yesterday my team and i formally ended our partnership with a school in Singapore, in terms of the research collaboration we have enjoyed with the principal, staff and students of Ngee Ann Secondary School as we worked alongside them as part of the Ministry of Education’s Futureschool programme.
our collaboration was initiated in August 2011, and in September 2012 the teachers and my team conceptualised a web-based collaborative platform for the pedagogical strategy known as the Structured Academic Controversy (SAC). we developed and iterated it over the course of three-and-a-half years and in March this year we submitted our final report. we dubbed our project Newsroom and it can be thought of as a web-based extension of the award-winning mobile-game EcoRangers which my friend Jason Wang and i developed as part of my PhD back in 2004.
for Newsroom, our research questions were:
- what are the affordances of using SAC as a pedagogical strategy in Social Studies?
- how might some of the limitations of using SAC be mediated through the use of scenario-based learning in a newsroom metaphor?
- how might the newsroom metaphor help students appropriate the epistemologies through which they seek to make sense of social media and mass media?
- how might Newsroom be used in formal and non-formal curricula in Social Studies?
- which other subject disciplines might Newsroom lend itself to being appropriately used?
our second project as part of this collaboration with the school made use of the Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE), developed by Prof Paul Kim and his team at Stanford. this project started in February 2014, and was operationalised over two years.
the research questions for our SMILE project were:
- what are the affordances of using Generating Questions as a pedagogical strategy in the learning of physics?
- how might some of the limitations of this strategy be mediated through the use of SMILE?
- how does the nature and efficacy of learners’ questions change over time, through progressive interaction with SMILE?
- how might the use of SMILE help students appropriate the epistemologies of disciplinary experts in Science?
- how might SMILE be used in formal and non-formal curricula in Science education?
- what is the nature of the supports for such translation?
my team and i are very grateful for the trust extended to us by the principal, staff, and students of the school over this five-year journey.