Creating Holistic Technology-Enhanced Learning Experiences: Tales from a Future School in Singapore

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Aproximaciones conceptuales y perspectivas internacionales pp. Mino y Davila editores al. Buenos Aires. Educational Practice and Theory 34 1 Innovation and the Future of Education. Towards New Learning Networks. Learning Spaces. Provocation Paper Collection. Croydon Local Authority. What if? Transforming Schools for the Future.

Creating Holistic Technology-Enhanced Learning Experiences (Record no. 16992)

Personalising Learning through Spatial Re-design. Krumsvik ed.

Digital Education: The future of learning

You would be amazed by the quality of some of the art work that is being produced by our students. At Teck Whye Primary School, students are introduced to design thinking concepts, using 3D printing technologies to bring their projects to life.

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We have adjusted the system for different aptitudes and paces of learning. While streaming in schools — the old EM1, EM2 and EM3 system --did achieve the objective of lowering attrition rates, it also had the effect of too sharply categorising students at an early stage and did not sufficiently allow for the fact that different students may have strengths in different subjects. So in its place, we introduced differentiated learning, which recognises that different children have different strengths and also learn different subjects at different paces.

At secondary school, the Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical streams cater for the different talents, strengths and abilities of the students.

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We have now also extended SBB to cover both the lower and upper secondary levels. We also have many more subjects and many more subject combinations. In our Institutions of Higher Learning, we now also have subjects which were unknown to parents when they were in school.

ITE offers a Higher Nitec in Games Art and Design: where you can learn how to create unforgettable characters, and entire virtual worlds! And our students are so good - they created games that ended up being finalists in showcases like the Tokyo Game Show TGS. In addition to all of these, we have created multiple pathways to success.


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Post-secondary, we now have ITE with three campuses, five polytechnics, and six Autonomous Universities. The end result of that report was more applied learning; more career options, and more career progressions. We established the Polytechnic Foundation Programme for early entry into polys, and the ITE Work-Learn Technical Diploma so that students can undergo apprenticeships and study at the same time.

When students graduate, they can continue to learn, making use of their SkillsFuture credits, or attend part-time courses. In the last few years, we have added three new publicly-funded applied universities: SUTD —for engineering, computing and architecture, SIT —for science and technology and SUSS —for the social sciences.

So, there are many different ways to reach an ultimate goal: you can go the academic route from secondary to JC to university; to polytechnic then work, or attend ITE and work through the Work-Learn Technical Diploma. You can also go to ITE, then polytechnic, then university, or go to polytechnic, work, and then move on to university or other professional certifications. There are multiple permutations. Minister Ong also recently announced, at the ITE graduation ceremony on 3rd July, that working adults will be able to apply to polytechnics via the Early Admissions Exercise from onwards.

This means that adults can secure places in diploma courses through course-specific talents, because the polys will better recognise work experience, instead of relying only on academic results.

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Creating Holistic Technology-Enhanced Learning Experiences

So this is yet another example of our commitment to ensuring that people have many opportunities to progress. That said, we do acknowledge that there are concerns about over-drilling and an over-emphasis on grades. We are now going one step further. We will replace the T-score with wider scoring bands. This means that there will be only 29 possible PSLE scores, compared to the more in the current system. This will reduce fine differentiation and comparison between students. This means more schools will share the same cut-off points. We will also introduce tie-breakers — choice, for example — that are not related to academic results.

SPS Faishal has addressed this. But let me just affirm that this is an area in which we want to provide the best possible support to those with special needs and will continue to be an important part of our work. Ms Chia Yong Yong spoke very passionately just now on this topic. And Ms Chia, I would like to say that she is definitely not a burden. In fact, she is very much a blessing. Her disability, or rather special ability has enabled her to give this House insights and perspectives that we would not otherwise have had.


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This has enriched our debate and informed our policy, and she has provided positive contribution. This is the value and the benefit of inclusivity and being able to draw on people, different talents and different abilities. We will continue to ensure that education remains an integrating force that brings everyone together. Many members spoke about this, and the importance of giving our students space and time to discover who they are. We agree. Nurturing a love for learning in our students is equally important to us.

We start earlyfrom the pre-school years. This framework is shared with the entire pre-school sector. We have taken steps to unlock curiosity and encourage the joy of learning in our teaching pedagogies. In Punggol Primary, teachers set up stations full of supplies for children —nets, leaves, twigs, for them to create their own rules and games. At Yangzheng Primary, students learn English through performing and dramatising stories together.

Teachers also create games to teach Math. We are facilitating sharing among educators on how to adopt innovative and engaging teaching practices so that students will enjoy learning, through initiatives like the Singapore Teaching Practice, an online portal for teachers. We acknowledge sentiments from the public, from the House, about how we can work to free our students from the never-ending worksheets and tests. For example, Keming Primary School is exploring moving away from Common Tests, which used to take up about three weeks of curriculum time, to regular checkpoint assessments instead, so that more time is freed up for other learning experiences.

In it, he affirmed the good work of teachers and encouraged everyone to adopt a spirit of introspection, to reflect on whether some of our practices, despite being done out of love for the child, may have unintended consequences. For example, by giving them too many tests, which may deprive them of time for other activities. So we will do our part, but we do need parents and other stakeholders to do their part too.


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Mr Louis Ng called for a review of performance-based ranking for teachers, because he was concerned that they might teach for the test. Teachers are assessed on a wide range of criteria: quality teaching and learning, character development of students, professional development of self and others, demonstration of desired personal attributes, professional values and ethics, content mastery and pedagogy of instruction.

Members have also expressed concerns about for students who are less well-off and disadvantaged.

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We pay a lot of attention to this group, with interventions and financial assistance. This has enabled students from disadvantaged backgrounds to do better. We top the world PISA scores in mathematics, science, reading, and collaborative problem solving. What this shows us is: there are high peaks. We have one of the highest proportion of students performing at the highest levels of proficiency- about one-third to half of our students. Mr Mahdev Mohan asked if this means that our Singapore students are ready for the brave new world.

The fact that our students come out tops in collaborative problem solving is promising because it measures not just their content knowledge, but their ability to work with others, communicate, and solve complex problems. This will serve us in good stead for the future. What this means is that our schools are supporting students from all socio-economic backgrounds to do well, and that they do better than their peers in other countries.

Nevertheless, like members who have spoken today, we too are concerned about the widening income gap even as the middle class are uplifted and do better over time. The solution is to uplift those at the lower end and close the gap, without chopping the top and holding back those who do well, as Minister Ong spoke about just now. This is something we are committed to do. I also want to say that what drives much of our work to support and uplift students are our committed educators, who are at the heart of the system. It is our educators who motivate students, and who identify opportunities for them.

For those teachers, their calendar is cleared for the first few periods in the morning. Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. The global level of economic, ecological, social, political and cultural integration across nation states and the rapid advancement of technology have brought about transformations that are part of globalisation. Our students are expected to be agents of change rather than passive observers of world events; and at the same time, to live together in an increasingly diverse and complex society and to reflect on and interpret fast changing information.