The combined resources of the team produced an extensive bibliography of publications on the philosophy, concepts and planning of Smart Schools. Introduction Introduction 7. These documents enable companies to respond and participate in the Smart School system to be established.
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In addition to using the expertise and experience of team members, the team also sought the advice of a wide range of experts in the fields of education and industry. The Smart School Steering Committee of the Ministry of Education deliberated on an earlier draft of this Blueprint and provided useful insights and comments towards its finalisation. This Vision calls for sustained, productivity-driven growth, which will be achievable only with a technologically literate, critically thinking work force prepared to participate fully in the global economy of the 21st century.
It will require students to exercise greater responsibility for their own education, while seeking more active participation by parents and the wider community. This will be done by creating a group of 90 pilot Smart Schools by that will serve as the nucleus for the eventual nation-wide rollout of Smart School teaching concepts and materials, skills, and technologies. This Blueprint - like the Smart School concept itself - is a work in progress and remains open to evolutionary refinement, including advances in pedagogy and improvements in information technology.
Consequently, this document is descriptive, rather than prescriptive. Executive Summary Smart School Conceptual Blueprint Page July, Smart School Project Team Executive Summary continued This document summarises the Blueprint and is organised into eight sections: Preparing students for the Information Age depends on an integrated strategy: Provide all-round development with provision for individual abilities, offering a broad curriculum for all, with electives, that is vertically integrated, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Emphasise intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and physical growth, concentrating on thinking, developing and applying values, and using correct language across the curriculum.
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Produce a technologically literate work force that can think critically, encouraging thought and creativity across the curriculum and applying technology effectively in teaching and learning. Democratise education, offering equal access to learning opportunities and accommodating differing learning abilities, styles, and paces. Increase the participation of stakeholders, creating awareness of their roles and responsibilities and developing the skills they need for that.
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Executive Summary Conceptual Model The Malaysian Smart School is a learning institution that has been systemically reinvented in terms of teaching-learning practices and school management in order to prepare children for the Information Age. A Smart School will evolve over time, continuously developing its professional staff, its educational resources, and its administrative capabilities.
This will allow the school to adapt to changing conditions, while continuing to prepare students for life in the Information Age. To function effectively, the Smart School will require appropriately skilled staff, and well-designed supporting processes.
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Teachers, students and parents will be able to access on-line assessment items. Smart School assessment will be flexible and learner-friendly, while assuring the quality of the assessment information by using multiple approaches and instruments. This entails aligning the curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and teaching-learning materials in a mutually reinforcing, coherent manner. Curriculum The Smart School curriculum shall be meaningful, socially responsible, multicultural, reflective, holistic, global, open-ended, goal-based and technological.
It will seek to ensure that children are educated with critical and creative thinking skills, inculcated with appropriate values, and encouraged to improve their language proficiency. Smart School Conceptual Blueprint Page July, Smart School Project Team Executive Summary continued Further, they will need to develop and maintain a happy , motivated and high-performing staff, ensure the security of the school and its occupants, and use and manage technology appropriately, effectively, and efficiently.
Ensuring co- ordination entails viewing these processes as a system: if the system is well designed, providing appropriate inputs will yield the desired outputs - namely, students ready for higher education or active and productive participation in the work force.
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The Smart Schools initiative offers an ideal opportunity to reassess the current schooling system, identifying problems and finding potential solutions, many of which can be enabled by technology. For the Smart School system, the major inputs are the resources - students, teachers, technology and tools - and the Ministry of Education, in the form of curriculum specification, financing, and management and control functions.
Teaching-learning materials Smart Schools will need teaching-learning materials designed for the new teaching strategies. Management will help to reallocate skilled human resources to more valuable activities, save costs over the long term, improve the quality of decisions through better access to information, and accelerate decision making.
To fulfil its objectives, the Smart School management will need strong, professional administrators and teachers who can articulate school goals clearly, lead teaching at the school, and elicit strong parental and community support. They will need to maintain open communication with all constituencies, allocate resources sensibly and equitably, track school performance against financial and non-financial objectives, and provide a school environment that is conducive to learning.
Principals in Smart Schools will need intensive training to equip them to manage the new facilities, technologies and methodologies deployed in their schools. Ministry of Education Officers Ministry officers, comprising those at the central, state and district levels are crucial to the successful implementation of the Smart School project, because they play a major role in planning, co- ordinating, monitoring, and evaluating Ministry programmes.
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Officers will need to understand thoroughly the educational objectives and policies of the Smart School, the information technology being applied, the teaching-learning and management processes, and their own roles and responsibilities in that context. Support Staff The advent of new educational processes as well as advanced information technology will present real challenges for the support staff at Smart Schools.
At a Smart School, these sub-processes will be constructed so that each delivers the desired output in an integrated manner. In fact, fulfilling these roles and responsibilities will require specialised training for each group. Teachers Teacher development will be critical to the success of the Smart School.
Teachers will need intensive training in the use of information technology and in its integration into classroom activities in ways that enhance thinking and creativity. Smart School teachers will also need to learn to facilitate and encourage students in taking charge of their own learning.
In the long term, these teachers will need to augment their skills regularly, if they are to stay abreast of developments in their profession and remain confident in their application of the technology. Principals The tasks of managing schools involves working with information and building on ideas collaboratively. Only improved teaching-learning strategies, management and administrative processes, and capable, well trained people with enthusiasm for their work can do that. However, information technology can enable the process of transforming traditional schools into Smart Schools.
Consequently, a nation-wide system of Smart Schools will depend on advanced information technology at the school, district and national levels. School-level technology Technology has many roles to play in a Smart School, from facilitating teaching and learning activities to assisting with school management. The coordinator's task will be to support teachers and the principal in deploying multimedia and other technologies in the Smart School. The coordinator should be an experienced teacher who also understands how best to use technology for gathering information, instruction, managing, and communicating.
The coordinator will also need to assist the principal in managing software applications and in liasing with technical support staff for the maintenance and upgrading of IT facilities. School clerical staff will need to build IT skills sufficiently to communicate using the new technology and perform their record keeping functions. In addition to basic IT skills, however, they will also need to understand the new educational processes, so that they can give their support wherever it is needed.
Parents Parents can play a major role in helping Smart Schools provide individualised education for students. Research has shown that students do better when their parents are involved. District-level technology School districts will need to maintain a secure network for communicating with schools in the area and with state and national authorities, while also using the open network for less sensitive materials. Districts will also need to maintain extensive databases for many different types of information, for example, assessment records of student and teacher performance; human resource records; matters of governance, financing, and security; and educational resources.
National-level technology At the national level, interconnecting Smart Schools and educational authorities will involve both open and secure networks. This will allow open access to educational resources, facilitate collaborative work, and maintain open communication channels with constituencies, while providing for the controlled distribution of sensitive information.
In addition, there will need to be a national repository centre that is accessible to all education sites and maintain expedient access to the Ministry of Education and the federal government administration. The technology will enable the school to draw on a variety of external resources, while also making the school more accessible to the community. Students and teachers will be able to tap into public and university libraries; access companies and industry associations; investigate museums and other archives; keep up to date with local authorities.
What will be the best regime for comprehensively and periodically assessing student aptitudes, and what supporting infrastructure will that require? How can tests be administered fairly in multiple ways, including on-line? Selection of materials. Management functions School governance.
What are the appropriate guidelines for intellectual property at a Smart School? Who owns the information compiled at the school, and who gets access to it? Who owns the teaching materials produced by teachers? How best to achieve the rapid relaying of relevant information to and from stakeholders? What channels should be created for rapid communication with the world beyond the school and how to manage those channels? This will require highly reliable telecommunications infrastructure to connect state and district education centres and provide international linkages. It may also require formulating entirely new policies and regulations.
A few of the important issues to be addressed include those outlined below, in the areas of the teaching-learning processes; management functions; people, skills and responsibilities; and technology.