Situated approximately 100km west of the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Jenjarom was one of the many ‘New Villages’ set up in the 1950s. Villagers living in Jenjarom view education as the key to a brighter future and most families send their young children to Jenjarom’s main pre-school center, the Aik Kuan Kindergarten. Aik Kuan wanted to introduce computer-based collaborative learning to its lessons, however setting up a classroom of computers would be expensive and beyond the kindergarten’s budget. To facilitate active learning in the classroom, Aik Kuan became a pioneer by rolling out the Microsoft® MultiPoint™ program in Malaysia. Using multiple computer mice that drive uniquely-designed on-screen cursors, MultiPoint allows up to fifty students to simultaneously use and learn from educational software on a single computer. In Malaysia, Aik Kuan is one of four schools conducting pilot testing for the MultiPoint program.
Jenjarom is a village situated approximately 100km west of the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur. It was one of the many ‘New Villages’ set up in the 1950s by the British army to segregate rural Chinese villagers from communist insurgents. Villagers living in Jenjarom view education as their key to a brighter future and most families send their young children to Jenjarom’s main pre-school center, the Aik Kuan Kindergarten.
||With MultiPoint, the teachers are able to promote a greater focus on learning as a team and encourage greater interaction and collaboration between teachers and students, and among students themselves.”
||Eu Bee Lay, Headmistress, Aik Kuan Kindergarten
With close to 300 students aged between four and six years old, the kindergarten’s single computer lab was grossly inadequate for Aik Kuan but the prospect of setting up another computer lab seemed like a daunting prospect.
Despite its humble background, Aik Kuan took a pioneering approach in Malaysia by choosing to rollout the Microsoft® MultiPoint™ program, an initiative by Microsoft to expand the benefits of technology to underserved communities around the world.
Using multiple computer mice that drive uniquely-designed on-screen cursors, MultiPoint allows up to fifty students to simultaneously use and learn from educational software on a single computer. The technology helps to shift students from passive to active learning, and the collaborative environment adds a whole new layer of value to the PC in the classroom.
Microsoft has partnered with Dynabook Group to promote the expansion of the MultiPoint program in Malaysia. The IT services firm, which has a special focus on the education sector, is developing an application riding on the MultiPoint platform which includes educational content and curricula for the program.
In Malaysia, Aik Kuan is one of four schools conducting pilot testing for the MultiPoint program. Instead of having to acquire about 20 PCs for a typical computer lab, using the MultiPoint platform meant that the kindergarten just needed a single PC, an LCD projector and mice for about 30 students.
For the initial pilot, Dynabook developed ready-to-use lessons plans and deployed its MultiPoint application, Mouse Mischief, for Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2003 that allows teachers to create interactive lectures for the classroom. Within Mouse Mischief, there are currently around 20 pre-school lesson plans available in the format of educational quizzes and games for teaching languages, mathematics and science.
With this local content available, Aik Kuan students can click on the answers or drag and drop, or select and choose their options using their selected pointers, which can be personalized and include their names. The system also tests students’ reading skills and comprehension of the topics.
Dynabook is developing a new application based on Multipoint that is integrated with its multi-award winning diagnostic tool, which can track the scores achieved by students during each class. “This tool enables the teacher to identify weaker students and to draw up remedial measures to help them improve. It will provide a tremendous tool for teachers as they can track the progress of the students during the course of the year, and ultimately, help them improve,” says Jhin Chan, Senior Manager, Dynabook.
Within the classroom, children chatter excitedly as they follow a computer lesson projected on a screen by a projector, while taking turns and having fun answering questions by clicking their mouse on the options on the screen. The teachers at Aik Kuan have been impressed by the success of the MultiPoint program and the way the children have enthusiastically embraced the new collaborative learning experience. Aside from student engagement, the kindergarten has realized several other benefits.
Achieves cost savings
Aik Kuan has made significant savings by reducing the number of required computers. Eu Bee Lay, Headmistress at Aik Kuan, says “MultiPoint promotes more effective learning and offers a highly cost effective alternative to the traditional computer lab. Apart from the hardware, we also save on the software licenses, peripherals, maintenance and support as well as electricity costs. This adds up to huge savings for us.”
Greater control over learning
With MultiPoint, the teachers at Aik Kuan have enjoyed control over the student’s learning experience. “With MultiPoint, teachers have greater control as they can decide on a common lesson plan. It is a breeze for teachers to make lessons interesting and interactive, to have quizzes, and to test the students’ reading skills. With the lesson projected onto a large screen and each student having their own mouse, the class has a common learning experience as the students are aware of what the others are doing,” says Eu.
Increased interaction and collaboration
Aik Kuan kindergarten also has an existing computer laboratory where the student to PC ratio is typically 2:1. “Students at the computer lab learn at their own pace and it is more of an individual learning experience. However, with MultiPoint, the teachers are able to promote a greater focus on learning as a team and encourage greater interaction and collaboration between teachers and students, and among students themselves,” Eu explains.
Ease of use for teachers
Training on the new system was quick because of the user-friendliness of the MultiPoint platform. “Typically, the teachers would be able to handle the system effectively with about two days of training, and a bit longer for the less computer-savvy teachers,” says Eu.
During feedback sessions for the pilot, teachers requested more lessons with integrated animation, music, sounds and ‘edutainment’ elements to effectively engage the children. Dynabook is taking feedback from Aik Kuan and other schools undergoing the MultiPoint pilots to upgrade Mouse Mischief, and the company plans to launch an upgraded version called DynaMice 2009 later this year.
After running the pilot successfully over a one-month period, the kindergarten is convinced of the viability of MultiPoint and has decided to introduce it to all classes from June 2009. “We are happy with the MultiPoint system as it not only offers a very affordable solution for us, it also creates a fun yet collaborative learning experience that engages each student in the class,” confirms Eu.
In a single swoop, the MultiPoint system has resolved the issue of setting up a computer-based learning centre at a reasonable cost while improving the learning experience for the children.
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in the United States or (905) 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/
For more information about Dynabook Group products and services, visit the Web site at: http://www.dynabook.com.my/
For more information about Aik Kuan Kindergarten, call +603 3191 4586.
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