Unveiling the Classroom of the Future 3.0
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
iN.SG (IDA's Newsletter)
From file sharing in 2005 to Web 2.0 in 2007 to a dazzling combination of kinetics, 4D immersion, semantic search, learning analytics and a host of other technologies in 2012 – the Classroom of the Future has certainly evolved to shed light on exciting new learning possibilities enabled by technology.
Unveiled at the National Institute of Education (NIE) on 17 February 2012, the third iteration of the Classroom of the Future - COTF 3.0 - uses the theme of Global Climate Change to demonstrate how seamless and wireless communication can be used to enhance collaborative learning and as a means of conducting virtual lessons.
“The goal of COTF is to position Singapore as a thought leader in the innovative use of ICT in education and showcase Singapore’s R&D capabilities in integrating new technologies into curriculum based on a sound pedagogical framework,” said Mr Lim Teck Soon, Cluster Director, Education and Learning, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). “It also serves as a reference site for educators and visitors from other countries who wish to learn more about the use of technology in education.”
“In COTF 3.0, the classroom is transformed into a collaborative space,” said Associate Professor Philip Wong, Associate Dean, Pedagogical Development & Innovations Office of Teacher Education, National Institute of Education. “Each student is equipped with a tablet that can be used as an extendable e-textbook. Using the computing device, students can push materials to each other as they work on projects together, and even collaborate with their counterparts from other countries with the help of instant translation software. They have access to content experts to facilitate learning, and can also form their own circle of friends around a particular subject that they are learning.”
Another interesting feature of COTF 3.0 is the use of 4D immersive technology to support experiential learning. A climate simulator allows students to experience temperature changes brought about by global warming. They also get to work together to explore how alternative energy sources can be used to reduce the overall effect on climate change. Through the process, the students also learn to apply other skills such as interpersonal communication, self-monitoring and problem-solving.
COTF 3.0 also demonstrates how learning can be extended to the social environment as well. One section of the showcase features a café where students are able to dock their tablets and share learning artefacts via a touchscreen table top. They will also be able to do a semantic search based not just on text but also on videos, charts, photos and other materials. The search engine will pull together the relevant information but “how to interpret it and how to use it is up to the students”. The information can also be projected onto a wall and shared with a wider audience, allowing the students to move from a collaborative space to a public space.
Learning also extends to the home, where students can play collaborative games to help them understand certain concepts. For example, in COTF 3.0, a shooter game is transformed into a lesson on greenhouse gases as the players take aim at carbon dioxide and methane bubbles in the atmosphere. Behind the action, learning analytics measure the student’s performance in areas such as communication and problem solving. At the same time, by projecting the lessons and the games onto a screen, parents can engage the student in a discussion on the topic and be involved in the learning process as well.
“These learning scenarios of the future demonstrate learning any time, any place and in any way,” said Associate Professor Wong. “The aim is to excite and inspire educators about the potential and possibilities in the use of technology in the classroom, and set them thinking about how they can bring these back into their actual teaching and learning context.”
According to Mr Lim, more than 20 new technologies have been incorporated into the current iteration of COTF. Some of these – for example, 4Di technology and the use of games - are already being adopted under the FutureSchools@Singapore programme in which selected schools serve as “peaks of excellence” to showcase how ICT can be harnessed through innovative pedagogies and flexible learning environments.
The S$800,000 COTF 3.0 is a joint initiative by NIE and IDA. It is co-sponsored and supported by industry partners National Computer Systems, Microsoft Singapore, Samsung Singapore, Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific, Acer Computer Singapore, Rockmoon, Playware Studios and NuLight Consultancy.
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Source: iN.SG (IDA's Newsletter)