Time to take out your tablet... in class

A Primary 4 class in Nan Chiau Primary School, where mobile technology is used in teaching most of the science curriculum. Teachers use Web-based tools to pose questions online and track learning progress instantly.
A Primary 4 class in Nan Chiau Primary School, where mobile technology is used in teaching most of the science curriculum. Teachers use Web-based tools to pose questions online and track learning progress instantly.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Nan Chiau Primary pupils use mobile devices to connect concepts they learn to daily life

When Titus Lim takes out his mobile device during class, his teachers at Nan Chiau Primary School are not at all displeased.

In fact, they expect the Primary 4 pupil to bring his electronic device to school and use it every day.

At the school, certain cohorts are encouraged to use such mobile devices - from tablets to netbooks and laptops - for subjects such as English, science and social studies.

For the last few years, the school in Sengkang has been tapping mobile technology to help students connect concepts taught in class to everyday life.

It is used in teaching the bulk of the school's science curriculum.

Students taking a science class can grow a plant and record their observations of the progress with text, photographs, video or audio recording.

INSTANT TRACKING

Such tools can ensure that all students participate. With immediate feedback, teachers can pick up misconceptions easily, and it is easier for them to know whether to make adjustments to lessons.

'' MS JENNY LEE, Nan Chiau Primary's subject head of infocommunications technology for science.

Nine-year-old Titus said: "I can also find out more by searching for information on the Internet."

Teachers also use Web-based tools where they can pose questions online, collect the pupils' answers in real time and track their learning progress instantly.

Ms Jenny Lee, the school's subject head of infocommunications technology for science, said: "Many times, when teachers ask questions verbally, they may not be able to gather the responses of the entire class at one go.

"Such tools can ensure that all students participate.

"With immediate feedback, teachers can pick up misconceptions easily, and it is easier for them to know whether to make adjustments to lessons."

Five years ago, Nan Chiau Primary joined a select group of schools as test beds for classroom technology. Such schools try out educational technology and share their know-how and experience with other schools.

The school has observed that after implementing the use of technology in classrooms, pupils who were more reserved are now open to participating in class discussions and sharing their thoughts.

Ms Lee explained that pupils these days are digital natives.

"Even if we don't use technology in the classrooms for learning, they will still use it for other things, like entertainment," she added.

The school lends tablets to every Primary 3 pupil for use during lessons.

Primary 4 pupils bring their own mobile devices.

Last year's cohort of Primary 4 pupils were the first to buy their own devices.

If they cannot afford one, they can borrow from the school.

The mobile technology initiative, which has been progressively implemented at the other levels, is now adopted by nine other primary schools.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 08, 2016, with the headline 'Time to take out your tablet... in class'. Print Edition | Subscribe