Learning for an Innovative Generation with Handheld Technology (L.I.G.H.T.)
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Explain flipped classroom. What devices your school used?
Flipped classroom is a method we introduced and advocated to the classes from 2013 in line with our school’s e-learning strategy. Teachers use the class blogs or otherwise to dish out learning sites and resources online to their classes to help teach specific concepts meant to be discussed at the forthcoming lessons. So students get a headstart in learning before the lessons and class time is more productively spent in clarifying concepts and group processing which is important for situating the learning in cognitive as well as social context. An estimated 10-20% of teachers or classes use this strategy regularly. We aim to raise this to 50% teachers and classes using this strategy on a regular basis (at least twice a week).
Currently, classes use school laptops for this purpose while on site. Students will use their computers at home for prior & follow-up learning.
What aspect of cyberwellness is being taught to educate the students? In terms of learning ropes, how do we know that we are doing well?
MOE has introduced a comprehensive cyberwellness curriculum which we are adopting. We have also enhanced it through our ICT curriculum as well as other teachable moments. In 2014, we intend to strengthen the cyberwellness education by focusing on ‘Responsible use of technology’ as part of our Citizenship Education (or CCE curriculum).
P6 is not chosen this year due to PSLE. What will happen to the P5 classes that are selected this year when they are promoted to P6? Isn't it too short for them to familiarise with the iPADs?
While it is too late to introduce LIGHT to P6 to encourage Self-Directed Learning (SDL) and Collaborative Learning (CoL), the introduction of LIGHT to P5 APEX classes should not see a high ability of the students to cope with the steep learning curve. In fact, our observation is that the usually the kids take to technology like ducks to water. It is the teacher who will find it a challenge to direct the excitement to useful learning. That is the reason why we start small and with teachers most comfortable to try.
We believe that the upper primary students need to learn to leverage on mobile technologies to participate in productive learning (including SDL & CoL) so that they can reach higher peaks of excellence in P6 and beyond. We imagine our P5 to move on to P6 being more engaged because they now have the ability to find the resources to help them understand anything taught in class and expected for the PSLE (especially Science) syllabus. Furthermore, we expect our P5 students to aspire to enter secondary schools to excel and be comfortable with SDL and CoL with technology; eventually surpassing the expectations of the secondary schools and excelling.
How much of the curriculum time is being used?
Part of the strategy of APEX2 (programme for high progress students) is Academic Accelaration (AA). The introduction of LIGHT (ipad) will complement another strategy Progressive Pedagogy (PP) of the APEX2. Giving the students the power to learning at their own pace (which is faster than their peers in the same cohort) as well as the power to process / create new learning through mobile computing device will support out Edge Enhancement (EE) and eXcellent eXperience (XX) strategy. We believe all these will involve an expected 15-25% of curriculum time used even though the benefits will permeate the entire upper primary curriculum. (think of how a student can visit and revisit a youtube alone and with friends on the concept of ‘preposition’ as an example.) Considering all the benefits, the time ‘wasted’ should be well worth it.
If a parent is not convinced with this initiative, will the child be pressured to buy the iPAD?
We will take a poll for each class. If 80% of children’s parents support (i.e. less than 8 child not having ipads) the initiative, we will go full force into LIGHT for the class – aim for at least 25% of lessons using ipad. This will include Outdoor Lessons. In fact, we will assume that those who do not have their ipads to make do somehow and feel comfortable enough to consider the benefits as the class continues to show how it can be done productively.
Should there be only between 50-80% support, we will take a slower and more measured approach in our teaching and learning. The programme will still go on for the class for the sake of the children who believe in trying this with the teacher. However, we will use the benefits and the enrichment empowerment to persuade more parents to eventually come on board over one or two terms. Should there be less than 50% of support, we will scale this down further accordingly. However, we will open up and take a poll of the other APEX class and see if we have sufficient support to form a class to do this either as APEX2 enrichment or core curriculum (during curriculum time).
Students in APEX classe who do not buy the iPADs, will they be shifted to another class?
Based on Q5, we have not made any decision on the matter but we want everyone to be comfortable with the pace and structure of learning.
For PSLE, isn't written work better than using iPADs?
Ipads are not used to replace written work. Instead, they are meant empower our children for Self-Directed Learning and Collaborative Learning as well as continue to support persistence in learning through the personalised device. Written work will still be used where necessary (e.g. composition writing). However, much of the learning is about cognitive connection and reconstruction (e.g. mindmapping or Prezi). For Science for example, the power to access explanations as they are being discovered and discussed will speed up the understanding of concepts and allow students to apply their new-found knowledge in more meaningful ways.
What is the minimum requirements to buy the iPAD? Space? GB? Do you dictate the vendor for the parents to buy the iPADs?
Students who already have iPads that meet the base requirement will not need to purchase new devices. The recommended specification minimally should be iPad 2, 16 Gig Wifi running iOS 8. The school is working with a partner to facilitate parents/guardian in the purchase of the devices however parents/guardian are free to make purchases on their own from any reputable vendor.
Parents are also highly encouraged to purchase the AppleCare+ as it will cover at least part if not all of any repair cost for the device.
Can we use Edusave to buy the iPADs?
Edusave was created for a different purpose, for enrichment courses not normally accessible to students without the resources. The rules of Edusave do not allow the use of the money for purchases of laptops or other devices.