could be seen as a 'bridge' (of teaching strategies) of the old way (downloading mode) to today's preferred mode (interaction and collaboration). However, that set of strategies have to be modified in order to leverage on the environment. The same 'old' Cooperative Strategies have to change in order to fit into the technologically-pervasive environment. Hence, it calls for the teachers' creativity to create a new learner experience. Apart from this, because of the new environment and approach, learners are given more space and more stimulas to be even more creative :)

  • Co-configured Expertise: Teachers are no longer the sole knowledge provider. No... and I think there's no point for us to retain much of the theories we learnt in our head. These knowledge now are so easily available out there. So, what's the role of the teacher? Yes, that's why in recent years, the role of teachers has slowly (though not fully successful) to become facilitators - the one who show the learners the direction, provide the scaffold for them to seek the knowledge and construct knowledge. Well, expect the learners to be even smarter than who we are... so, what we could bring to this entire experience is our experience and foresightedness.

  • Motivation & Engagement - putting the right pieces together - the attitudes, the capabilities and setting the right context, that pitch at the right level. That motivates and engages. Imagine, when we talk about statistics and trends, use everyday examples that they are FAMILIAR with so that they could make connection and participate... Stocks and Insurance matters are not in their radar screen yet.

  • Learning Ecosystem - I guess it's really about putting everything together to create the environment - physical and affective aspects, with the necessary support structure - that is conducive to bring about the processes, to cultivate the kind of culture.

(G) Are you a ... MEDIA MASTER?

Check out our "Global Kids"...

  • Remixer?
  • Gamer?
  • Blogger?
  • Social Networker?
  • Cell Phone Addict?

The skills needed in classroom vs the skills needed in the workplace. How aligned they are?

"Teaching of Skill does not matter. but the disposition"

Side note:
About the Experience - Well, this is the first SecondLife Talk that I attended... Though it is life, it's kind of funny to watch an avatar talking to the crowd. We could only 'feel' the presence of the speaker via the voice... there isn't much we could gather from the facial expression, the eye contact... these important elements are missing.


Keynote 2: Learning in New Media Blended Environments (by Dr Tan Beng Kiang)

Synposis: Learning does not just happen in classrooms in a teaching-centered paradigm. As educators, we know the importance of other modes of learning such as experiential learning, peer learning, collaborative leanring and the importantce of learning out of classroomswith field trips to different spatial context. With technological advancement of new media,

  • How do we leverage on it to enrich learning?
  • How do we "blend" new media to our physical space?
  • Is there a need for balance between learning in brick-and-mortar space and total virtual environment?
  • Is there a need for balance between high tech and high touch?

From the keynote:

1. Learning from passive to active (trends):

  • Collaborative learning
  • Experiential learning
  • Participatory/ Collective Learning

Spatial Context: different stimulas. With new media advancement:

  • 2D & 3D platforms
  • more affordable
  • more pervasive

  • 2D refers to platforms like blogs and facebook while 3D refers to platforms like WOW, SecondLife (social networking, commerce), Google Earth 3D (info)
  • Single user immersive virtual reality environment - Heritage
  • Multi-user online virtual world - Educational & Heritage (e.g. Forbidden City, Lourve Museum)

Some examples of collaborative learning:

1. Experiential Learning:

  • Sungei Buloh Wireless Trail
  • UNPC and barcode
  • Dr Tan commented that it has the right concept but encounters hardware issue; and therefore it was not natural. Indeed, technology distracts learning.

2. Experiential Engagement

3. Experimental Learning (Scenario)

  • Physical environment as live teaching materials
  • Imagine you can place 'invisible ost" of text, pictures or videos on real world buildings and objects

4. D-touch Visual Markers

  • The importance of being able to put down all points at the same time and organise ideas
  • participatory and collective
  • Connecting Physical and virtual space
  • Mirrored Message Wall: Social media to connect people at different geographical locations, a space for sharing collected thoughts

4. 3D AmiLab with GermaniumWeb

Last but not least...

  • Know WHAT to teach
  • Know HOW you teach
  • Know WHY you teach (goal)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Me in SecondLife

This is my very first avatar in SecondLife... haha... Have not done any touch-up yet... except changing the pair of shoes...

Looks pleasing, at least... with the dark long locks and that unbelievably tiny waist... except that it doesn't look Asian (which I still prefer that) haha... :)

Indeed, it isn't the first time I come across SecondLife. 2 years ago, there's this interest to explore the potential of SecondLife in Teaching and Learning. Think the Consultancy section introduced this to the Principals and at PD section, Soh Tin also took the lead to bring in Kenneth from NIE to introduce it to us. In fact, I have a blog post for this too! Sharing on 2nd Life & Pedagogical Benefits (10 Sep 2008)

It's a new move to explore learning... Guess there are lots of potential in it... except that we've yet found the right key to open the door that shows us how it could do in an effective, yet practical manner (which includes the amount of time and effort), making it worth every single cent and amount of effort put in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Geography Lesson @ S1-01: Demographic Transition Model

Attended the lesson by Aurelius this afternoon. It was the 2nd time... er I should say the 3rd time I heard about similar thing - Population Pyramid and the Demographic Transition Model (DTM). Thanks to James, too :) The preliminary introduction of the big topic during the meeting :)

The purpose is not just a lesson visit to see how lessons could be further sharpened, but also for us to learn and possibly surface good classroom practices. Hence, it's also part of my learning journey :)

The lesson started off by helping students to understand what it meant by "Trend". I was still quite puzzle over why the teacher needed to take length to explain the word. Well, I think that's where I learnt that it's important to explain the words with a relevant context even though it might be just a simple word.

For example, in Maths, we ask students to observe trends or patterns established by numbers. However, in this subject, to describe a trend, it's more than words, but in broad areas like "form", "functionalities". It seems to be a different kind of 'animal' in another subject.

1. Understanding of Trend... with Phone as an example

The Form
  • "Old phones are bulkier and newer phones are much more smaller and light"
  • TR: What else do you see in the outlook?
  • The screens of the newer phone gets bigger.
  • The old phone - keypads are big big while the new ones touch touch
  • The new ones are more stylish ?
  • Nowadays have lots of functions like internet... now only can call
2. Next, looking at Population Pyramid:

So, there were so much to get out of the population pyramid!
Not just superificial information based on comparison of the bars. There were so much to get out of it, when breaking the pyramid into 3 tiers!

Here were some questions and responses. Indeed, I was impressed by some of the questions and responses from the students :)

  • TR: Tell me what's the birth rate like for Congo?
  • High Infant mortality rate
  • TR: What group are we talking at the middle tier?
  • Death Rate.
  • Ties back to the field work out there
  • Harsh brought up a possible observation (which could probably be used to argue about the trend) that it could be in the past that the birth rate was not that high. Hence, resulting the concave shape
Next, by comparing the birth rate of India and Congo; both countries have high birth rate; but India's might not be as high

Another question was asked:
Which group actually has a larger group of people in the society working?
  • For India, the change of population from one group to another (upwards) is quite minimal, as compared to Congo.
  • By comparing the "tip" of each pyramid, one is able to tell people from which country live longer.
Other observations of low birth rate:

  • Because living standard is high, and therefore have less children.
  • Does it mean that in a develop country, the country will spend less in infant or children?
  • The parents tend to spend more money on the children because they have less children.
  • So, it doesn't necessary mean there's less money spend on infants.

Into the next activity, which was to draw distinguishing features of both developed and less developed countries throuh 3 pictures (which broadly focused on transport, standard of living and infrastructure). I think it would be easier for students to remember if these 3 broad areas were articulated at the start of the task. Some responses from students include:

  • The road is pretty rough and that means the government might have spent less money in its infrastructure.
  • The picture with a truck carrying more people - Soh Fan: Because the population was very dense. The crowd in the tiny truck. So, it means that they don't have money to spend on taxis.
  • Ziying: Why is it that while the country is poor, there's such high birth rate
  • Mayur: It's because the survival rate of their children is low

Moving on to the Demographic Transition Model

Here's an interesting explanation about the DTM?

  • Stage 1: High birth rate & High Death Rate (e.g. tribal society)
  • Stage 2: With a bit of technology, but people still cling to their culture... better living, better food... need people to work... so still high population, and birth rate start to grow
  • Stage 3: Start to have stage 3, death rate has dropped... death rate is low... however, birth rate starts to drop
  • Stage 4: Standard of living has gone up, people also doesn't want to bear so much children.