NIE and IU redefine 21st Century Learning with newly licensed tool

NIE and IU redefine 21st Century Learning with newly licensed tool

Wednesday, 06 August 2014

Teachers and students may be using a new tool that can change not only the reading patterns in classrooms and at home but the learning of social studies and other subjects in the future.

The National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore has agreed to a special licensing agreement with Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation (IURTC) to bring an innovative web-based tool known as the Critical Web Reader (referred to hereafter as CWR in abbreviation) into Singapore classrooms. Through a licensing agreement completed on 27 May 2014 between NIE Singapore and IURTC for use in Singapore, NIE will be able to further design and develop the CWR to meet the needs of Singapore’s teachers and students. NIE Singapore has also entered into a service agreement with Indiana University who will provide support to a team in Singapore led by NIE. Along with funding from IU and the IU School of Education, the Critical Web Reader was developed in part by a grant from NIE Singapore.

The tool attempts to shape learning in the 21st century and is supported by 10 years of development and research efforts and has been implemented in hundreds of classrooms in the United States, Singapore, and other countries. Co-creators Associate Professor Mark Baildon, Head of NIE Singapore’s Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group and IU Bloomington’s Associate Professor James Damico led the research, curriculum design and professional development dimensions on the project since 2004. The main objective was to forge essential links that can nurture positive teaching, learning and living in the 21st century that corresponds in tandem to the technological advancements around students and teachers. Their findings led to the eventual development and design of the Critical Web Reader.

Critical Web Reader

Using the CWR, teachers and students customise how they engage with online information sources within an interactive learning frame. Teacher canselect or design scaffolds or “lenses” that comprise guiding questions, tips, and suggestions to guide students to read web resources more carefully and critically. A special “Reader notes” section for students to type responses documents students’ thinking as they work on activities within the CWR. Students can work individually or as a group to analyse and evaluate selected websites. Because of the flexibility of the tool, there are many possibilities as to how one can customise for varying learning needs and parents can even use the tool at home to guide their children on positive learning on the web.

NIE Associate Professor Mark Baildon says: “The Critical Web Reader changes the way teachers look at classroom learning by placing the world’s information under its lens and allowing it to be just a click away for easy assessment. The applications for the CWR are virtually limitless because we can design and set specific scaffoldings that allow the information flow to be guided by various aspects of learning on a subject. It also addresses key learning goals in Singapore’s Social Studies curriculum standards and even Common Core State standards in the United States.”

NIE Singapore is currently in talks with the Ministry of Education on how the CWR could be integrated into school classrooms in Singapore. The creators have also founded a company, Delve Learning to commercialise the CWR in territories outside of Singapore. The vision for Delve Learning is for all learners -- children through adults -- to become more strategic and savvy thinkers, readers and writers, especially when it comes to working with information sources on the Internet.