Archive for the ‘21st Century Teaching and Learning.’ Category

Knowledge and skills

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

WHAT kind of knowledge and skills do our children need in the 21st century?

What type of hobbies can be recommended and how do we encourage and support our children at school?

Globalisation creates unprecedented challenges and opportunities. It is therefore fundamental for the new generation to acquire the knowledge and skills of global citizens while still at school.

To begin with, they should master one or more languages, learn to read and write, express themselves and know how to communicate. These are all key basic skills.

We have to educate Malaysians on nation building, agriculture, energy to defence and healthcare. These topics matter. We also cannot ignore climate change and the environment.

Analytical and critical thinking is also important.

Learning to learn is an essential skill for personal development, at school and at work, where flexibility is key.

Young people should learn to collaborate with people from different backgrounds, cultures and disciplines to solve complex, multidisciplinary issues in a respectful and flexible way.

Cultural awareness is important, and so is the ability to appreciate and understand music, literature and visual arts.

Mathematical competence is needed in everyday life, as is an understanding of the natural world and the ability to apply knowledge and technology to different situations. Considering the influence and pervasiveness of digital technology in current and future societies, it is important that children learn how to positively engage with these tools in school and out of it.

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Malaysia National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry has published the National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework Draft and now open for public consultation (Duration: Feb. 12, 2018 – March 2, 2018).

I believed with the brains of various contributing organizations (government agencies, universities, Associations, Industry, etc), MITI has managed to collectively gather all the relevant and necessary inputs. Except that I noticed they did not consult Startups for whatever unknown reasons since I believed Startups have their own vision too. In fact, Startups looks at the world differently from the bigger conglomerates.

Also, take note that the Industry 4.0 Policy Framework only focused on the Manufacturing sector. Thus, the definition 4.0 takes into the progress and impact of manufacturing sector due to the advancement of technologies. Previously there’s an argument about the differences between the terms 4th Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0. Personally, I felt limiting ourselves to the lower part of the value-chain (manufacturing), will also limit ourselves to transform our Nation into totally digital (digital lifestyle).

Framework is one thing, but the most important success factor after this will be the execution of the Framework by the respective parties (Government, Public, Private or Universities, etc)

Below are my personal public comments (will upload this comment to the MITI website later):

  1. Talent Development – It’s difficult for a Nation to move forward without enough talent pool. We can depend on foreign expertise only when we don’t have enough talent locally. But have we done enough? How do expedite the process of approving new Courses or revamping old syllabus in the Universities?
  2. Buy Local Attitude – We must ensure a balance between importing technology and using local technology. Local companies can’t immediately go global if they are not given a chance to prove locally. To encourage the growth of Startups that are key to becoming job creators, we must support them in providing the necessary trust and environment to proof their technology are also at par or better than the overseas.
  3. Digital Transformation Mindset – If your company doesn’t have Internet, not many or none of the younger generation wants to work there simply because the current generation is tech savvy. It’s about time, the “older” generation take a bold step forward and become tech-savvy themselves. We didn’t realize that having an Internet access and IT database are actually prerequisites to Industry 3.0. Ask ourselves, are we already in Industry 3.0 before stepping towards 4.0? If yes, how big is the gap between rural and urban in this digital transformation?
  4. Impact of Industry Integration to Policy Making – Remember UBER and how we react towards them? Remember motorcycle-sharing Dego and how we react towards them? Who will regulate a driverless taxi? What happens when a Taxi can fly? All of these disrupt the current business and need a new way of regulating them. We need to be fast. Thus, we must have trials as early as possible to see the impact of public usage and government regulations. In future, Insurance and Transportation or Insurance and Home or Health will be merged as an Outcome-based economy rather than the product-based economy. How flexible are we in handling this inevitable business merger?

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Education Industry in 2018 at a Glance

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The educational services market is large and growing with multiple types of opportunities available for franchisees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 100k establishments in the private Education Service industry; almost 200k when including local, state and federal government institutions; combined this industry employs over 3.5 million people. On the private side, the industry is largely fragmented – the fifty largest companies represent just 30% of the total revenue in the industry.

Last year there were 55 million students attending school in grades K-12, all of whom are potential clients for educational services. However, franchise opportunities in the educational services industry are not limited to tutoring school age kids in subjects like math and science – opportunities abound in childcare and early education, career education, art, dance, adult language, test preparation and even driving.

Industry Overview

The vast majority of revenue in this industry comes from tuition or program fees. Gross profits tend to range from 60-90% depending on geographical location and subject matter, and net profit averages out to between 2-10%.

As companies within the industry have grown they have realized some benefits to scale – lower fixed costs and greater operational efficiency; however with that growth has often come a difficulty finding qualified instructors. If considering franchising in this sector it is important to understand the demographics and potential fit in your local hiring pool.

Online training resources, programs and even mobile apps have traditionally been seen as challenges to the industry, but in recent years successful educational service providers have found ways to leverage this technology to their great benefit. Not only are these tools helping students learn in new and exciting ways, but they are helping providers manage students, administrative functions and source material distribution more efficiently.

The growth in this industry is in part attributed to the growing global competitive landscape for higher education, but also for greater recognition of the value of trade schools. Many folks are realizing that the cost of a college education can saddle a person for life – and are opting to skip college, learn a trade and start making money faster and with less debt.

Tutoring and Child Education

Tutoring in the US is a $7 billion dollar industry and a popular franchise option, either based out of the home or at an on-site location. The home-based model employs the franchisee as a broker who acts as an intermediary between educators that provide tutoring and students needing instruction in any number of subjects. Examples of this model include Club Z Tutoringand Creative. Interesting for those considering opportunities in this sector: brokering franchisees of this type do not need to have prior experience in education.

The on-site location based model involves the franchisee having a center at which kids come to be tutored or take classes. In addition to subjects like math and writing, these franchises will also often offer standardized test preparation. Two franchises with this model are Kumon and Huntington Learning Center. The disadvantage of this model relative to the home-based model is that, because it requires real estate, it is more expensive to start.

Some franchises are geared towards younger children and provide a combination of child care and education. It’s estimated that 11 million children under the age of 5 spend at least 35 hours/week in childcare, and there is a growing recognition that early childhood education is immensely important and provides lifelong benefits. Child care is a growing field and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the industry will have some of the fastest employment growth through 2020. In addition to standard child care during the work day, these franchises often also provide after school programs. Child care franchises include Primrose Schools and Rainbow Station.

Artistic Education.

Some franchises instruct children in subjects such as music or painting. Similar to the options in tutoring, some of these are home-based – the franchisee for, say, Virtuoso Music, manages the music instructors and matches them up with students eager to learn.

Adult Educational Services.

Educational franchises aren’t just for the young. Estimates say that there are about 30 million US residents without a high school diploma, and 20% of the adult population has only basic literacy skills. There are various types of franchises designed to teach or train adults either in GED programs, occupational training, language and more.

Franchises are also available to help teach adults business skills – teaching salesmen better sales techniques (such as Sandler Training) or passing on organizational and leadership skills (such as Crestcom); there are also franchises designed to teach financial planning, both for business and personal finance.

911 Driving School teaches defensive driving, license certification, and more.

Other franchises focus on recreational activities, such as dancing or cooking (Fred Astaire Dance StudioViva the Chef). This field of leisure education is a multi-billion dollar industry driven by individuals’ desires to learn new skills and abilities. But these businesses do tend to be more susceptible to economic downturns as they are more closely tied to personal income than other adult education options.

Franchises can also serve as jumping off points for people looking to enter new industries and learn about new careers. For example, there are franchises to train and certify an individual to become a medical technician. There are others that teach financial trading – stocks, options, futures and more.

The advantage of franchising in the educational services area is that the franchisee has access not only to the positive reputation and brand name enjoyed by these franchises, but also to time-tested educational systems. It allows franchisees to have a role in education without needing the qualifications or skills to be a teacher him or herself.

In addition, working with a large company offers potential marketing advantages not available to a smaller company. Purchasing an education franchise is a great way to succeed financially while also making a positive impact on the community.

by Matt Sena, who is a writer and researcher, a co-founder, a former portfolio manager,

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Education 4.0 … the future of learning will be dramatically different, in school and throughout life.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and how we learn and develop the skills to work in the future. The concept of a “100 year life” becoming the norm, and the majority of that spent studying and working, means that learning will be a lot more important, and different, for the next generations. Most people will have at least 6 different careers, requiring fundamental reeducating, whilst the relentless speed of innovation will constantly demand new skills and knowledge to keep pace, let alone an edge.

I recently delivered a keynote on “Changing the Game of Education” … a vision for the future of education, from schools to lifelong learning … how it will evolve, the drivers, inspirations and what will matter most.

Educationalists debate the many ways in which the content of education – at all levels – and the process of learning, will need to change over the years ahead. Disruptive innovation guru Clay Christiansen, for example, points to the dramatic unbundling of education from its current forms so that it can be personalised, repackaging, peer to peer and continuous. Whether it is classroom or workplace, online or offline, structured or unstructured, taught or learnt, standardised or not, certificated or not, then learning is likely to break free from our old mindsets in the coming years.

“Education 4.0” is my vision for the future of education, which

  • responds to the needs of “industry 4.0” or the fourth industrial revolution, where man and machine align to enable new possibilities
  • harnesses the potential of digital technologies, personalised data, open sourced content, and the new humanity of this globally-connected, technology-fueled world
  • establishes a blueprint for the future of learning – lifelong learning – from childhood schooling, to continuous learning  in the workplace, to learning to play a better role in society.


“Changing the game” is all about redefining the way an activity works. In general, its about

  • who are the companies right now who are reshaping their industries, challenging the old rules and creating new ones, new ways of working, new ways of winning
  • in my Gamechangers book I explored 100 of them – they are audacious, harnessing the power of ideas and networks to be intelligent, collaborative, and enabling people to achieve more.
  • taking the principles of how these companies change the game – how can we apply that to the world of education?


“The future of education” is therefore a new vision for learning, starting right now

  • more important to know why you need something, a knowledge or skill, and then where to find it – rather than cramming your head full … don’t try to learn everything!
  • built around each individual, their personal choice of where and how to learn, and tracking of performance through data-based customisation … whatever sits you
  • learning together and from each other – peer to peer learning will dominate, teachers more as facilitators, of communities built around shared learning and aspiration


Among the many discussions, innovations and general shifts in the world of learning – from school children to business executive – there are 9 trends that stand out:

  1. Diverse time and place.
    Students will have more opportunities to learn at different times in different places. eLearning tools facilitate opportunities for remote, self-paced learning. Classrooms will be flipped, which means the theoretical part is learned outside the classroom, whereas the practical part shall be taught face to face, interactively.
  2. Personalized learning.
    Students will learn with study tools that adapt to the capabilities of a student. This means above average students shall be challenged with harder tasks and questions when a certain level is achieved. Students who experience difficulties with a subject will get the opportunity to practice more until they reach the required level. Students will be positively reinforced during their individual learning processes. This can result in to positive learning experiences and will diminish the amount of students losing confidence about their academic abilities. Furthermore, teachers will be able to see clearly which students need help in which areas.
  3. Free choice.
    Though every subject that is taught aims for the same destination, the road leading towards that destination can vary per student. Similarly to the personalized learning experience, students will be able to modify their learning process with tools they feel are necessary for them. Students will learn with different devices, different programs and techniques based on their own preference. Blended learning, flipped classrooms and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) form important terminology within this change.
  4. Project based.
    As careers are adapting to the future freelance economy, students of today will adapt to project based learning and working. This means they have to learn how to apply their skills in shorter terms to a variety of situations. Students should already get acquainted with project based learning in high school. This is when organizational, collaborative, and time management skills can be taught as basics that every student can use in their further academic careers.
  5. Field experience.
    Because technology can facilitate more efficiency in certain domains, curricula will make room for skills that solely require human knowledge and face-to-face interaction. Thus, experience in ‘the field’ will be emphasized within courses. Schools will provide more opportunities for students to obtain real-world skills that are representative to their jobs. This means curricula will create more room for students to fulfill internships, mentoring projects and collaboration projects (e.g.).
  6. Data interpretation.
    Though mathematics is considered one of three literacies, it is without a doubt that the manual part of this literacy will become irrelevant in the near future. Computers will soon take care of every statistical analysis, and describe and analyse data and predict future trends. Therefore, the human interpretation of these data will become a much more important part of the future curricula. Applying the theoretical knowledge to numbers, and using human reasoning to infer logic and trends from these data will become a fundamental new aspect of this literacy.
  7. Exams will change completely.
    As courseware platforms will assess students capabilities at each step, measuring their competencies through Q&A might become irrelevant, or might not suffice. Many argue that exams are now designed in such a way, that students cram their materials, and forget the next day. Educators worry that exams might not validly measure what students should be capable of when they enter their first job. As the factual knowledge of a student can be measured during their learning process, the application of their knowledge is best tested when they work on projects in the field.
  8. Student ownership.
    Students will become more and more involved in forming their curricula. Maintaining a curriculum that is contemporary, up-to-date and useful is only realistic when professionals as well as ‘youngsters’ are involved. Critical input from students on the content and durability of their courses is a must for an all-embracing study program.
  9. Mentoring will become more important.
    In 20 years, students will incorporate so much independence in to their learning process, that mentoring will become fundamental to student success. Teachers will form a central point in the jungle of information that our students will be paving their way through. Though the future of education seems remote, the teacher and educational institution are vital to academic performance.

These are exciting, provocative and potentially far-reaching challenges. For individuals and society, new educational tools and resources hold the promise of empowering individuals to develop a fuller array of competencies, skills and knowledge and of unleashing their creative potential.

Indeed, many of the changes underway call to mind the evocative words of Irish poet William Butler Yeats that, “Education is not about filling a bucket but lighting a fire.”

Technology has become integrated into virtually every aspect of work. And because we spend so much time working, work really is the place where we most directly feel the impact of developing technologies. From collaboration to productivity; from new ways of approaching workspace design to the increasing ability to work from virtually anywhere; and from hiring and recruitment to new skill sets—it is a time of experimentation for companies and organizations as trends in technology converge to change what it means to work.


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Specific training to enhance teachers

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018

Professional development for educators has been a key enabling factor for transformation in education as it involves transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their learners.

THE emergence of a technology-driven world has raised many challenges to conservative teaching and learning in traditional classrooms.

Coupled with volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) characteristics of current environment, both what is to be learned and how learning or knowledge construction should happen, need serious reconceptualisation.

The notion of 21st century learning can be viewed as an overarching vision of education that many educators are now advocating as a collective response to the emerging challenges.

A growing number of policy makers and educators are united around the idea that students need ‘21st century skills’ to be successful today.

It is exciting to believe that we live in times that are so revolutionary that they demand new and different abilities.

However, these 21st century skills aren’t new.

21st century skills

The likes of critical thinking and problem solving have been components of human progress throughout history. From the development of early tools, agricultural advancements and the invention of vaccines, to land and sea exploration.

So, what is new is the extent of changes in our economy and the world which consequently means, collective and individual success depends on having such skills. The Education Ministry is sensitive to respond to the VUCA situations and challenges.

Strategies are formed to upskill and empower teachers and school leaders, with close collaboration with the Education Performance and Delivery Unit (PADU).

Professional development for educators has been a key enabling factor for transformation in education; it involves transforming their knowledge into practice for the benefit of their learners.

Various aspects must be considered to develop educators’ competencies for 21st century teaching and learning.

These include knowledge, beliefs, and design thinking capacities of the educators and school leaders.

It has been advocated that a professional learning community is a viable way for educators to participate in the co-constructing of knowledge to experience the required transformative changes.

“PADU realises the importance of equipping school leaders and teachers with capacities to deal with emerging challenges.

“We see the necessity of adaptive expertise directed toward solving emerging problems.

“We have a sector in PADU that specifically looks into this which is our Teachers and School Leaders (TSL) sector.

“Instead of converting content knowledge through pedagogical means so that they are accessible to students, we believe teachers in a knowledge building environment must encourage students to construct understanding themselves.

“Guiding students’ sense-making processes is highly discursive and it demands teachers to ask appropriate questions,” says PADU chief executive officer Khadijah Abdullah.

Such adaptive expertise would require teachers to develop the ability to orchestrate learning rather than delivering information in a controlled environment.

Advocates of 21st century skills favour student-centred methods such as problem-based and project-based learning as it allows students to collaborate, work on problems and creatively find its solutions, and engage with the community.

These approaches are widely acclaimed and can be found in any pedagogical method textbook.

However, even its advocates acknowledge that these methods pose classroom management problems for teachers.

When students collaborate, one expects a certain amount of hubbub in the classroom, which could devolve into chaos in less experienced hands.

These methods also demand that teachers be knowledgeable about a broad range of topics and are prepared to make prompt decisions as the lesson plan progresses.

Anyone who has watched a highly effective teacher lead a class by simultaneously engaging with teaching and learning content, managing classrooms and continuously monitoring students progress, knows how intense and demanding the work is.

It is a constant juggling act that involves keeping many balls in the air.

“For change to move beyond the ministry or PADU’s offices and penetrate classrooms, we in PADU understand that professional development is a massive undertaking.

“Most teachers do not need to be persuaded that problem-based learning or project-based learning is a good idea—they already believe that and many have already integrate it in their classrooms.

“What teachers most need now are more robust training and support, including specific and focused training that enhances teachers and school leaders competencies and capacities,” states Dr Ruhaya Hassan, who leads the TSL sector in PADU .

Via the Malaysia Education Blueprint, the Ministry with PADU are looking at facilitating teachers to adapt and adopt these skills, developing the competencies that our teachers may already have but are perhaps quite unsure on how to utilise fully. As for those still being trained in the Ministry’s teachers training colleges, much is being done to develop their comprehension, competencies and ultimately their commitment to 21st century teaching and learning.

This simplicity in seeing things underestimates the challenges in implementing such methods of teaching and learning, hence ignoring the gravity of real issues and problems that come with such implementation.

Teachers need to be prepared and enabled for progress and improvements in education, and in this case, based on the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025, the ministry, together with PADU, have taken various steps in this direction under the Teacher Charter.

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Art of getting our education system ready for the 21st century

Thursday, June 14th, 2018
(File pix) Embrace the philosophy of borderless education so that our children can learn to be resilient, creative and wise.

IMAGINE a faith-based school with spiritual and emotional intelligent students who are multilingual, articulate, nimble in coding, proficient in User Experience design and are strong in recalling skills.

Living in the 21st century is both frightening and exciting. We are living in a world where there is no certainty. Just think about this: we invest a lot of money to send our children to a medical school and yet, there is no guarantee that they might even end up being a doctor due to the stiff competition of training contracts.

Then there is that perpetual “change” aka restructuring removing all notion of jobs for life.

Once, the oil and gas sector was so hot that it attached a ringgit sign as a prefix to the names of its workforce. This person smells of black gold. Now, that person could be on some banks’ blacklists to get a financial loan after oil prices slid to the ditch in a swoosh.

Looking at the attributes of the 21st century side-by-side with our existing education system, we then need to ask: is it fit for purpose to enable us and our children to be adaptive, multi-skilled and extremely nimble?

If I were an accountant now, and will be made redundant tomorrow, can I switch jobs to be a data scientist or digital marketeer in a short time? How do I invest in my children’s education that will enable them to be ready to enter into the job market, either by setting up their own enterprises or getting employed by organisations within 12 months instead of 48 months?

How do I educate my children to learn the holy book by heart, its jurisprudence and master jujitsu negotiation skills at the same time?

Can they be a full stack developer as well?

For me, our education system of the 21st century must match the eccentricity, speed and flexibility of the era. There is very little point of shouting “be creative and adaptive” when we carved our education system out of a tablet of stone with steel structure curriculum.

Over the years we have also piled up the system with dated policies, procedures, processes and practice that keep turning the system into a humongous web of confusion and complexity.

Tinkering with nooks and corners will not be adequate. We need to overhaul it by first drawing a picture of the kind of education system that is fit for the 21st century world.

But, how do we reimagine our education system of the 21st century? Three things need to happen:

Understand the attributes of the 21st century world, understand our own aspirations as a country and aligning the education system to match those aspirations point by point.

And it is so easy to misalign.

How well the “new” education system we present to the public depends on who reimagines it, who is allowed to reimagine it and who sits around the reimagining table ― how conventional or unconventional are they? How bold are they? How well can they inject diversity, affordability and sustainability into the system?

Who executes the plan of action? What kind of monitoring and learning system are we going to put in place to prevent misalignment from the aspirations and principles that we set out in the early stage? (The list is, of course, not exhaustive).

As a learning designer, the essence of the 21st century education system is borderless.

Borderless does not only limit to geographical borders. It also means borderless to children regardless their background, age and ethnicity as well contents, methods, platforms, process and tools.

And the very nature of borderless education is eccentricities, injecting elements of play (activating happy and resilient chemicals in the brain — endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin), cooperation, networking and fun.

These are tactile tools to get children excited about learning. They can help make STEM subjects, often regard as “’difficult subjects”, to be more approachable to them. Imagine children from tahfiz schools reliving historical contents of Ibn Batuta travel or resurrecting the momentous debates between Al-Ghazali and Avicenna through virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technology. They will learn how these extremely articulate scholars mastered both the Quran and mathematics.

They can visit places using Google Cardboard to access 360-degree videos of the Grand Canyon.

Similarly, children in Keningau and Dungun can collaborate in an open forum to solve physics problems using WhatsApp group and share their learning on YouTube.

It will be fascinating to see if children all over the country can get together to translate learning materials together, replicating ― one line at the time.

What about examinations? Debates of examinations or no examinations are fruitless.

Examinations, for years, have been a nightmare to children, parents, teachers and schools alike. Examinations imprison children and annihilate their creativity and imagination.

Borderless education, on the other hand, eradicates the draconian nature of examinations by using real-time assessments. Children are assessed as they play, not for the coveted badge of, “Hey, I’m a genius”, but to check the obstacles they may face in their learning.

By Suziana Shukor.

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Producing self-directed learners

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018
Students, rather than educators, are the central figure in self-directed learning. FILE PIC

EDUCATORS in the higher education sector have an important role to play in nurturing self-directed or independent learners.

They must know how to design programmes that promote self-directed learning, while maintaining educator control.

To succeed, they need to devise learning activities and facilitation strategies according to
the learners’ level of self-direction.

I believe instructional design should be intellectually challenging, but within the learners’ zone of proximal development (the difference between what learners can do without help and what they can’t do).

Educators are responsible for matching the instructional design with the learners’ level of self-direction while prepa-
ring them to advance to higher levels.

Educators are also responsible for guiding learners from their preferred and comfortable learning style to a greater self-directed style.

This can be achieved by initiating a challenging and supportive learning context on a gradual basis, without learners feeling discouraged.

It is obvious then that self-directed learning requires a transformation of educators from an authoritative role to a facilitator of learning.

The rationale is that to promote an active learning approach, educators should acknowledge learners as equal learning partners who make decisions about their learning.

The shift from teaching to facilitating means that learners, rather than educators, are the central figure in the learning and teaching process.

This shift, thus, requires educators to empower learners to take responsibility for and control of their learning.

Educators’ role in supporting learners’ direction of learning has provided new insights into our understanding of self-directed learning.

However, not all Malaysian educators have accepted their role as facilitators of learning.

Instead, they remain attached to their traditional roles of knowledge experts, comfortable with one-way knowledge transmission.

While recognising learners’ role in the self-directed learning context, I would like to highlight the need to blend the conventional mode of teaching with contemporary self-directed learning approaches to ensure meaningful learning experiences for learners.

Most importantly, it is suggested that in fostering self-directed learning:

EDUCATORS should establish a positive and collaborative relationship with learners;

EDUCATORS should recognise learning resources and restrictions in the learning context, as this allows for implementation of self-directed learning; and,

UNIVERSITIES should assist educators to plan their teaching strategies by conducting training programmes and encouraging self-development.


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Are educators ready for Education 4.0?

Saturday, April 7th, 2018

CAN digital immigrants teach digital natives? It all depends on whether digital immigrants are able to break through the digital era and adapt to the changing environment.

In a recent high achievers’ workshop which I conducted in the university, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my students were silent during the break between the workshop sessions. Observing them, I noticed that they were all glued to their mobile devices. Is this what technology has brought for our younger generation?

Born in the late ‘60s, I have had the opportunity to be a recipient of technological change and am able to have first-hand account of the evolving technology in my lifetime. I am what people call part of the generation of digital immigrants. In contrast, my students are what are known as digital natives – persons born during the wide spread of technology who are always attached to their digital devices.

Education in the 21st century is all about embracing digital technology. The Government’s aspiration for our future generation is for them to be tech-savvy. This is living with the changing times.

In the near future, according to a survey, some of the jobs today will no longer be relevant. New jobs will emerge and these will most likely be catering to the digital age.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh recently said that universities have to be prepared to adapt and change their curriculum and delivery so that graduates are able to fill in jobs which are yet to emerge. Technology is moving rapidly and educators have to keep up with this fast pace.

In the Education 4.0 framework, challenges of the fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) are addressed in relation to the Malaysia Education Blueprint for Higher Education 2015-2025.

It is imperative that students are equipped with ICT and collaborative skills and be interested in lifelong learning. They also need to have critical and creative thinking and communicative skills.

Statistics show that the number of unemployed graduates in Malaysia is worrying. There are many possible causes for this. Employers look upon fresh graduates as liabilities who need to be provided with extra training before they can function adequately in their job.

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Enhancing learning process

Sunday, April 1st, 2018

THE 21st century students are individuals who are technologically savvy as they were born and raised in a technological environment.

It is almost impossible to imagine them living without their mobile phones or laptops.

As technology is the way of living in the 21st century, technology should also be a part of the way they learn.

Many software have been created to cater for the technological growth of the hardware industry and the most famous of it all is social networking. Through social networking such as Twitter or Facebook, people who are disconnected in real life could become interconnected online.

The teaching and learning of the 21st century is no longer practical via chalk and talk alone.

Generation Y understands better with technology as they have grown up surrounded by them. Not only does technology make teaching more interesting, it also makes the process easier and more manageable when compared to conventional teaching methodologies.

In language teaching specifically, the essential skill learnt is communication thus language teaching methodology should not only incorporate face-to-face communication but also include virtual communication.

Communication today involves SMS (short messaging system), chatting, e-mails and most popularly, social networking. In this technological age, teachers should tap into the power of communication and incorporate these tools into language teaching.

Language learning is a skill that needs a lot of practice in order to master the language. It has to be read, written, listened and spoken in order to understand and to be understood.

The question, is whether language learning for two hours three times a week at the school or tertiary level, is sufficient to provide practice for these language skills.

For years, teachers and lecturers have been “fighting” against time to ensure that students gain the maximum knowledge out of the limited classroom time. Lesson plans need to be carried out with military precision to ensure that the students gain the most out of the lessons.

However, the bottom line is that teachers need more time in order to teach and students need more time to learn. Extending class time would provide teachers with more time to teach while students would have more time to learn, practice and adapt to the language skills but this may not be possible with the existing language curriculum in both schools and universities.

It is crucial therefore for teachers to determine the type of classroom activities, which can help prepare students to communicate in real life beyond the allotted classroom time. It is a common perception that students would respond better to technologically enhanced teaching methods as they appeal better to them.

Edutainment is a combination of education and entertainment. Edutainment can be defined as entertainment that is intended to be educational. In edutainment, the teaching and learning process is conducted via a medium that both entertains while it educates. Examples of edutainment mediums are television programmes, computer software, songs, audio files, games, video clips, films, shows, etc. As long as it serves its purpose to both educate and entertain the students, it falls in that list.

Apart from edutainment, this form of education is also known as infotainment or entertainment-education.

Everyone enjoys good entertainment and for most people it is addictive. For example, if you enjoy playing games, you will get more and more excited playing the game especially when you are familiar with it. The visuals and audio will attract you to be interested and enjoy the entertainment that you are into.

In contrast, education that merely uses chalk and talk is extremely boring. Edutainment allows the goodness of education to be presented in the form of entertainment. Technologically enhanced learning will not only appeal more to the students of the 21st century but will also provide greater avenues for problem solving and creative thinking. With proper technology training, teachers will be able to merge active learning and teaching. They will be able to understand and appreciate the power of technology better and incorporate technology to enhance their learning process.

In doing so, teachers will be able to relate to the students better as they are no longer “outdated” or “obsolete” when it comes to technology and they would be able to provide an authentic experience through technology for their learners.

Edutainment is a part of today’s education system because it appeals and attracts the students, which in the end, helps engage them into learning.

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Education Exchange celebrates innovation in class

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018
Educators sharing their passion for innovative teaching approaches at Microsoft E2.

IN the era of globalisation and digitalisation, educators bear huge responsibility to deliver new learning experiences and prepare students for the 21st century

Microsoft education vice-president Anthony Salcito said: “What’s happening in the world of education globally today is that policymakers are under pressure to drive economic growth.

“Educators are heroes who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible to transform learning and making a direct impact on the experiences and lifelong skills of students. Teachers’ innovation and expertise is needed now more than ever today.”

He said this at the annual Microsoft Education Exchange (E2) last week in Singapore where 310 creative educators and school leaders from 91 countries gathered for three days to exchange ideas to develop innovative experiences in class.

“It is not only about technology but it is also about how one stretches one’s role as an educator. If you embrace the reality that technology is all around us, you will also embrace your role as an educator is changing and it is not just about delivering content.

“Technology will not diminish the value of teachers but instead leads to more innovative teaching,” he added.

At the opening keynote address of E2, Microsoft Asia corporate external and legal affairs associate general counsel Antony Cook said there is a need to develop a skillset for the demands of the future and education plays a critical role in this endeavour.

He added: “About 26 per cent of jobs will be outsourced or automated but these will be mitigated by 25 per cent growth in new jobs created.

“Sixty-five per cent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. We need to change the way we educate and redefine the way we train our current and future workforce.”

Significant economic opportunity for digital technologies is dependent upon broadening information technology skills and knowledge. Although technology is driving creation of value-added jobs, demand for digital skills is outpacing supply.

E2 celebrates the achievements of educators who combine content, pedagogy and technology in exemplary ways to prepare students for success in the digital age.

Four teachers from Malaysia were selected out of 100 to attend E2 this year after submitting their applications to become Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Experts. They are Wan Azrina Muhamad Zuki (from SMK Kubang Kerian, Kelantan), Mohamad Haniff Hasan (SK Jasin, Melaka), Khairul Azlan Mohd Faizul (SK Ulu Daro, Sarawak) and Nur Hayati Shahrome (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA Kuala Kubu Baru).

To be a MIE Expert, teachers submit lessons that are new, innovative and engaging before working on their own professional development at Microsoft Education Community.

During the event, the teachers participated in the Educator Challenge where they worked in teams with teachers from other countries to create a lesson plan template that included computational thinking. Their lessons were judged based on four categories: communication, innovation, collaboration and equity.


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