Aussie group helps build school of the future

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Aussie group helps build school of the future

A team of Australians from managed services firm Civica have been chosen to develop one of the five planned ‘Future Schools’ in Singapore.

The project, called FutureSchools@Singapore, is a $61.9 million, four year effort that is geared towards advancing existing technologies to give students a better problem-based learning experience.

The Civica team is working both in Australia and Singapore, with the Aussie team taking charge of core development and integration and the Singapore team looking after testing, training, and development.

“Our solution is strongly pedagogy-focused and supports problem-based learning (PBL), as well as authentic learning,” said Marc Nolan, Civica’s executive director, strategic development.

“This is achieved through processes and tools that support engagement, collaboration and regular assessment at the teacher, peer and individual levels at each point in the PBL cycle.”

The goal of the future schools is to enable both students and teachers to be more autonomous with their studies. Students will sit down with their teacher at the beginning of the year to formulate lesson plans, and can learn and work from home via the Internet and podcasts.

The system also provides teachers with feedback on a student’s development and capabilities, so lessons can be slowed down for struggling students or sped up for students who master the material.

“Students construct their own knowledge in partnership with other students, teachers or parents, building information on what they need to know,” said Nolan.

“Since the solution is student-centric, the students become masters of information, media and technology, which fosters ingenuity and creativity.”

Other aspects of the system include a comprehensive search engine for research, a personalised avatar for each student that spur online relationships with teachers and fellow students, and 3D learning trails that will be used in conjunction with Google Earth.

The future schools system has the potential to be developed for other nations, as educators in several countries are said to be impressed by its flexibility.

“The concept is receiving a positive response from educators in Australia, ASEAN and the UK,” said Philip Barr, Civica’s Managing Director Library and Learning.

“In Australia we are receiving good feedback at Education Department level and from school principals.”
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