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The way we teach children has stagnated for many years. The teacher stands at the front of the classroom, in front of a whiteboard or blackboard, and relays information for children to learn by rote. Success is judged on their ability to retain this information and convey it within a strict time constraint. While this method might produce academically smart children, they may end up lacking in other skills that are vital in this age to make them employable. Let’s ask ourselves, isn’t it time we brought education into the 21st century?

Today, teachers do more for our children than simply teach them. Often, they are also a parent, a friend, a counsellor, a disciplinarian. Their job is not only to educate our children but also to counsel them, to be their friend when they need one, to be a shoulder to cry on, to help them become valuable members of our society.

It’s time for teachers to embrace their new role in the classroom as a mentor to children. Teachers can guide students by being a positive role model for them, particularly for children that don’t have this positive influence at home. By incorporating a teacher-mentor mentality in the classroom, teachers can coach students and encourage them to adapt learning methods that suit their own learning style, thus challenging them and inspiring them to learn.

The world is changing – we have seen huge technological changes over the past few years, allowing for the introduction of global influences and access that would have been unheard of 30 years ago. So many children have a smartphone in their pocket, giving them 24/7 access to the information highway of the internet. Everything they can possibly want to know can be found out on a Wikipedia page, so how can a teacher possibly hope to compete with that? As they get older, students soon find that they can skip going to lectures as they can access the same information online in Youtube videos and webpages.

 

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With this in mind, it’s time we realised we need to change the way we teach our children to stay up-to-date. Perhaps students can find out everything about a subject online, but that may not be the most thought-provoking and interesting way to learn the material. This is where teachers can step in, to present the material in a new way. Technology can be used to guide the students’ learning and engage them in lessons, rather than simply to provide them with the knowledge, changing the role of teacher from the ‘font of all knowledge’ or an instructor, to a mentor/coach. This leads to a student who is more conscious of their learning, more independent and active in the process, and hopefully inspires them to become lifelong learners.

No longer do we need to rely only on the syllabus to impart our knowledge to students. Globalisation is opening up a whole new world for students, giving them access and information they could only have dreamed of a mere 30 years ago. It is time teachers move away from teaching what to think and learn, to showing students how to think and how to learn.  



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Michelangelo was at the ripe old age of 87 when he said, “I’m still learning.” From Michelangelo to Eleanor Roosevelt to Gandhi, they have all spoken of the need to foster a love of learning that never ends. Learning is the foundation for continuous self-improvement, excellence and innovation. In this constantly changing world, where globalization and rapidly moving technological advances can be seen almost every day, we need to be aware that we are constantly being called to learn new technologies and skills to keep up with the changes.

Only 50 years ago, it was possible to finish your college degree, move into a job, and work out the rest of your days within the same company. These days, it has been said that the average person changes their job between ten to fifteen times during the course of their career. This is partly due to technological advances over the years; so many jobs have become obsolete, taken over by robotics or automated in some form. Technology continues to make jobs obsolete, giving us even more reason to continue learning well after our formal schooling, to ensure we stay competitive in today’s job market. With a flexible and adaptive attitude towards learning, you can now create your own job through learning a new skill; by teaching yourself everything you need to know and using this as a gateway to self-employment and starting your own business.

There is also research that has shown that keeping your mind healthy is one of the best ways to stay healthy well into your later years. An active mind throughout life has been proven to keep you living longer and healthier. It can also help keep certain conditions at bay, with research showing that older people who stay cognitively active are 2.6 times less likely to develop conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Consider, too, that life itself is an education. We are always learning, throughout everything we do in our daily lives. Learning does not start at formal education in schools – it starts much earlier, when we are born, when we begin to understand the world around us through our interactions with our parents and caregivers. Formal education follows, with school and college, but there are many other types of learning we undertake during life.

Self-directed learning gives students the opportunity to control the pace and style of learning – this might be through online courses that allow students to undertake them at their own pace. Professional learning takes place in one’s career, through professional development on the job, often funded by the company. Informal learning takes place through watching YouTube videos, or television documentaries, or even through reading books at the library and conversations with friends. New relationships, travel and the world around you will also expose you to new ideas and opportunities to learn.

In truth, we can’t escape a life filled with learning. Instead, let us embrace the world around us and the opportunities it presents to learn and grow. As the world turns, technology advances and the future draws near, we can stay alert and prepared by embracing a love of lifelong learning.


Fundamental of challenge-based learning

Challenge-based learning (CBL) began with the movement of “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow—Today” which identify the crucial design principles of the 21st century learning environment (Apple Inc., 2020). CBL builds on the theory of experiential learning founded by John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget (Kolb, 1984).

How does it work?

Challenge-based learning starts with a "big idea" which is a broad issue that affects school or community. Throughout the challenge, students have the opportunity to create a variety of products which include but not limited to: an animation video, a game, journal article, infographic poster, group or individual reflective video and more (Apple Inc., 2020).

One of the important aspect of CBL is that students determine the direction of the research and solution. The challenge proposal where students will state the big idea, list out the guiding questions that help guide students search for solutions to their challenge and why the challenge is important to them. Solving a problem that is meaningful and close to their heart will not only motivates students but also create meaningful learning for students (Apple Inc., 2020).

What is the role of educators in CBL?

The teacher’s role is at CBL is project manager, coach or mentor. However, tremendous preparation work is required from the educators in order to successfully implement CBL in classroom (Apple Inc., 2020).

The structure of challenge-based learning:

 FRAMEWORK

Source: https://www.challengebasedlearning.org/framework/

Engage – Students use the Essential Questioning process to guide them to identify concrete and actionable challenge statement. The purpose of this phase is to have students to connect and immerse themselves about the challenge and most importantly feel excited about solving the challenge.

Investigate –Students carry out content and concept-based research to find out as much information as possible to create actionable and sustainable solutions to the challenge.

Act - Students develop and implement the evidence-based solution with authentic audience and the final results are evaluated. Students will not only demonstrate content mastery, most importantly, they are also making a difference in their community.

Where is CBL implemented and what was the result?

The CBL research was mainly carried out in the United States (Johnson and Adams, 2011). A study was carried out at Ringwood North Primary School in Melbourne, Australia and the result was encouraging. It was found that students’ self-esteem and confidence has increased and overall teamwork has also improved and an overall improvement in teamwork. Most profound finding through this research is that it helped developed kids’ empathy. One of the students stated in his reflective video “I’m making a difference. I’m not just feeling sorry for people — I’m trying to help people, and it makes me feel like a better person.” (MarkCBL, 2016). CBL project sustainability carried out with 220 Year 7 boys in 2013 through shows that not only students benefited from CBL, most importantly, teachers also gained professional learning through this experience, especially for teachers who were hesitant to use technology (Corcoran and Jensen, 2013).

References

Apple Inc. (2020). Challenge Based Learning: A Classroom Guide.

https://images.apple.com/education/docs/CBL_Classroom_Guide_Jan_2011.pdf

Challenge Based Learning (2020). The Framework https://www.challengebasedlearning.org/framework/

Kolb, D. (1984) Experiential learning. Experience as the source of learning and

Development (Englewood CliÚs, NJ: Prentice Hall).


Education and Modern Technology

 

Using modern technology in the classroom can be a contentious subject. Are we becoming enslaved to technology? Will technology end up replacing our teachers? The debate has raged on for years. On the one hand, technological advances have brought about such innovations as educational technology apps that can be used by students and teachers in the classroom. These apps make it easy for teachers to assess how students are performing through automatic reports generated by the apps, and this information may also help teachers gauge where students may need extra help.

Modern technology also allows students to progress at their own pace, because lessons can be tailored to students’ needs. Technology also makes learning fun for children; they have been seen to show curiosity and interest in learning when it involves technology. It also allows for differentiated learning, which caters to specific ways students prefer to learn; for example, visual learning through YouTube tutorials, aural learning through the use of audio books and logical learning through apps and programs.

With technology, teachers can concentrate on the important aspects of teaching rather than wasting all their time making and printing material for children. They can receive and access assignments through online portals, so it’s paperless and better for the environment as well. Consider, too, their access to the global education highway. Students can easily connect with the world, broaden their mind and become introduced to cultural influences they may never have known otherwise.

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On the other hand, it must be noted that technology and its devices can be distracting to children; they may spend more time on social media or playing games than learning lessons. There is also the possibility that they may accidentally come across inappropriate content, or fall victim to cyber bullying. However, there are plenty of programs and software to restrict that use by students.

When using technology, there may be some students that are far more advanced in working with technology than others, creating an unfair advantage in the classroom. This can be remedied with catch up tutorials and collaboration between students. Students might also find it a lot easier to cheat. In this case, assignments and exams would need to be structured in a way that makes it harder to cheat or exams could be open-book and the results could focus on students’ ability to solve problems rather than retain information.

Finally, there is the question of equal access. While students may each have a laptop available to them at school, it may be a different story at home and this inequality may cause issues for some students.

There certainly are a number of concerns around modern technology in the classroom, though when it comes down to it, the positives surely outweigh the negatives. This modern, ever-changing world requires us to be able to change and adapt our teaching methods with it, and as technology moves forward into the future, so too do we need to further incorporate it into our classrooms. Technology may never replace our teachers outright, but it will certainly help us prepare our children for the future.


Dreams can be fulfilled only by those who believe in dreaming and have the willpower to turn their dreams into reality.

Children are our future and they should be provided with the best education possible. Every child is unique, talented and with the right skills and guidance, they can spread their wings and achieve their dreams.

Today, most people dream for a well-paid jobs, plenty of perks and a comfortable life. However, some choose to give up these comforts and sacrifice their lives for the welfare of people and the society. A woman is known as a creator of life and the future, is the best example of dedication and compassion, whether it is for their own children or for others.

 

a woman who cares

Liling ong is a role model to the society, whose mission is to transform education and contribute to the society. Liling had a successful career, what most people dream about. The turning point of her life came in December 2015 when she visited Cambodia, and spent her Christmas with the orphans there. The event rekindled her love for kids, and the desire to have a positive impact on children’s lives. She decided to leave her well-paid job as a Financial Advisor in February 2016 to pursue her dream of creating a better future for children all over the world through education.

Liling established PIEX Education, a non-profit organisation set out to prepare kids for the 21st century. As technology advances, robotic and artificial intelligence will become an integral part of our lives and the workplace. It is important to equip our children with the inventive and technical skills to thrive in the digital age. Liling and her team are passionately dedicated to prepare the children to be flexible, dynamic and adaptive with the fast growing and challenging world. PIEX’s unique STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) program helps develop kids’ social-emotional, thinking as well as technical skills such as teamwork and communication, creativity, leadership, empathy, confidence and more through coding, robotics, engineering, science and more.

Education is the strongest weapon to sustain in this world and it should be accessible to every single child in the world. Join Liling and her team in transforming education.


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