Saturday, January 21, 2012

E-Textbooks and PPSMI

Apple in education. Going by what they have done to tablet computing, I think education, especially the learning experience will probably be seeing a shift.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

And this is one reason why the soon to be dead PPSMI (teaching of Math and Science in English) should remain, or at least parents and students be given a choice of the medium of instruction. I downloaded the samples of the e-textbooks that they put up in the Store and if these are to be a peek of what is to come, education as we know will change.

From my own experience, I have found the educational apps to be of great help in teaching my kids. During Son's time, we had to be where the computer was but still back then, technology complimented, aided in the teaching and made learning more fun.

Then came the iPad. The apps with educational values were simply awesome. When Spirit and Rover were on Mars, the NASA app made it so easy for me to show the kids the pics of the surface. If you wanted to teach about the constellations, there are so many apps available. All you need to do is just hold your iPad to the sky and you get a guide, real time. I can even show things that I only had some inkling. If skills used to be reflected in how much knowledge you can retain and use, I guess skill now would be how well you know what tools are available and how to use them.

Enter the e-textbooks. You get videos, personal tutors and a touch screen to try out certain tasks. The learner gets instant feedback. And with upgrades which seem to be a practice today, books will never quite go out of date.... and this is where PPSMI benefits; though one might say that if the MBMMBI works, it'll get the same results too.

Still, if our kids are no good in English, they lose out. At the moment, I think it's hard to imagine our local publishers coming out with e-textbooks of this quality. I read through the intro of the recently released e-textbooks in the App Store. The end product is a collaboration of many - researchers, teachers, videographers, graphic designers, etc, etc. And that also means that digital textbooks will now enable a rather efficient delivery system where information can get to the students...... from the scientists, top notch people in their respective fields. And we'll be incapacitated by our lack of language. 

English is important. It does not mean that we turn our back on our national language if we seem overzealous in trying get it to be used as much as possible. Our English standard is bad now. That is a fact.  For now, English is a language of knowledge. Master it and a whole world of knowledge opens up. And that is what the e-textbooks has shown too.... There'll be many good quality instructional books which our kids will be missing out. Seems such a pity that our policy makers don't quite see that. 20 years ago, there was still quite a big group who could handle materials in English. Today, the group is getting smaller. But perhaps too, we are happier being the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, trying to convince ourselves that we are doing okay.... Woe to us!

1 comment:

Thomas C B Chua said...

AJ7 the hands of the clock just cannot be turned back. The damage is done. We have only a few broken pieces of English left to cherish and those who pick them up reap the benefit. Those who don't, they don't even know what they are missing, having been clouded and deceived by pseudo nationalism and overt religious indoctrination. Look at the sign and bill boards in Arabic in our dear city of Alor Star ! This is only 1433 by a certain calender. (Sigh)

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