Leaping with technology

SK Jalan Selangor (1) Bahasa Melayu teacher Rozita Osman (second from left), Kamalanathan (second from right) and Yeoh (right) taking part in a Mystery Hangout session at the school.

SK Jalan Selangor (1) Bahasa Melayu teacher Rozita Osman (second from left), Kamalanathan (second from right) and Yeoh (right) taking part in a Mystery Hangout session at the school.

IT may be the year of the rooster, but for SK Jalan Selangor (1), it is the frog that matters.

In this case, the school has joined over 100 others in Malaysia to boast of having its own Frog Classroom.

The Frog Classroom Programme is an initiative by YTL Foundation in collaboration with FrogAsia, provider of the Frog VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) under the Education Ministry’s 1BestariNet project.

At the launch of the classroom at the school in Petaling Jaya last month, Deputy Education Minister Datuk P Kamalanathan said ICT is already part and parcel of education.

“It will not be a luxury in the near future, but a necessity,” he said of the classroom, which when combined with the Frog VLE platform, gives teachers and students a chance to be creative with the teaching and learning process.

“We are still in the early stages of implementing this sort of programme in schools.

“No matter what the government plans or how much they spend to improve the education system, it will be ineffective if teachers cannot understand and embrace the changes that are needed to transform education,” he added.

However, Kamalanathan said the majority of teachers have easily adapted and are thriving when teaching in 21st century classrooms such as a Frog Classroom.

Despite the good feedback from teachers who are more than keen to use the Frog VLE platform, Kamalanathan said the percentage of actual usage was “very low”.

“Teachers and the Parent-Teacher Associations should work together to increase the usage of Frog VLE and expand it to beyond the classroom walls,” he said, adding that it was not an impossible task.

He also commended the school for piloting the usage of gamification in the teaching of Science and Mathematics.

SK Jalan Selangor (1) headmaster Razwan Mohd Zin said that since the school started using the classroom and the Frog VLE platform, not only are the pupils more motivated but their academic scores have also increased.

He said the Frog Classroom has been in the pipeline since 2013 before being completed in 2015.

Since then, it has has been used by pupils from Years Two to Six from the school to interact with pupils from other schools and even countries.

“We have had Google Hangout sessions with students from India and even Brisbane, Australia,” he added.

Razwan said his school is fortunate as it did not face any problems with the internet connection, which has made it much easier to fully utilise the digital learning platform.

On the day of the launch, Kamalanathan joined the pupils of 5 Melur while they were having an interactive Bahasa Melayu lesson via Mystery Hangout session with three other schools – SK Seri Bayu of Perak, SK Teriang of Johor, and SK Langkawi of Kedah.

FrogAsia executive director Yeoh Pei Luo said the Frog Classroom was created to enable students to learn in a holistic and technologically-advanced environment.

“The Frog classroom provides an opportunity for teachers and students to explore the aspects of understanding, evaluating, applying what is learnt, and being resourceful in education.

“It’s 21st century learning that emphasises creativity, collaboration, critical-thinking and communication. These skills are important so that our students are able to compete globally. And it really works as students are more engaged and motivated to learn when they’re in the classroom.

“It is engaging environments like this and also the technology that enables us to bring out the best in the child,” she said.

Yeoh added that YTL’s Corporate Finance and Legal Departments worked together with RHB Banking Group, OCBC Bank, AmBank Group, Maybank and UOB to raise RM55,000 for the school’s Frog Classroom.

She added this Frog Classroom is special because it has “little touches” to lend a more feminine flavour, such as the floral motifs on the walls.

“The messages and motivational sayings written on the tables are also specifically directed at girls.”

Each Frog Classroom under the programme features specially designed furniture, with tables and chairs arranged in a way that encourages collaborative learning with the use of technology.