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IDA unveils new learning tools projects for schools

Jack Loo | Nov. 28, 2012
One uses software bots to converse with students and the other assesses and guides students’ learning journey individually.

Two Singapore schools, Ngee Ann Secondary School and the School of Science and Technology, are partnering with technology firms to develop innovative learning tools under the Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA) FutureSchools@Singapore programme.

Ngee Ann Secondary School's project, called Artificial Intelligence Chat Bots, focuses on encouraging critical inquiry among learners through the use of Web-based artificial intelligence chat bots, represented by key historic or scientific figures such as Einstein or Shakespeare, to provide an evolving narrative of specific subjects.

The bots collate and analyse responses given by students to identify learning patterns and assess their needs. The information will be added to a database of questions and learning resources, thereby improving the quality of questions and increasing the depth of content probing with every interaction.

The project has been awarded to aZaaS to develop the software solution for Science and English Literature subjects. The system will be designed to be adaptable to other subjects.

"The FutureSchool innovation will help teachers to identify the learning patterns of their students and better assess their learning needs. This is in line with our aim to deliver a student-centric education. We are pleased to partner aZaaS on this exciting project," said Adrian Lim, Principal, Ngee Ann Secondary School.

Smooth Sailing

Meanwhile, the School of Science and Technology and technology firm ToKToL are developing a Scaffolded Algorithmic Inquiry-Based Learning (SAILing) system.

Students interacting with this system will be automatically assessed on their understanding of the subject matter based on the answers they provide. The responses provided by the student are continuously assessed by the system so that it will be able to determine if the respondent requires more coaching in a particular area. This forms the basis in which the solution provides the necessary guidance as to whether the student can proceed to the next stage of learning.

"The system is able to provide the next level of learning based on the students' progress, so as to better meet their learning needs," said Chua Chor Huat, principal of the School of Science and Technology.

IDA will support the local companies through co-funding of the development costs and providing project management. The solutions are projected to be completed by end 2013.

The FutureSchools@Singapore initiative develops new information and communications technology solutions to support innovative teaching approaches.

"The programme brings about a unique collaboration with MOE, schools and industry partners with the aim of harnessing infocomm effectively and innovatively to enhance teaching and learning in schools," said Lim Teck Soon, director of the Education Cluster IDA.

"The schools can tap industry's expertise in developing next generation solutions and the industry too can tap and learn from schools about how these technologies can be integrated in the curriculum to make meaningful and impactful learning experiences," added Lim.


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