SHAH ALAM: It is not often that learning activities make schoolchildren excited, but at a recent i-Think Accelerator Programme (i-TAP) organised by the Ministry of Education and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM), they certainly were, much to the surprise of teachers and parents alike.
The grounds of SK Seksyen 24 took on a carnival-like atmosphere when students from more than 20 schools from the surrounding areas converged to participate in the various activities held.
Students and teachers alike were introduced to innovative ways of teaching and learning through eight thinking maps which represent the thinking processes being propagated in Malaysian schools through the i-THINK programme. It was introduced as a pilot programme to 10 schools in the beginning of the year.
The i-TAP programme is aimed at introducing i-Think to more schools since it would be implemented in 1,000 schools next year.
At SK Seksyen 24, lucky draws were held to encourage teachers and students to answer a quiz question on the thinking processes.
A special feature of the event was the Designer Camp held simultaneously for 70 students who were handpicked from the participating schools. The objective of the camp was to inculcate creative problem-solving skills by giving the participants a "problem" for which they have to come up with a solution.
Amir Haris, 12, from Sekolah Rendah Taman TTDI Jaya, Shah Alam, said he enjoyed the activities immensely.
"It taught me creativity and helped me overcome my shyness. I will definitely come for more such camps," he said.
Another participant, G. Subashini of SJK (T) Ladang Rasak, Bukit Subang, said she liked the camp because she learned teamwork and cooperation.
"I like this way of learning. It allows us to think and work together to solve problems," she said.
SK Setia Alam teacher Haspawati Hassan, who brought 200 students to the event, said it was good for them to attend such events.
"The process of getting to know about the thinking maps outside the classroom is a new way to learn and more enjoyable for both students and teachers," she said.
Her words were echoed by Nazariah Mohd Ozir, a teacher from SK Seksyen 19, Shah Alam.
"The children liked going to the different thinking map booths and learning about them this way. It made the concept clearer. We should have events like this more often," she said.
AIM chief executive officer Mark Rozario said the i-TAP programme had been conducted in 12 venues in Selangor over a three-week period. Each venue involved up to 30 schools in its vicinity.
"The programme was aimed at creating awareness among the students, teachers and parents from some 340 schools in Selangor in anticipation of the rollout of the i-Think programme next year," Rozario said.
"In terms of resources and logistics, it made sense to start the awareness programme in Selangor as AIM is located in the state. Also Selangor has a rather mixed population, so it is a good place to test the response and appreciation for the thinking processes before they are extended nationwide next year," he said.
This i-Think programme will be implemented in all schools in 2014.