HARNESSING THE POWER OF EMERGING CLOUD COMPUTING TO DEVELOP AND FOSTER A COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL COMMUNITY, NGEE ANN 2.0, IN THE NEW DIGITAL AGE
Ngee Ann Secondary School (SINGAPORE)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Ngee Ann Secondary School (Singapore) is tapping on the potential of the Web-based applications in the emerging cloud computing services to develop a collaborative school community with its own identity, Ngee Ann 2.0. The school has adopted Microsoft's Live@Edu to harness a suite of applications to help students manage their academic studies, share information and resources with other students and teachers on projects, and stay connected with friends in an increasingly Web-connected world. Teachers have also begun to form a dynamic Professional Learning Community (PLC) within the system to collaborate and improve learning and teaching in the classrooms.
Upon reflection, we realized that schools are often structured in a way that minimize collaboration, reflection and innovation, which are critical to the professional development of teachers. (Giselle O. Martin-Kniep, 2008). Committed to strengthening the profession of education and moving away from the Trivial Pursuit Theory (David Perkins, 1992), Ngee Ann Secondary School decides to promote a pervasive and collaborative learning culture among teachers and students through a holistic approach and leverage on a common e-platform, Microsoft Live@Edu.
Microsoft Live@Edu is a unified platform consisting of a suite of online applications that enable a user to view and share files, to collaborate with other online users and for easier communication. All the online applications are accessible by just a single account called the Windows Live ID. It is beneficial for an integrated system to have single-sign on capability. Live@Edu reduces the hassle of having to remember so many password for different accounts and allows users to consolidate their personal data and files in one place.
Teachers can leverage on Microsoft ExchangeLabs, which is an integrated emailing system with Windows Live Messenger (WLM) for easy communication with students. Besides allowing students to coordinate their collaborative work via WLM, another objective is providing opportunity for students, who are either too shy or not forthcoming in asking questions during normal curriculum time, to communicate and interact with their teachers on this platform. As members of the Professional Learning Community, teachers can be engaged in collegial inquiry and reflective practice beyond school context. This platform allows teachers to articulate and analyse their thinking and compare teaching practices in search of better pedagogies and practices.
With additional features such as Office Live Workspace, Windows Live Spaces and Window Live Groups, teachers and students can now create, save, access and share their documents and files. Teachers can post their teaching resources such as notes and worksheets for students to download anytime as well as to share teaching resources with fellow teachers. Not only do these additional features helped to extend learning and discussion beyond the classroom, the harnessing of cloud computing has added value to learning and collaboration among teachers and students in Ngee Ann Secondary School.
Keywords: cloud computing, professional learning community.