Advancing Innovation that Leads Practice and Guides Changes

Advancing Innovation that Leads Practice and Guides Changes

Wednesday, 01 February 2017

Learning at NIE 3

By the Humanities and Social Studies Education (HSSE) Academic Group


The Humanities and Social Studies Education  (HSSE) Academic Group  (AG) has established inquiry-based signature disciplinary  programmes to  help  pre- and in­ service teachers and students "think like authentic history and geography practitioners." Under  this purview,  two experiential  learning  labs, The Historian's Lab  (HL) and The Sustainability Learning Lab (SLL) are currently being developed in  partnership with  secondary   schools  in Singapore.


Associate Professor Mark Baildon, Head of the HSSE AG,  said these  labs "will help students to know what it means to critically think and work with geographic data and primary sources in history to develop their own conclusions."

The HL provides teachers and students ample opportunities to actively engage in the craft of history, and develop deeper awareness of how historical knowledge is constructed. The lab situates the learning of history in an immersive and experiential way. The discipline  focused and inquiry-based  learning utilises a range of pedagogical  tools and learning strategies.

In particular, the HL utilises card-based games to support  classroom instruction in exciting and interactive ways, video cases of real historians to support classroom learning, and inquiry-based approaches  to  investigate  historical events and develop interpretations. 

The HL paves  the pathway to actual encounters with real historians through interactions and digital media platform, hence, allowing teachers and students to learn the ways historians engage in their fascinating work of interpreting and reconstructing the past.

Based on his students' learning experience on adapting the HL, Leonard Wan, the partner school teacher from Clementi Town Secondary  school,  said "We do see an increased level of thought and a depth of thought in approaching certain historical topics." 

The SLL represents innovative virtual and physical spaces that provide resources to support curriculum topics related to sustainability and urban liveability.

The virtual lab is a user-friendly, informative website that hosts classroom activities, videos, and lesson plans. This lab  acts  as  a geospatial  data  portal that  connects  to  each  relevant  topic. It provides interactive, map-able, data such as land use, as well as real-time meteorologic and water quality data transmitted from the outdoor physical lab  space. The first of these physical   lab   spaces   is located  at the Jurong Eco-Garden (JEG), with three more locations to be established in the near future. In addition to transmitting the environmental data to the virtual lab, the JEG provides  field opportunities for classes to explore water quality, water sensitive urban design and greenspace benefits. 

The SLL also offers students the opportunity to engage in the application of  emerging  geospatial  technologies such as drones with georeferencing aerial digital cameras and thermal sensors to three dimensionally  map  terrain,  land use, and surface thermal signatures. These  learning  techniques  instill  a sense of student curiosity, and provide an integrated learning approach to the collection and application of geospatial data. 

Associate   Professor  Kim   Irvine hopes that the SLL will enhance student appreciation for the interaction between human and physical systems, and  provide them with   the   wisdom   and insight  to undertake  informed stewardship of our planet as a whole and our little red dot in particular.