Keeping current at Crescent Girls' School

Tuesday morning assemblies at Crescent Girls' School (CGS) see students huddled over their personal learning devices such as Windows tablets and smartphones, reading about everything from the latest developments in United States-North Korea relations to details on Singapore's first reserved presidential election via the NewsEd portal.

As the students became more comfortable accessing NewsEd, the teachers tried designing and assigning news-based learning activities to them, instead of just allowing students to read the news on their own.

At CGS, which was part of the FutureSchools@Singapore initiative - a programme to boost classroom learning experiences through technology, innovative pedagogies and school design from 2007 to 2015 - learning with technology is nothing new.

Each student accesses assignments and other e-learning resources using either a notebook computer or a mobile device.

The school also regularly shares its information and communications technology-related teaching practices with other schools through its professional development network, CrADLe (Crescent Academy for Digital-Age Learning).

Yet, teachers found that NewsEd was something that could add value to their arsenal of tools because of its trusted and constantly updated news content.

Mr Richard Koh, 41, a lead teacher of English and the teacher in-charge of the pilot project, said it was simple to design and assign learning activities.

"The Straits Times team has created an app that makes reading current affairs accessible. This is important to attract our learners to read the news on the go so that they can learn about the community and the world around them."

He said a survey conducted with the pilot classes found that the method was "user-friendly", and made it "convenient" for learning about local and global news.

Another teacher said that "the mini quizzes are beneficial because they allow us to reflect on what we have read", Mr Koh added.

By making the news more accessible in a student-friendly medium, teachers found that their charges were more inclined to keep abreast of the latest current affairs topics in the world around them.

David Tay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline 'Keeping current at Crescent Girls' School'. Print Edition | Subscribe