Digital classrooms into reality
> With the latest in education solutions
I Nan effort to push education with technology, Microsoft Malaysia and the Higher Education Ministry are on a journey to help transform the tertiary institutions into digital campuses.
With tools like Office 365, Windows 10 and Skype, Microsoft Malaysia Public Sector Group general manager Nik Ariff Nik Omar emphasised that technology will play a bigger role in transforming the education systems in days to come.
“We want to empower the nation – through the government agencies, teachers, students and the community with technology.
"We foresee 21st century education evolving rapidly with technology at the forefront to nurture students and equip them with life and work skills to compete globally,” he said.
He also said that it was crucial for the education industry to optimise the technology and to have access to it so that graduates would have good quality education.
“With millennials making up approximately 62% of the workforce in 2015, together with increased access to technology such as mobile, and cloud, there is a high demand for digital content and experiences through various apps and online platforms.
"With these technological advances, we are enabling and creating new scenarios and experiences for both teachers and students alike, coupled with different modes of engagements.
“This naturally lends to shifts in teaching and learning,” he said during a press conference recently.
Higher Education Ministry Industry Relations Division director Assoc Prof Dr Arham Abdullah, who was also present, noted that Mircosoft's effort in providing such technologies is in line with the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015-2025 and that the move by Mircosoft covers three of 10 Shifts of blueprint – which includes Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced Graduate, Holistic, Entrepreneurial and Balanced Graduate and Globalised Online Learning.
"Through this, we want to cooperate with our industry partners like Microsoft to enhance our graduates' employability as well as to update the teaching and learning with the latest technology," he said.
Arham added that the move would also help develop Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which would benefit both public and private universities.
He also noted that there is a need for proper infrastructure, like internet connectivity, to ensure such platform can be carried out.
At the same press conference, Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation senior lecturer and technology specialist Dr Kalai Anand Ratnam shared how these tools are being used in the classrooms in the university for the past three years. He also demonstrated how he interacted with the students using tools such as Skype, OneNote and Office 365 for Education.
"For example, I set up an icebreaker task with the students through the programme, and the students can tell me more about themselves through it – and they can also send videos to me," he said.
Kalai also noted that he could send out details of the course through this system to each student as well.
He also said that the tools used would help overcome challenges faced by the classrooms, including time management, designing a 21st century curriculum and setting up a virtual classroom.