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Interview with ASEF ClassNet students and teachers

ASEF Classroom Network (ASEF ClassNet) 2015

On 24 July 2015, ASEF had the pleasure to welcome students and teachers from the Marco Belli High School in Portogruaro Venezia, Italy and the Pioneer Secondary School in Singapore. The students and teachers take part in ASEF ClassNet’s ‘Let’s Eat: Mix It!’ online collaboration and have expanded their cooperation through a homestay programme in Singapore. For little over a week the Italian students had the opportunity to meet and learn with their counterpart students in Singapore. During their visit to ASEF we had the opportunity to ask them some questions on the ASEF Classroom Network (ASEF ClassNet) programme and about the differences between the Italian and Singaporean education systems:

Q:    What are the key benefits of ASEF ClassNet

Ms Felicia TAY & Ms Nur Aida MD KHALID
, Teachers, Pioneer Secondary School in Singapore:

The ASEF ClassNet project is a great platform for students and teachers from different parts of the world to work together promote cross-cultural learning and create mutual understanding between Asia and Europe. Through this project, teachers and students get a chance to experience, explore and appreciate a totally different culture from their normal day-to-day activities.

Besides sharing of culture, the ASEF ClassNet helps to facilitate and foster ties among students and teachers in Asia and Europe. They can communicate with one another through the 'Let's Eat: Mix It!' online collaboration project.

This year, the students and teachers from Singapore and Italy met each other face-to-face and exchanged ideas on the project during their stay in Singapore. This homestay programme has offered us the opportunity to foster and strengthen our friendships.

Ms Milena Milly LORENZON, Teacher, Marco Belli High School in Portogruaro Venezia, Italy:

I joined the ASEF ClassNet 3 years ago, thanks to the great enthusiasm of an Italian colleague from Triest. These projects are beneficial to students and teachers as they help to improve their English and technological skills. The contents of the ‘Let’s Eat: Mix It!” projectis specifically useful since they educate our students to be more concerned about healthy food, the environment, nature, art and tourism. It also encourages us, as teachers, to take part in school exchanges and allow our students to grow with better experiences.

Ms Dora CANZIAN, Student, Marco Belli High School in Portogruaro Venezia, Italy:

It is very important to see different lifestyles, cultures and relationships between people with various nationalities. Seeing this widens your horizons!

Q: Why is the application of ICT important in today’s school education? How do you integrate ICT in the daily curriculum at your school?

Ms Felicia TAY & Ms Nur Aida MD KHALID:

The use of ICT is important in today's school education as students are avid users of technology. ICT has managed to engage them and get them more interested in learning. Besides, it gives students the opportunity to do self-directed learning with interactive lessons such as flip classroom, online videos and educational games. 

ICT is integrated in our daily curriculum as teachers engage students in online quizzes or other online assessments (individual and group). Lessons are also created using ICT such as with the use of PowerPoint slides, Word documents or online videos. In addition, students also learn about computer applications in school, such as using software like Microsoft Office, video editor and/or simple programming. 

Finally, our classrooms come equipped with interactive whiteboards, which are used to engage students further and to get them to participate more during lessons.

Ms Milena Milly LORENZON:

ICT is very important nowadays in school education. In Italy, all our books have to be e-books and are used together with smart boards and connected to the Internet. In this way we can capture our students' attention better, and it makes the students more involved and more willing to learn different things.

Q: How do you see the role of a teacher with the increasing use of ICT in education, technological advancements and students learning more and more from and with online tools?

Ms Felicia TAY & Ms Nur Aida MD KHALID:

With the increasing advancement in technology and usage of ICT, students now have almost instant access to facts, information and other online resources. The teacher's role as facilitator is very important.  They guide students to sieve out relevant information online and inculcate values such as netiquette, to help the students use online tools correctly and properly. Teachers are also there to impart skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, accessing and analysing information and to be independent and proactive learners.

Ms Milena Milly LORENZON:

The teacher plays an important role because he/she has to accommodate various requests from students, while leading them to get more benefits from their studies. The teacher has to keep updated with all the latest innovations and to keep students stimulated in the learning process.

Ms Dora CANZIAN:

The role of teachers is very important because they are responsible to introduce students to the computer and Internet world in a correct way. Facing this alone could be dangerous. The school is changing a lot nowadays and our teachers get more and more involved in English and technological courses, in order to be more prepared with their lessons.

Q: During this homestay programme have you noticed any striking differences between education and approaches to education in Italy and Singapore? What did you learn from the approach of the other school and what were you able to teach them?

Ms Felicia TAY & Ms Nur Aida MD KHALID:

Other than the difference in languages, the education in Italy and Singapore is similar. Both countries are conducting and experimenting with ICT-based lessons. Using ICT in education is seen as important in both countries as an attempt to create more engaging lessons, as this increases students’ attention and focus, and it motivates the students to practice higher-level critical thinking skills, and it promotes meaningful learning experiences.

Ms Milena Milly LORENZON:

There is a big difference between Singaporean and Italian schools, such as the timetable, the subjects studied, the organisation, and the facilities offered. In our school, for example, we do not have a school canteen like the one in Singapore, and my students liked this facility. It would be nice to have it in our school as well. I also liked the teaching methods of my Singaporean colleagues because they try to enjoy their classes, so that they can learn more through, for example, practical scientific experiments, or playing with a foreign language during their English lessons. Our school is more academic and we tend to use our books more and tend to be more theoretical. I personally believe that we should melt our styles and learn from each other.

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