Treading on the Ever Changing Technology as Teachers

 Mohd Sazali Khalid Ph.D

Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology

University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia  UTHM

86400 Parit Raja, Johor, Malaysia

 *disampaikan dalam Seminar Nasional Pendidikan Matematika UAD,

29 Desember 2012

Introduction

Human has  the ability to  think , learn, agreeing and rejecting to any idea at  the same time.  With this ability  man had developed  pyramids   in Eygpt , Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and Burobudur Temple  in Yogyakarta.  In these constructions, men took many years to learn and apply knowledge and skills successfully.  However,  men accepted that mistakes was a part of the learning processes.  This is called  education.  Human is changing through  education.

From history, man learns from their teachers.  This was a period where the teacher was the main actor.  Now children learns many skills both formally at schools and informally from their own parents, siblings , TV and computers at home .  In view of this, this talk is organized in five parts.  First part dwells on history of education in Malaysia, second on computers in education , third construction of courseware called CDiCL  , fourth experience using a courseware in Polytechnic Kota Bharu (PKB) and University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) and finally it concludes with recommendation and its future use in Malaysian Technical University Network (MTUN) Malaysia.

1.0       HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN MALAYSIA

Malaysians start their education at the primary school for 6 years.  They conclude their education with a public examination called UPSR (Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah).  Good students are selected to join well known residential schools  and many Science Schools  through out the country  based from UPSR results.  Next is the secondary school education that  took another 5 years.  Here the students faced two major examinations known as PMR (Penilaian Menengah Rendah) at age 15 and SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) at age 17.  From SPM , the students  proceed to tertiary educations such as learning  specific skills at certificate , diploma and degree engineering and business studies.  One of the tertiary educations in Malaysia  that offered post SPM holders  with semi professional courses is  Polytechnic Education System (MOHE) that specializes on certificate and diploma engineering and business studies. Yearly the polytechnic receives more than 50,000 applications but they can only accept 15,000 students. Certificate engineering program takes 2 years while Diploma Engineering takes 3 years and these programs are run in 30 polytechnics across the country.    Each program offers an Industrial Training attachment with industries and government / non government establishments.   From 2011, three premier polytechnics in Ipoh, Johor Baharu and Shah Alam were promoted in  conducting  Advanced Diploma program.  From tracer study in 2007 , most polytechnic graduates got jobs within 6 – 9 months after graduation.

One of the subjects taught in polytechnic MOHE is Mathematics. This is a  challenging subject in Malaysia ( Mohd Sazali and Sulaiman Yamin, 2012).   However, according to a report by TIMMS (1999, 2003)  Malaysian children at the age of 14 did not excel   as compared to their counterparts in Singapore and Japan.   Close analysis revealed two difficulties  – first, language  and secondly, poor attitude of students and teachers  towards  science and mathematics subjects.  Western countries like England , Germany and Asian power house like Japan did not face any problem in the medium of instruction  because from history their technology supports  their own mother tongue’s strength. ( Mohd Sazali and Helmy Adly, 2012).  The education system in the polytechnics runs on a semester  basis.  Every year there are  2 semesters that has 15 weeks  each.  Their program started in January and July every year.  MOHE seriously tried  to introduce learning of mathematics, sciences and engineering subjects using  online modules throughout the country.

2.0  COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION

Computers and internets offer many benefits.  In 1995 Malaysia introduced Multimedia Super Corridor in Cyberjaya and to accelerate its progress,  smart and cluster schools and Multimedia University were put into the Malaysian education system’s map.  About 20 – 30 schools was selected to adopt smart school concept.  Since then, Malaysia becomes the education hub in this Asian region.

It is a well known fact that  today’ s generation  love to use mobile  24/7.  Young children pick up the computer skills faster than adults  because they do not have to worry   repairing  while the teachers are slow and too  anxious .  It would be better to find a point where the teaching  style suits better to the  learning style of their students. (Azura et al, 2009).  Learning style is defined as how the students used certain cognitive strategy consistently regarding problem solving.  Thus we have shallow and deep learning issues  between on-line  and conventional learning.   Edutainment is a ‘ religion’ now where  the children learn , the adults do business and at the same time they got entertainment with computers   (Dormehl, 2012).   A  web site would be popularly used  by students if the issues of accessibility,  interesting and relevance contents in Nielson and Lorenger, 2006 as cited by Hazwani (2012) are solved.

2.1 Shallow Learning Versus Deep Learning

Mobile learning leads to shallow learning because the users believe there is always answers online. According to  MOE-Intel, 2008 report,   some teachers did not like teaching using computers because it was difficult to keep abreast on modern technology and courseware products.  They missed the point where multi media   ( text, graphic, animation, video, sound, teaching system and support  on computers ) could make learning more interesting for at-risk students. (Azura et al, 2009; Mayer, 2001).  Deep learning happens if they solve more problems by themselves only. Due to cluster schools status in Malaysia,  online learning is the trend now.

 

3.0  COURSEWARE DEVELOPMENT

In view of this, a  courseware called CDiCL was built in 2005 using Fink (2003) significant learning and Hermann (1995) Brain Dominance Model  as its guide. our brain has two parts called the left  and the right side to cater for significant learning covering problem solving applications.  So far , the left brain is heavily used by mathematicians and  engineers while the musicians rely more on the right hand side of the brain.  This is supported by Hermann Brain Dominance model.   In  designing a courseware (over the internet), it is vital to incorporate  5 multimedia elements i.e., text, graphic, animation, audio and video plus interactivity to exploit the ability of man optimally.  Heinich et al (2002). Simultaneously the importance of doing the  needs analysis, idea planning, design structure and user interface.  Next is the production of  the courseware  where  all the above  elements were integrated , testing the product and finally the final step in delivering the CD to the target clients i.e., certificate engineering students in PKB Polytechnic Kota Bharu.  Looking at the processes , it is a big challenge for a teacher to produce a courseware  by himself  alone since no one is a master of everything (Nor Azan Mat Zin et. al. 2009).

4.0       RESULTS

The result of the experiment was CDiCL can help the students in number problems, fraction and factorization only but not solving word problem and simplification that warrant higher critical thinking.  From clinical interview some problem on team work, motivation and attitude  had to be solved.

5.0   LESSONS LEARNT FROM BUILDING CDiCL

There were few interesting points learnt from building CDiCL.  The   ADDIE approach was taken as a guide. It covers  Analysis,  Design, Development, Implementation and  Evaluation. ( Mayer, 1995; Mohd Sazali and Helmy Adly, 2012).   However we are subjected to rapid changes in  technology and human habits using computer gadgets could  turn CDiCL  into  something obsolete within days.  In spite of the difficulties, some experience were gained  when CDiCL was presented in  WSEAS International Conference in Spain 2006 , COSMED in Seameo, RECSAM, Penang in 2007 and 4th GT-IMT Conference in Acheh 2008.  After PKB experience, CDiCL was used in UTHM . Mohd Sazali et. al(2011), Mohd Sazali et. al(2012).

 

6.0   DISCUSSIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION.

Results showed there were nine things that need highlighting: first,  they like learning algebra in malay language  than English; second  the courseware was best used within a short  period of time say 15 to 20 minutes only, third they prefer pictures than text mode,  fourth ,  they took longer time to acclimatize learning mathematics on the computers and fifth,  it was important to build team work in order to get better learning outcome and six,  the mean  gain score between courseware users only was superior than Collaborative Learning  only but the difference in gain score did not justify the cost of building the courseware as regard to  development time including pilot testing.  Seventh,  motivation and attitude among the users must be addressed  in designing IT products.  Eighth, team building in collaborative learning  was a must  since many schools cannot afford one computer to one user at a time  and ninth  they must know the objective of the experiment.  The contribution of CDiCL to the body of knowledge was applying four specific quadrants of text plus picture modes through Hermann (1995) Brain Dominance Model.  CDiCL applied both text and visual modes in learning pre-algebra with the incorporation of collaborative learning principles among weaker set of students in a polytechnic, Malaysia as a sample.  CDiCL applied 4 quadrants per screen beginning from the left with text and before the users see the pictures , the text contents was removed. This was to  focus on solving maths using picture plus benefits derived from discussion with their peers.

6.0  CONCLUSION 

This talk is about an experience derived from developing a courseware called CDiCL –  tried in a polytechnic , Malaysia.   137 students in 4 different groups from cohort 2006 from Certificate Engineering programs took part and the result was the CDiCL group obtained more gain score than those from traditional and Collaborative Learning only group.  With better questioning techniques teachers can play more effective role  in this online environment.

 

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