The N4 COMPASS Cluster Visit held on 21 September 2011 was hosted by North Spring Primary School with key focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) . The visit was graced by Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, and Deputy-Chairman of COMPASS, Ms Sim Ann. Together with Chairpersons of the School Management / Advisory Committees, Parent Support Groups and Alumni Associations, COMPASS members were given an overview of the current ICT practices in schools, and the extent to which N4 schools have harnessed ICT in teaching and learning.
In his opening address, Mr Loke Chee Pheng, N4 Cluster Schools Superintendent, highlighted the need for schools to be more active and intentional in delivering curricular programmes that nurtured students to be good team players. He also reiterated the need for students to be equipped with soft skills for knowledge creation and group problem-solving so as to meet the demands of the Knowledge Based Economy in the 21st century. He shared that schools in N4 leverage on platforms at cluster, zonal and national levels to develop the competencies of the staff. Lastly, he welcomed the guests to view the exhibition put up by N4 schools to get a sense of how ICT was used in the schools.
Following this, Mrs Ang Gim Chai, Assistant Director, Professional Development and Consultancy Branch, Educational Technologies Division, presented a brief overview of the Masterplan of ICT in Education.
Starting in 1997, the implementation of ICT in schools has evolved from building the foundation, to seeding innovation, and today, with MP3, schools are now working on deepening ICT pedagogies and scaling innovative practices in teaching and learning. She shared the MP3 vision and goals, and described broadly MOE’s four-pronged strategies in supporting schools in ICT implementation.
The guests next viewed a montage presentation on the ICT programmes and outcomes from the 12 schools in the cluster, before visiting the exhibition panels put up by the schools. The exhibition was organized along four themes, namely: Mobile Technology, Values and Engagement, Web 2.0 Technology and E-learning. The hosting school, North Spring Primary School, shared how they used the ICT platform, together with other non-portal-based activities, to carry out the school’s Education and Career Guidance e-portal to support their students’ self-directed learning beyond school.
Some other highlights of the exhibition included Monfort Junior School showcasing how Facebook was used as a tool to communicate and connect with parents of the school, and Greendale Secondary School demonstrating how Web 2.0 tools such as iMindmap, virtual worlds (e.g. World of Temasek) and discussion blogs are leveraged in teaching and learning.
After a short tea break, a dialogue session chaired by Ms Sim Ann was held. Members commended the schools on the levels of innovation and how learning has been transformed, resulting in very knowledgeable students. The issues raised ranged from the new learning opportunities that have been generated to new challenges posed for students and educators. Council members and guests were reminded once again of the critical need to strengthen the collaboration between schools, parents and the community, and of the need to harness support from parents and the community in forging ahead in education in the 21st century.