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Smart Schools

Smart Schools

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Published by: aliceshikin on Oct 12, 2009
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Introduction MSC Malaysia, formerly known as the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), is a national initiative spearheaded by the Malaysian Government to promote both the national ICT industry and provide a test-bed for the global ICT industry. MSC Malaysia provides a conducive enabling environment designed to facilitate companies to harness the full potential of ICT and multimedia technologies. With its ideal business environment coupled with availability of talent resources, the MSC Malaysia has attracted participation from major global ICT companies to develop and host their leading-edge technologies in the designated MSC Malaysia Cybercities. MSC Malaysia also provides the ideal growth environment for Malaysian ICT SMEs to transform themselves into world-class companies. In late 1996, the Smart School project was introduced as one of the seven Flagship applications of the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), a gargantuan government project that aims at building Malaysia’s capability in the ICT area. The Smart School Flagship was conceptualized out of the vital necessity for Malaysia to make the critical transition from an industrial economy to a leader in the Information Age. Education is the vehicle for the fundamental shift towards a more technologically literate, thinking workforce, which is able to perform in a global work environment and use the tools available in the Information Age. The Smart School Flagship aims to reinvent the educational system in Malaysia in order to ensure the achievement of Vision 2020. The Ministry of Education (MOE) implements the Smart School Flagship through a partnership between the Government, the private sector and the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC). The Smart School Flagship will help children to practice self-paced, self-accessed, and self-directed learning. Students will learn at their own pace, learn to access information from various sources independent of the teacher, and learn to explore topics of interest outside the curriculum.


Malaysian Smart School

The Malaysian Smart School Flagship was developed on a strong belief that technology in education and communication is a key access to convey the learning desire to all. The impact of technology on education and further generations is undoubtedly enormous. The Smart School Flagship is one of the seven flagship applications predicted under the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative.

It was implemented on a Pilot basis between 1999 and 2002. Expected one of the most further-looking ICT-mediate learning initiatives in the world, the Smart School Flagship attempts to reinvent the teaching-learning process. In the Pilot, the Smart School Integrated Solution (SSIS) was rolled out to 87 schools in the country at the cost of about USD78 million (RM300 million). The Smart School project is implemented by the Ministry of Education (MoE), Malaysia. The industry partner is Telekom Smart School (TSS) that was awarded the contract to develop the project in collaboration with the MoE and the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC). Since the early 1970s, various initiatives had been taken by Malaysian Government in facilitating a wider usage of ICT to encourage capabilities in very field as well as in education. The history of Smart School Project is stand in two objectives of flagship, which are:

To jumpstart the MSC towards: o Building a knowledge-based economy o Contributing to the growth of the ICT industry o Creating a pool of talent resulting in high-value job creation To prepare the citizens for the information age through an innovative education delivery process.

The Concept Requests for Proposals (CRFP) process was used for the first time ever in the country to establish partnerships between the government of Malaysia and the private sector to help conceptualise plan and implement the Flagship Applications of the Multimedia Super Corridor. In July 1997, the Prime Minister launched the Smart School Flagship Application documents to invite proposals for solutions from the private sector within and outside the country.


The Differences of Smart School from Normal National Schools

The Malaysian government is preparing to meet the challenges of globalization as part of its strategy of becoming a developed country as envisaged in the national agenda, Vision 2020. Creating an Information Communication Technology (ICT) literate society was a central platform in achieving the transformation at 2020. Thus, the National Information Technology Council was established three (3) years late to advise the government on ICT policies as well as provide assistance with implementing them. The Council launched the National IT Agenda in December 1996 and one (1) of the concept in the Agenda is about E-learning. In this concept, E-learning included the Smart School`s Project. There are four (4) important elements in Smart School that are Smart Learning, Smart Teaching, Smart Assessment and also Smart use of Technology. In Normal National School, it does not have all this four (4) elements especially Smart use of

Technology. Smart School is a one of school that make a change in all of the aspect of education such as the way to manage the school, classroom, time, student assessment, responsibilities, relationship between school and people and also their surroundings. The characteristic that make a Smart School different from Normal National School are Smart School have their own teacher-learning that are student have their own assessment and have selection and approval of teaching-learning materials. In teacher-learning, students in class will learn by variety of ways such as distance learning, internet and electronic courseware. Amplitude assessment will be conducted at the point of school entry and then periodically after that and also best courseware materials need to be identified for teaching Smart School subjects that have in in Smart School not in Normal National School. Besides that, school management of Smart School also difference with Normal National School. In school management, there are differences in school governance, student affairs, educational resources, external resources, financial, facilities, human resources, security and technology. In school governance, it creates channels of rapid communication to the world. In people, skills and responsibilities it contains teachers, administrators, technical staff, personnel in the educational system that support Smart School implementation, parents and lastly community. In Smart School, teacher must have knowledge about IT and used it in the teaching-learning process. Parents who sent their children in Smart School are lucky because their can easily access academic and health record of their child on-line. Technology is a big difference if we compare it with Normal National School. This is because in Smart School it has technological input, technology standards, data security, and also technology architecture. In Smart School it already have laboratory computer that will use of student to increase their knowledge about ICT. But if we compare with Normal National School, there are not have laboratory computer and their mind are quite close about ICT. Data security makes most of the Smart Schools will be on-line and easily accessible. This is a real difference between both of this school.


Objectives and Goals of Smart School

The Smart School is a learning institution that has been reinvented in terms of teaching and learning methods and school administration system in order to prepare the students for the Information-Based Society. Creativity and better management of information is facilitated through the use of technology where students, teachers, administrators and parents are better prepared for the challenges of the information Age. The objectives of the Smart School, which are based on Malaysia's National Philosophy of Education, are as follows:

• • • • •

To produce a thinking and technology-literate workforce To democratize education To increase participation of stakeholders To provide all-round development of the individual To provide opportunities to enhance individual strengths and abilities

In order to achieve these goals, some strategies were settled for each of the objectives.

Goals Produce a thinking and technology-literate workforce Democratize education

• • • •

Strategies Teach thinking across the curriculum Apply technology in teaching and learning Provide equal access to learning opportunities Provide for differing abilities, styles, and paces of learning Create awareness of what happens in schools Enable easy and speedy communication with the school using technology Provide opportunities for stakeholders (e.g. parents, community) to participate Provide a broad curriculum for all Teach values and language across the curriculum Emphasize thinking skills Provide electives in curriculum Allow for vertical integration (virtual express class)

Increase participation of stakeholders

• • •

All-round development of the individual (intellectual, physical, emotional, spiritual) Provision to develop individual strengths and abilities

• • • • •


Roles Played by Teachers, Students, and Parents in Achieving the Goals

Everything that we do, exactly have the goals and objectives. Goal and objectives can guide us to achieve what we wanted. And when we have our own goals and objectives, we need somebody else to make sure the goals and objectives are success. It same like Smart School, that wanted to achieved their goals and objectives. In order to achieve the goals and objectives, teachers, students and parents must play their roles. Here, I would

like to share some of their role player to make sure the goals and objectives of Smart School are achieved.

Teachers Teachers are the one of important person in order to achieve the goals and objectives. Teachers can play their role by providing suitable school environment for students. We already know that Smart School is a school where use technology (E-Learning). So, teachers must know and be intellectual to used ICT when they want to teach the students. For teachers who`s don`t know how to use ICT, them can learn it slowly. Thus, teachers must used ICT facilities and the teaching and learning materials that can contributed to the student`s grown and development. Teachers must transform them self by up-to-date with current practise. Educational technology is leveraged by teachers for teaching and learning needs like problem solving, critical thinking and the acquisition of new content. Teaching and learning need to cease outside of school hours as teachers can choose to continue to interact online to provide additional support with homework tasks and assignments. Combining the roles within classroom with the learning strategies available results in an overview of the difference classroom environments. Some possible classroom environments are more realistic than others based on the fit between the roles of the teacher and student and the learning strategy. In Teacher-Centred, teachers can focus on basic skill, frequent Drill and repeat the exercise. For observation strategy, teacher can give example of application of basic skill and theory, and students observe expert or teacher. Clear lesson plan determined by teacher (focus on applying basic skills, with some student-student interaction). Teacher also can do the discussion and question and answer with student to achieved learning goal that was set by the teacher.

Students Student also involved playing a role in order to achieve the goals and objectives of Smart School. Student need to reap the benefits of self-paced learning, learning away from school and making learning a creative and enjoyable experience. In the smart learning, student can use the facilities that provided to them to increase their performance. `Bestari Brigade` is a formation of help groups, where students help with troubleshooting and maintenance of the ICT infrastructure in schools herald’s changes in the role of students in teaching-learning process.

In class, student must active in asking a question for interactive session. Student can ply their role by work in distributed, collaborative groups, playing a more proactive role in the teaching-learning process. Learning will eventually become student-centric, with student becoming expert in `managing learning environment.

Parents A parent is a mother and father, one who sires or gives birth to or nurtures and raises an offspring. Without them, of we are not here as a successful person. Thus, everyone have their own parent. Parent gives so many strength to us to continue our life. So, we must realise that parent give a major roles in helping Smart Schools provided individualised education for their child (student). Some research shows that student will do much better if their parents are also involved in their activity. This is because parent can give same spirit, motivation, providing guidance and counsel. And this entire thing can make their relationship between student and parent better. Parents will support and assist schools in their effort to turn smart. The potential of parents to contribute synergies that can exploit faster and more efficient technological innovations should be seriously explored. The roles and responsibilities of Smart School parents must be widely acknowledged and accepted, in order to create significant buy-in for parents to assume a much stronger role in the Smart School educational process. Here have a strategy that can be adopted to increase the participation of Smart School parent both in the delivery of educational as well as in the supervision of children outside of school.
POSSIBLE STRATEGIES • National campaign on parents in Smart School - media (electronic/print media) - road show (seminar, exhibition, forum) • Parents’ Role in Smart School Conference • Briefing on Smart School educational

process • Basic IT skill training at school level • Counselling and motivation seminars - State/District level - School level • School tours/exhibitions of the technology available in school • Parent support group monthly meetings • “IT Camps” at schools • Parents Bulletin Boards/Home Pages • “School Cyber Cafés” for parents • Launching of parent’s web-site

Skills and Knowledge needed: • Ability to access school’s public domain databases • Ability to counsel and motivate their children • Ability to understand educational process

Roles and Responsibilities:

• Personal charge of children’s learning experiences - monitor children’s progress - guide, motivate and counsel children • Support school activities • Resource persons/experts in their own area

2.4 Knowledge and Skills of a Teacher to play An Effective Role in Smart School Education

The Smart School has a commitment to provide equal opportunities for all students with different needs and capabilities so as to enhance their capacity for learning. This commitment involves the development of the main stakeholders who are involved in the delivery of Smart School teaching. This will give a new revolution in education from traditional modes of teaching currently practiced. The main stakeholders will include teachers, principals, support staff, parents and the community. But, the person who played the most important roles is the teacher themselves. In order to play an effective role in Smart School Education and to carry out their respective responsibilities, teachers will need to be equipped with specific skills and have the requisite knowledge base and attitude. Teacher development will be the most critical component as teachers will be the primary deliverers of Smart School teaching. A comprehensive teacher education programme incorporating best practices in technology supported learning will be critical to the success of the Smart School initiative. The intensive training on Information Technology skills and technology integration into classroom instructions is needed for these teachers in order to enhance thinking and creativity abilities of the students. Using technology to enhance learning is a major responsibility expected of Smart School teachers. Technology is used as a tool and should be integrated into the curriculum rather than be taught separately as an end in itself. It is best learned within the context of meaningful tasks. Plus, Smart School’s teachers need to be trained as guidance, facilitating and encouraging students to take charge of their own learning. The training should allow participants to explore a wide variety of areas and strategies as well as the opportunities to engage in practicums that represent the reality they would face. Continuous learning is a crucial ingredient as it is necessary for teachers to keep abreast of development in their professional practices and to be confident with technology. Teaching in Smart Schools is to enhanced thinking and creativity. Students are allowed to determine their own style of learning in the way to achieve this. The training that needed for the teachers to support their effort to improve this includes:
• • •

Using methodologies such as student-centered instruction, team teaching, interdisciplinary project-based instruction and individually-paced instruction Taking advantage of other delivery vehicles such as interactive multimedia and the internet Using technology to enhance co-operative learning skills

Teachers also need to be trained to integrate activities that focus on moral development because teaching in Smart Schools needs to help students develop sound moral reasoning skills to reach the higher stages of moral development. The skills should be included forming values, organizing a value system and developing consistent philosophy of life. The pre-service and in-service professional development programmed will have new emphases in nurturing the qualities and practices of teachers in order for them to function in a technology enriched environment. Smart teaching and learning elements such as

higher order thinking skills and moral values have to be incorporated into all pre-service training curriculums. The teaching methodology of all subject areas need to be given a new orientation towards a more experiential and student-centered approach supported by interactive multimedia software and network learning. The overall objective is to produce beginning teachers to be computer literate and comfortable in the use of technology in the design and delivery of lessons. While, in-service comes with two phases. The first phase inducts participants into core professional skills such as basic information technology skills, and assessment skills. The second phase then focuses on the integration of these skills into subjects’ areas trough collaborative strategies supported by technologies. Training then shifts from the basic use of technology for increased productivity and allows teachers to explore their creative and innovative potentials in the preparation of teaching and learning metarials.



A long-term implementation plan for the period 2005-2020 will set performance targets that will have to be met by the major players. The plan would have to get the approval and full backing of the government in terms of its commitments to the goals of the Smart School. Having relevant policies in place is an important factor to enhance implementation. Support will also be provided in terms of making available the necessary human, financial and physical resources required by the initiative. The MoE, by virtue of its expertise in education and responsibility over schools nationwide, will lead the way. The MDC, meanwhile, besides the role it was entrusted with during the Pilot Project, is well placed to act as coordinating agency. It can engage with the private sector, address the R&D concerns as well as involve the educational institutions through its vast and strategic network. It will act as a bridge between the government agencies and other external parties, along with being an initiator and prime mover of public-private sector collaborations. An exclusive approach, where it is recognised that many other parties can effectively contribute to the enterprise, needs to be applied. There are similar initiatives by private sector courseware providers within the country that can be studied as a model. These companies provide content and services to improve the teaching-learning of English, Mathematics, Science and Malay Language vernacular languages in independent schools not directly under the ambit and financing of the government. 11

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