THE government is committed to its vision to provide world-class education and ensure that it adheres to the highest standards, especially after the formation of the new government after the 14th General Election.
According to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik, some modifications will be made as the main area of focus of his ministry is the adoption of technology-based learning.
He explained that the new learning experience, focused on play-based learning with the aid of technology and less reliance on textbooks, would benefit students as it promoted active engagement on their part to enjoy the learning process.
Teachers will also benefit as it will help them conduct the classes efficiently and promotes two-way interaction. It could also decrease their workload due to less administrative duties.
The implementation of the second wave of the Malaysian Education Quality Standard (SKPMg2), an online self-assessment tool of documentation to ensure systematic management, which aims to improve schools by identifying their strengths and weaknesses during the previous government, had received several complaints from teachers.
Most of them claimed the audit process and data input verification had been an extra burden as it involved an excessive amount of paperwork, which reduced teachers’ face-to-face interaction with students.
As a result, the Education Ministry dropped the system so that teachers could focus on delivering quality education to students.
The suspension of SKPMg2 since June last year was welcomed by teachers and the National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan, who lauded it as the first step towards the removal of unnecessary paperwork.
The existing technology such as Internet networking, and the emerging Internet-of-Things (IoT), can be synergised to improve the way teachers conduct classes and the way students consume the lessons.
It is believed that the future of the education system relies on the idea of enhancing the educational platform by the adoption of technology using IoT, which is featured in adaptive e-learning.
The classroom will be equipped with IoT infrastructure, which comprise sensors, monitors and data acquisition systems, which help teachers collect information on the classroom, such as keeping track of students’ performance.
With the same technology, using wireless robotic modules during the learning process could encourage students’ interest towards core subjects of the future, which are Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
By implementing big data and cloud processing features in this IoT infrastructure, it will allow teachers and the ministry to collect information from classroom activities in real time and record students’ performance at once.
The technology is now available for us to embrace. Technology giants, like Microsoft, has launched “Windows 10 IoT”, which allow users to connect dozens of electronic devices, which could be controlled and managed according to the way they desire.
One school in China, Beijing Middle School, has been using the IoT infrastructure and claimed it raised students’ engagement in the learning process and helped teachers organise learning materials in a better approach.
The system, which generally connects 50 digital whiteboards to all-in-one television sets in classrooms, as well as 150 teachers, has increased the start-up time of the classroom’s electronic devices to initiate teaching.
As a result, it helped start the class on time and save on the school maintenance and equipment costs. Besides encouraging students’ active engagement in an interactive learning environment, the IoT-assisted educational tool has helped teachers assess students’ achievements.
The general practice in most schools is that students will be given assessments manually and they will be picked by teachers to be manually evaluated before the result is recorded in the online system.
When a teacher conducts the same subject for many classes, the work multiplies and this excessive workpile cannot be finished in the office and has to be brought home.
Moreover, when a teacher has to teach more than one subject for a number of classes, the pressure will be unbearable and eventually affect the teaching quality.
Therefore, a solution based on IoT seems to have positive outcomes to address this issue since its use is proven to be effective in Beijing Middle School.
The education minister said volunteers and pensioned teachers would be absorbed in school as teaching assistants to help teachers with administration work.
This measure is seen as one of the solutions to reduce teachers’ workload, to improve the quality of education and allow technical experts and educators to develop a stable IoT-based education platform.
When the platform is ready to be used, teachers and students can experience the difference in the learning process as it is expected to bring more positive effects since it is capable of raising student engagement in the classroom.
Future collaboration with experts from abroad is necessary before the implementation of the IoT-based education system.
A pilot programme using this technology in selected local schools is recommended.
IoT benefits the students if the country would consider it to be part of our future education policy.
Nurul Ezdiani Fudhlana Shahri, Kolej Komuniti Jasin, Melaka