5 ways tech has changed learning in schools

Warning ― you might feel envious that junior’s school experience has improved by leaps and bounds since your time!

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Gone are the days when students had to squint to figure out the words their teachers were scribbling on multiple transparencies. Blurry overhead projectors have given way to digital teaching tools called visualisers. The advent of technology is allowing teachers to use sophisticated tools like YouTube videos to breathe life into the way they teach and even to reach out to their students.

In fact, smartphones and tablets, which were once banned in schools are fast becoming a classroom essential. Schools like Nan Chiau Primary allow students to use smartphones and tablets to access its seamless learning network to continue their learning even after lessons have ended.

Learning has also become a lot more portable, thanks to advancements in both hardware and software.

Making the most of what technology has to offer in our classrooms is a step towards meeting Singapore’s goal of becoming Smart Nation. This includes making effective use of different information and communication technology (ICT) tools like apps, websites and gadgets in schools. ICT has already had a profound impact on the way your kiddo is being taught in his school today. Here’s how:

1) Mobile learning
WHAT Move aside textbooks and workbooks, ubiquitous smartphones have become indispensable tools in helping students learn more. Learning has also become a lot more portable, thanks to advancements in both hardware and software.
WHERE Nanyang Girls High School has invested in 150 iPads for students and teachers to allow them to download books and class material. Ngee Ann Secondary teachers use an iPad app to produce digital music for music lessons.

2) Project work and collaborations
WHAT The wide array of cloud-based software like Google Documents and Presentation is also pushing mobile learning. Students can easily collaborate with their peers anywhere, anytime as long as they have WiFi. Also, storing information virtually frees them from having to lug around laptops, or worse, be tied down by desktops!
WHERE Schools of higher learning like polytechnics and universities.

3) Changing teacher’s roles
WHAT Teachers are fast becoming facilitators in the learning process, instead of acting as the source. The use of technology in education has enabled teachers to hone their student’s problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
WHERE Student researchers at the Singapore University of Technology and Design’s water treatment laboratory test out their cybersecurity solutions in order to protect the facility from cyberattacks.

4) Changing the way teachers teach
WHAT Teachers are identifying, creating and sharing various effective teaching resources with each other on social media platforms.
WHERE Teachers at Ngee Ann Secondary are using Facebook to engage students to create ideas for classroom discussion.

5) Making learning as attractive as gaming
WHAT Online gaming has legions of fans, thanks to incentives like unlocking an achievement or clearing a level. Increasingly, too, schools are integrating games into their curriculum to engage their students.
WHERE Students at Fuhua Primary use the Scratch program to learn how to code as well as to program, so that they can create animation and games.

Expect many more changes to come as Singapore focuses its sights on realising its goal of being a Smart Nation. Nevertheless, the changes in classroom technology will help your young ’uns be better prepared for new careers of the future.

Photo: iStock

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