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Gadgets & Home Improvement

Chinese teaching app for four more schools

Starting next year, MyCloud will be introduced to improve learning.
The Straits Times - February 7, 2013
By: Stacey Chia
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Chinese teaching app for four more schools Nan Chiau Primary 5 pupils (from left) Jovita Chia, Beal Ng and Liu Kai Min, with Chinese teacher Quek Guan Hui showing the Chinese teaching tool MyCloud, which will be used in four other primary schools next year. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

THE Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan will be expanding an initiative to use technology to teach Chinese in its other affiliated primary schools after a successful roll-out in Nan Chiau Primary.

For the last three years, it has spent about $500,000 helping Nan Chiau Primary kick-start a mobile learning tool as well as partially funding the mobile devices needed to access the app.

Starting next year, this tool, called MyCloud, will also be introduced in Tao Nan School, Ai Tong School, Kong Hwa School and Chongfu Primary.

Pupils in these schools will need a mobile device to access the platform in class and at home. In Nan Chiau Primary, the cost of the gadget is borne by the clan association and sponsors.

Mr Adrian Peh, education committee chairman in the clan association, said it is still working out the amount to be spent on this expansion. It will also need to find sponsors.

"Learning Chinese requires motivation and technology can help bring the language to life," he added.

MyCloud, which works like a social networking tool, was created by a team comprising Nan Chiau Primary's Chinese-language teachers, the National Institute of Education, the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language and Microsoft.

For instance, to test their understanding of the language and encourage them to use it outside school, the pupils can upload pictures and caption them in Chinese. Friends can then comment on their posts.

They can also use an e-dictionary and translator incorporated into the app.

MyCloud is currently used by Primary 3 to Primary 5 pupils at Nan Chiau Primary. There are also plans to share the app with other schools if this initial expansion is successful.

Mr Tan Chun Ming, principal of Nan Chiau Primary School, said pupils' grades have improved after the tool was rolled out. They are also using the language more outside class as Chinese is taught in a more "functional way".

Chinese-language teachers from the other four primary schools will be attending workshops at Nan Chiau Primary this year to help them design lessons using the app as well as to observe the lessons taught.

These schools are expected to start a pilot programme in selected Primary 3 classes next year.

staceyc@sph.com.sg

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