Streamlining the Designs of Seamless Science Learning for Wider Diffusion

Project Number
AFD 05/16 WLH

Project Duration
January 2017 - July 2019

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
Seamless learning refers to a continuous, holistic learning process across learning contexts, such as formal and informal learning settings, individual and collaborative learning, and learning in physical and digital realms, preferably with 1:1 (one-mobile-device-per-student), 24x7 support. The NIE-initiated research in and practice of seamless science learning have yielded impressive results over the past seven years. The learning model has been diffused to 10 schools after successful proof-of-concept in Nan Chiau Primary School, with data showing that the students enrolled in seamless science lessons performed significantly better in the open-ended questions in formal assessments as compared to those in conventional lessons, as well as data showing improvement in higher-order thinking skills. Nevertheless, the existing model is facing difficulties in further scaling up. The teaching toolkits were developed based on the assumption of the availability of 24x7, 1:1 access, plus a dedicated learning management system. Furthermore, individual participating schools have been overly localising and complicating the designs which are difficult to be spread to other schools. As well, such school-based curricula may be over-relying on champion teachers to sustain. In this project, we are reconceptualising seamless learning as a learning approach at its own right, rather than a special form of mobile learning which must be materialised with 1:1 setting. To address the above-stated challenges, we are striving for (1) Adapting the pedagogy and design principles for less reliance on 1:1; (2) Simplifying the design principles/guidelines in order not to overwhelm the teachers and yet preserve the essence of seamless learning. For goal (1), we propose an alternative techno-pedagogical model that combines social media and multiple devices (school and home computers, schools’ or family members’ handheld devices or cameras, etc.) –individual students may switch between these devices at their convenience to access to a common social media space for seamless learning activities. To ensure the sustainability of the model, we will not develop a new platform but will source for suitable existing online tools (e.g., Student Learning Space). For goal (2), we streamline the design principles into five salient points: C2FIP (Connectivity of learning spaces, (socio-)Constructivist inquiry learning; Formative assessments with student artefacts; leveraging resources in Informal settings; Personalised and self-directed learning). The teaching toolkits developed by the 10 schools are good resources to begin with – we will guide the teachers to redesign the lessons informed by C2FIP for enactment under the conditions of typical neighbourhood schools. We would like to help teachers to structure learning in and out of classroom (including the incorporation of flipped classroom), thus gradually nurturing students’ habit-of-mind in self-directed learning and peer learning. More importantly, the translated model will align with the new science curriculum framework in Primary Science Syllabus 2014. We intend to work with 3-4 schools for two years. We will co-develop with teachers at least four lesson units per year per school. In the second year, with the assistance of the participating teachers, we will conduct 1-2 open workshops to spread the model to science teachers of more schools. Throughout the project period, the teaching toolkits developed by the participating schools will be archived and made available online for sharing among the participating teachers and the participants of the open workshops.

Funding Source
MOE

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