E-Learning to the next level in 2018 – But…?

Starting next year, Singaporean students will be able to access online e-learning portals, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Wednesday (16th August).

The basic functions of the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) are currently being piloted at 62 primary and secondary schools, and the portal will be rolled out in phases to all schools, including junior colleges as well as the Millennia Institute from 2018, the ministry said.

Individual Pace for Students

E-learning secondary school
Credit: The Straits Times
In partnership with GovTech (why do they have to privatise major sectors), students will be able to learn at their own pace with the implementation of the SLS, and replay lessons, revisit homework activities and tutorials or areas that they are keen on learning more about. The platform has materials that will enhance learning of various subjects including English, science, history, social studies and mathematics. That being said, there will be a lot more screen-time for students, which has its consequences.
Parents who are kiasu will “force” their child to start learning ahead of the school term, just to get a competitive edge against their classmates. However, SLS might be ineffective towards slow learners and families that are not tech-savvy. If they fail to follow the curriculum, they might lag behind.
Kiasu parents
Credit: Leadership.com.sg

National University of Singapore lecturer Kelvin Seah said: “Even without the portal, kiasu parents will still be able to make their kids learn in advance if they wish, by making kids read textbooks beyond their grade level.”

He pointed out that a more obvious issue is that the online platform may not suit some students who are reliant on external help.

Reduced Reliance on Tuition

Once again, technology is replacing humans. With the new SLS, parents can first turn to the e-learning platform instead of going directly to tuition centres. Well, I believe Primary and Secondary education should be free (they are, relatively!), and parents should not need to pay thousands of dollars a month for tuition.
robots taking jobs
According to the Household Expenditure Survey released in 2014, Singaporeans are spending $1.1 billion on tuition! Double of the $650 million a decade ago in 2004. Then again, some tuition teachers will be unemployed because of this. Right?

What about textbooks?

The ideal situation is that we all (including students) own our own individual device that stores everything, which will reduce the need of physical textbooks. There are many pros and cons, but here some of the ones I feel that matters most.

  • Going to school without books, but tablets.
  • Less paper, more trees!
  • But what if tablet no battery!? Charge lor. More electricity bill.
  • What if the tablet spoils? Back up to a computer, preferably with cloud storage to track progress.
  • Less books means lesser chance of back problems for kids.

Having been through studying for 17 years myself, books do have their perks, but so do tablets and computers. It will be interesting to see what happens next year.

I remember during my time in secondary school days, e-learning was pretty much useless, where we have to do one lesson online with a computer once a month. And if you did not have a computer, you go to school’s library and do it there. Rather counter intuitive. What do you think?textbooks vs tablet