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Get ready for 1:1 e-learning
[May 03, 2007]

Get ready for 1:1 e-learning

(New Straits Times Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) IS it feasible to equip students with a PC each in a Malaysian public school classroom to help them develop 21st-century digital skills such as technology and media literacy, effective communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and collaboration? Well, Intel Malaysia together with the Education Ministry's education technology division (ETD) aim to find out through a 1:1 e-learning model pilot that will kick off in 10 selected public schools soon.

Part of Intel's World Ahead Initiative, the project - the third to be launched in the world - will involve either a classroom of average Form 2 or Year 4 students and 10 teachers from each school. Using the Intel Classmate PC, teachers will learn to create a hybrid student-centred learning environment where they are expected to use information and communications technology (ICT) as and when they see fit to aid the process.

According to Intel's country manager Debjani Ghosh, the objective of the pilot is to demonstrate proof of concept for subsequent deployment of technology in the classroom. Intel, she said, is hoping for further collaboration with the Ministry to promote 1:1 e-learning in more schools next year.

"We began talks with ETD three months ago and have since worked with the division to identify and select the schools for the pilot and already begun training the principals and teachers involved. We will receive shipment of 450 Classmate PCs in July and begin actual classroom learning in August. All in all, a total of 2,000 units of the Classmate PC will be donated over a span of two to three years." Currently priced at an estimated US$300 (RM1,050), the Classmate PC is a fully functional computer equipped with Microsoft XP Professional Edition, Microsoft Office 2003 and Learning Essentials, a set of education-specific tools for students and teachers.

Elaborating on the school selection criteria, Ghosh said both Intel and the Ministry looked for strong leadership willing to be change agents; existing ICT infrastructure complete with lab, connectivity, etc; focus on project-based learning; and capability to set up a 1:1 computing environment in a classroom.

The Classmate PC will be placed on every desk connected to the teacher's laptop with Internet access.

"An impact study will be carried out every three to six months by an independent consultant from a local university to evaluate the impact of the 1:1 model on student learning. Each classroom in the pilot will be benchmarked against a control classroom of the same stage and performance initially in terms of studies in each respective school," Ghosh said.

Key success indicators for students would be the acquisition of higher- order thinking skills such as synthesise, analyse and evaluate; 21st- century skill activities where collaborative work and improved communication are employed; and technology use.

For teachers, the success indicators would be change in pedagogy and practice as lesson planning, assessment and instructional strategies; scope/depth of resources used by teachers in the classroom; and change in technology use in terms of technical skills and supporting students' work.

SCHOOLS IN INTEL-EDUCATION MINISTRY SCHOOL ADOPTION PROGRAMME FOR 1:1 E- LEARNING PROJECT 1) SMK Padang Midin, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu 2) SMK Clifford, Kuala Lipis, Pahang 3) SMK Datuk Hj Ahmad Badawi, Kepala Batas, Seberang Perai, Penang 4) SMK Bandar T6, Kluang, Johor 5) SMKA Sheikh Hj Mohd Said, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan 6) SMK Seri Permaisuri, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur 7) SMKA Falahiah, Wakaf Baru, Kelantan 8) SK Ayer Keroh, Malacca 9) SK Jitra, Kedah 10) SK King Edward VII (1), Taiping, Perak

Copyright 2007 The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Intelligence Wire.

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