WE Learn Mobile Education Project Demonstrates Positive Impact of 3G Technology on 21st Century Learning
Nan Chiau Primary School, the National Institute of Education, the University of Michigan, Microsoft, Nokia, SingTel, and Qualcomm Incorporated, through Qualcomm Wireless Reach, shared results from the WE Learn project, showing significant improvement in students’ 21st century skills.
Following the success of this pilot phase, project collaborators will expand the WE Learn program in 2013 to include 300 additional students from Nan Chiau Primary School’s fourth-grade class. The project’s mobile learning platform (MyDesk, running on Windows Phone) and educational applications will also be enhanced.
The WE Learn project is part of the school’s Future School program—a key initiative of the Singapore Ministry of Education. Launched in March 2012, the project originally provided 350 third-grade students, teachers and school staff with 3G-enabled Nokia Lumia 710 smartphones and learning applications for use in and out of the classroom. In the pilot phase, students using this smartphone-enabled curriculum became more independent and inquisitive and attained improved test scores in the areas of self-directed and collaborative learning—all of which are coveted 21st century skills identified by the Singapore Ministry of Education. In English classes, students showed substantial improvement in spoken English and were more confident and engaged when asking and responding to questions. Students were also better able to answer open-ended science questions, which test the application of concepts—a significant achievement that marked the first such improvement in this particular skill in the last three years.
For teachers at Nan Chiau Primary School, the WE Learn project has enabled them to adapt their teaching methods to incorporate 3G technology, which has enabled 24/7 access to learning tools and further enhanced positive results. Student response has been positive and parents have been supportive and acknowledge the project’s positive impact on their children’s ability to learn and process information. Project results have shown that students are more open to using technology for learning and that they are aware of new learning tools such as text, illustration, and audio and visual recordings, all of which provide children with a more holistic learning experience.
“We are proud to be part of the WE Learn project and are very pleased with the results,” said Mr. Tan Chun Ming, principal of Nan Chiau Primary School. “Mobile technology not only enables students to improve their test scores, but has also made learning more fun and helps students to be more independent and inquisitive, which are critical skills that will help them throughout their lives. WE Learn is a demonstration of how smartphones and wireless technology can help transform education and we encourage other schools in Singapore and around the world to learn more about and consider adopting this approach.”