Forum Discusses Possibility Of One-To-One Learning In Classrooms

Posted on  27/01/2012  |  Media Centre

27th January 2012


Bandar Seri Begawan – The investment made by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan of Brunei’s Government into Internet connectivity and access, together with the decreasing prices of devices such as laptops and tablets, could see one-to-one learning introduced into classrooms in Brunei in the not too distant future.

This was said yesterday at a seminar hosted by the iCentre and Asia Inc Forum by Jason Trump of Microsoft Pacific-Asia.

“If you look at classrooms in Brunei now, the technology is at a rudimentary or basic stage. We’re a bit of a way off, however, the good thing is, the investment is happening, so you’re seeing already Internet connectivity is improving dramatically in schools.

There are targets around access, to reduce the ratio of students to computers, and I hope that within a short while, we’ll get to one-to-one as a result of the combination of the investment by the government into access, combined with the lower cost that you’re starting to see in the devices,” Jason Trump, Education Partner Director of Microsoft Asia-Pacific, told the Bulletin at the Asia Inc ‘Think Big Innovate 2011’ Forum. Educationally speaking, the technology and programs that are available today are yet to be fully exploited, especially in Brunei, and offer a whole new window of opportunity that could take education to a whole other level.

“We’re often very good in schools at teaching international content, learning about other countries, but we don’t often enough give students international experiences, so instead of my students in Australia learning about Brunei, why can’t we connect with students in Brunei,” said Travis Smith, National Manager (Australia) of Expanding Learning Horizons.

However, technology could change that, with programs such as Microsoft Lync and Skype enabling interaction between international students without physically being in the same country. For geography studerits in particular, the opportunity being presented means that they will not only be learning about a given country based on what is written in a text book, but also have the chance to interact with students and experience the culture first hand, something which isn’t otherwise possible without a plane ticket.

“The technology is going to open up many more opportunities, like the example of giving students international experiences that, without the technology, you wouldn’t have that in your bag of tricks (as a teacher),” Mr Smith added.

Essentially, what technology represents is not a complete shift and change in the way we learn, but a tool like any other, that should not be used all the time, but is available to be used where it will have a more significant outcome on the student’s learning experience.

Travis Smith continued to elaborate on the use of technology in the classroom, “There are times where you won’t use it, because it is better to be outside, looking at things, photographing things or drawing things, or moving around physically and playing games. It is one mode of learning, so teachers have to be mindful of that. All technology does is increase their pedagogical potential.”

Technology simply allows teachers to give students an opportunity to create more things, more powerfully than ever before.

When asked about the biggest challenge of implementing the technology into the classrooms, Travis Smith responded by explaining that it is not a question of teaching teachers how to use the technology, but focusing more on how they can integrate –that technology into the classroom and the impact it could have cethe students’ learning experience and outcome.

“One of the biggest ones that I see is teacher professional development, making sure that the teachers understand the difference that this can make to their classroom, and that involves exposing them to what is possible, but then also working less on teaching teachers how to use a computer, because that will only get you so far, and more on ‘how can I use a computer?’ ‘how can my students use a computer to learn science?’, and focusing the professional learning on curriculum design and development, as opposed to skills development in teachers,” Travis Smith explained.

As a result, there are two things which need to be done; firstly, teaching teachers how to use the technology which is available, and secondly, how they can integrate it into their learning programmes.

“When every student ends up with a laptop, it’s less about what a teacher does, and more about what the students do with the technology, so it’s more about training them (teachers) to understand, for example, ‘what is the possibility for a geography student using technology?’ not just what a teacher can do, because that is teaching with technology, and what the focus should be is learning with technology, which is when the kids have their own devices, and we can structure activities, as teachers, for them to use that technology,” Mr Smith concluded.

–Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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