Published: Dec 13, 2023

in tomorrow’s classrooms, smarter learning is fuelled by change management and innovative solutions

This article was first published in Govinsider.

Wesley Kok, Gov+ Client Service Lead, Education, tells GovInsider how NCS is partnering stakeholders to shape a more collaborative and engaging educational landscape, where the classrooms of the future will offer more immersive learning experiences.

The education landscape is shifting as schools are transitioning from books and encyclopaedias to the technology-fuelled classrooms of today and tomorrow, which offer more immersive learning experiences. 

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the advent of information and communication technologies, or ICTs, has provided inclusive access to resources and information, developed digital competencies, and enhanced both learning and teaching in the digital age. 

ICT plays a pivotal role in enhancing student performance by enabling collaborative learning experiences. However, as the digital landscape evolves, so do the risks and challenges associated with it.  

NCS, a strategic solutions provider in the education sector in Singapore, is driving innovation and collaboration to transform the classrooms of tomorrow. By harnessing the power of technology, NCS is creating immersive learning environments that go beyond traditional boundaries. 

Wesley Kok, Gov+ Client Service Lead, Education, for NCS tells GovInsider how the IT services provider is a trusted partner to education stakeholders, with a commitment to continuous improvement to shape the educational landscape and make its future more collaborative and engaging for all. 

Learning beyond the classroom

“Back in the day, we had books that allowed us to imagine outer space,” says Kok. “But what if you could immerse yourself on another planet, maybe even ride on the Mars rover?” 

One of the challenges for schools, educators, and their technology partners, he adds, is how to bring to bear such responsive and experiential learning environments. 

In Singapore, one of the outcome goals stated in the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) EdTech Masterplan 2030, with the theme of “Transforming Education through Technology”, is for schools to provide digitally connected learning spaces that support anytime, anywhere learning. 

With a focus on integration, data-driven insights, and human-centred approaches, NCS aims to facilitate such “anytime, anywhere” learning and foster collaborative experiences for students and educators alike by staying at the forefront of emerging technologies.  

“Our solutions bring to life the immersive teaching and learning experiences. This includes the smooth delivery of ICT services in schools with minimal disruption and platforms that promote open virtual collaboration and secure communications,” Kok says. 

These solutions include productivity and communications platforms that leverage on the flexibility and speed of cloud technologies, he adds. 

“The future is where physical and virtual collaboration and learning becomes seamless and provides an environment where learners can learn at their own pace.” 

‘No resting on laurels’

According to Kok, NCS has been a partner of MOE since the early 2000s, supporting an early incarnation of the Schools Standard ICT Operating Environment (SSOE). 

This partnership has evolved over the years to support the dynamic education landscape and enable Singapore to maintain a leadership position in the global education space. 

“We might have good infrastructure [in education] here, but it’s not just about that. We have to keep on challenging ourselves on the newer technologies out there, and not just maintain the status quo and rest on our laurels,” Kok says. 

“NCS’s role as MOE’s strategic partner is to harness technology to enable this change. We believe an adaptive and modular meta-platform is required to allow rapid testing and learning and be able to switch on and off these capabilities.” 

He adds that immersive learning technologies such as the metaverse will become commonplace, giving learners access to rich experiential content that would be otherwise physically out of reach. 

“Collaboration in the future is no longer limited to person to person, between teachers and students.  

“There will be person-to-bot collaborations, harnessing Generative AI technology to further expand on the learning experience, helping both learners and teachers formulate better learning pathways,” he says. 

Shifting mindsets to reimagine teaching and learning

One potential stumbling block to change, including the tech-powered changes that are just around the corner, is the need to shift mindsets. 

“It can be very hard to reimagine the teaching and learning experiences,” says Kok. “The good news is, we’re already quite advanced in [embracing new technologies]. Next is how we shift out of our comfort zone, the structured learning that we’re very used to, to [remain] competitive academically.” 

“We need to be comfortable to be uncomfortable.” 

A key underlying building block of the classroom of tomorrow is integration and data, Kok adds. This would allow better insights into the learners’ journey, help administrators understand “hotspots” in a teacher’s workload and allows them to take action to improve processes and experiences. 

Data would also enable educators to better assess how students are learning, such that teachers can then curate and tailor more dynamic, engaging and individually suited learning experiences.  

“More time can be spent to really understand how learners learn, the pace of learning and tailoring to this,” says Kok. “Integral to this will be data.” 

Navigating the risks

With the availability and advancement of technology at such a quick pace, it may seem appealing to introduce multiple new technologies all at once, warns Kok. 

“We need to be aware of the limits of change for teachers and learners, given the wide spectrum of digital literacy,” he says, adding that its human-centred approach serves NCS well when it comes to introducing change.  

“Having clarity of purpose and timing when new technologies are introduced is critical.” 

Many of these technologies are new and would require guardrails, such as the use of Generative AI technology bots. Kok also highlights the importance of a “zero-trust approach to security” to secure data, endpoint, and cloud workloads. 

“There will be heightened data and cyber security risks especially as we gather more data relating to learners and personalised learning data, and many of these technologies are based in the cloud.”

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