A Visit to Singapore 1

Just a week before the Scottish Learning Festival [which looks like it’s going to be a great event again] I have had the opportunity to look beyond Scotland to see how we are doing.

I am aproaching the end of a visit to the Ministry of Education in Singapore and which allowed me to see round some schools and also meet with the heads of the Singapore Future Schools programme.

Singapore has followed a similar pattern to Scotland. The Singapore Government ICT Masterplan 1 ran from 1997-2002 with an emphasis on infrastructure and teacher skills – not too different from our own National Grid for Learning Scotland. ICT Masterplan 2 followed on with more of a focus on seeding innovation and ICT Masterplan 3 will be about beginning the process of the systemic scaling of innovation.

Singapore is very different to Scotland but there are aspect of their strategy that I really like. Increasingly their emphasis is very clearly on learning rather than technology for its own sake. So that rather than ask how might we use technology their teachers are asked to consider how they might improve understanding? One Government programme is called ‘Teach Less; Learn More’!

In all of my visits to schools, across the four countries of the UK and beyond, I have never seen a successful implementation of technology that is resource driven, ie puts technology before educational development. Maybe you have? I would be interested to hear your views.

More to follow on Singapore later but it’s midnight here and I’ve got an early start in the morning …

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1 Comment

  1. As you say, lots of similarities with our outlook, but you’ll meet a lot of people from nations that would say the same: we’re concerned with learning first, tools later. In reality, of course, not all who say this actually carry it out.

    I’d be really keen to hear some stories about how teachers do the teach less, learn more thing with technology in Singapore, and see how it compares to how our teachers are working the model. Is it a case of “leaving the kids to their own technological learning devices” and hoping for the best, or is there a generally genuine high understanding of what tools might open horizons and improve the learning experience?

    Have a good sleep!
    Ewan