Cyberjaya, February 16: Back to school this year can be considered as a 'second episode' for students across the country who are involved in the ‘Teaching and Learning At Home’ (also known as Pengajaran dan Pembelajaran di Rumah or PdPR) programme. This is the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic threat which has compelled the government to re-enforce the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Much of the PdPR structure involves learning via various online methods. After more than a month of its implementation, we have heard multiple stories go viral about the experiences of teachers, students and parents getting accustomed to this new norm.
There are teachers who lamented about the less than encouraging 'attendance' of students and the ‘monitoring’ by parents when teachers perform their duties. Amongst the situations that grabbed everyone’s attention was the incident where a student mischievously shared an inappropriate video link during the PdPR period.
Based on such situations, one can only comprehend how a teacher’s task becomes increasingly challenging as they try to ensure that their focus is not disrupted, whilst providing students with the best learning experiences. Their primary concern would be on the preparation and effectiveness of PdPR for students who will be sitting for crucial examinations such as Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM).
Since we are discussing methods that can enable public school teachers to be more creative and responsive towards digital technology, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) had reached out to educators to help them with their teaching preparations.
This is part of MDEC’s #CikguJuaraDigital, a programme that was launched in 2019. The initiative tracks and identifies teachers who can be showcased as trendsetters or benchmarks in relation to educational technology in Malaysia.
One of the programme participants, Cikgu Norhailmi Abdul Mutalib, 40, said that after undergoing the programme, he enrolled in the TikTok workshop that MDEC organised and discovered how he could use the application and tap on its great potential to help students in their learning process.
“Thereafter, I created a TikTok account in October 2020 and started uploading video content with notes on Science subjects. At times, I also recorded simple experiments to make it easier for students to understand the topic that was being discussed," he told an MDEC representative recently.
Norhailmi, who teaches Science subjects to Form Four and Five students at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Jerlun, Kedah, shared how these methods have been very helpful because the video content has a shorter duration.
"This also saves the students' Internet quota, when compared to the tele-learning methods as that takes longer and results in higher data usage. Not all of my students subscribe to an Internet plan on a monthly basis because some of them purchase the daily-pass data packages,” he said.
Through @cikguhailmi's account, he has gathered more than 11,000 followers and uploaded almost 120 videos to date.
"Amongst those who got the highest views were videos related to experiments on ‘Air Pressure’, which garnered more than 268, 000 views while videos related to ‘Natrium’ experiments received almost 80, 000 new followers," he said.
Norhailmi had also been acknowledged as one of the 50 Best Teachers in the World, an accolade presented by Varkey Foundation for receiving 113,700 likes in a single post. This is on par with local social media celebrities’ popularity.
Explaining further, Norhailmi said, he started using TikTok in his teaching due to several factors. “I found that students were not interested in following PdPR due to the non-conducive learning environment, which contributed to a decrease in their interest in their studies. Therefore, an immediate solution was required.”
"I decided to use TikTok because it has a variety of interesting fresh features and background effects that are popular among teenagers. The short video duration makes it easier and more effective for students to understand the topic," he added.
Meanwhile, another teacher, Ahmad Adham Berhaumidin who was recognised as the “Digital Champion Teacher” in the #CikguJuaraDigital programme for last year, shared his experience using social media applications in PdPR to facilitate his students’ learning.
Teaching the Additional Mathematics subject to Form Four and Five students at the Sultan Alam Shah Islamic College, Klang, Selangor, he said that. with the tips and information that MDEC shared, it had opened up the opportunity for teachers to improve their skills and knowledge on Information Communication Technologies (ICT).
"This can increase the efficiency of PdPR. I do not rely on one type of social media platform and I have diversified my teaching through the use of Facebook, YouTube, blogs and even Twitter," he said.
According to Ahmad Adham, his YouTube account, @dehewaraspak, is now followed by almost 1,500 internet surfers who are interested in learning more about problem-solving in the Additional Mathematics subject.
"I also prepare sample questions on Mathematics and set-up casual chat slots with students to ensure that I support with time an avenue to ask questions online," he said.
MDEC, with the strong support of KKMM and the other ministries, will continue to drive forward the digital economy initiatives centred towards ensuring shared prosperity for the many and eventually envisioning Malaysia's role as the heart of digital ASEAN.
“This initiative is focused on enabling digital adoption amongst our educators, which is a central part of MDEC’s three main strategic thrusts, including Empowering Malaysians with Digital Jobs ad Skills, enabling Digitally Powered Businesses and attracting Digital Investments. To achieve its vision of enabling a people-first society, the agency continues to set the foundation for Malaysians to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), further supporting the nation’s efforts to realise the Malaysia 5.0 vision, leading to shared prosperity for all,” shared Datuk Wira Dr Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, Chairman of MDEC.
Meanwhile, MDEC’s Vice President of Digital Skills and Digital Careers Division, Dr Sumitra Nair shared how the MDEC-trained group of teachers have the resilience, creativity and technology sensitivity to ensure that their students are not left behind due to the uncertain situation faced by them currently.
“The MDEC’s “Digital Champion Teachers” group have not made the COVID-19 pandemic an obstacle for them to continue educating. They are also not curtailed by technology, instead, they continue to learn, lead and share the best practices and overcome the difficult moments together with the students.
These teachers are an inspiration for those who aspire to contribute more, especially in these difficult times," she added.
More information about this programme can be found at this link; https://mdec.my/mydigitalmaker/cikgu juara-digital/.
About Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is a government agency under the purview of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia entrusted to lead Malaysia's digital economy forward.
Incorporated in 1996 to oversee the development of the MSC Malaysia initiative, MDEC's primary mandate today is to accelerate the growth of digitally-skilled Malaysians, digitally-powered businesses and digital investments in Malaysia. MDEC is focused on creating inclusive, high-quality growth through the nationwide digitalisation initiatives that are in line with the Government’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 and firmly establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN.
To find out more about MDEC’s Digital Economy initiatives, please visit us at www.mdec.my or follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyMDEC/ Twitter: @mymdec
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