Visiting SK Seri Bayu School in Malaysia

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I’m visiting SK Seri Bayu School in the state of Perak in Malaysia today, talking about the exciting things we can do with blogs and podcasts with our students. The photo above shows me with Ruth, the school’s ICT teacher, as she created her first blog. Her principal is looking on.

It’s been a very interesting time so far, spending time with the principals and teachers in these Malaysian schools discussing the nature of the programmes we have operating in the schools in our respective countries. Many of the same issues keep on arising, including,

  • ICT infrastructure and bandwidth issues
  • availability of technical support – where from, quality issues, costs.
  • provision of hardware for teachers and students – who pays, renewal cycles etc
  • pedagogical issues – pressure of high stakes assessment driving classroom practice etc.
  • shortage of skilled teachers in some subject areas

… and the list continues.

It was interesting to learn that in the State of Perak where we are currently there has been a programme running to supply teachers with laptops which comes with a programme of training in ICT literacy. The programme began five years ago with all of the year one teachers in the state, and this year will target all of the year five teachers. The competencies addressed in training programme (supported by a full set of CD-based training materials) covers everything from basic computer operation to office applications, web applications and some creativity tools etc.

It has been interesting sharing some examples of what teachers and students do in New Zealand schools – a striking contrast is the fact that most of these things are done on computers in classrooms as a part of the classroom programme. While the teachers at Seri Bayu were very interested in learning more about these activities and how they might do similar things with their students, the current situation where all computers in the school are in computer labs and students rostered in for one hour a week on a five week rotational programme means that access to computers for these more creative, group-based and integrated sorts of activities is limited.

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