Appropriate use of technology in the classroom is to expand, enrich, individualise, differentiate and extend the overall preschool curriculum, said Dr Jane Ching-Kwan, Curriculum Founder and Director of Skool4Kidz at the Mendaki Education Symposium 2018. Invited by Yayasan Mendaki, Dr Jane Ching-Kwan was a keynote speaker on the event’s theme “Raising Young Innovators in a Digital World”
Held on 14 April 2018 at the NUS Shaw Foundation Alumni House, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, also supported with an opening speech, addressing some 300 delegates comprising of Early Childhood professionals.
Together with Mr Adrian Lim, Director, Digital Literacy and Participation, Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA), Dr Jane Ching-Kwan co-presented “Coding and Children: Education in the 21st Century” a subject close to her heart. Almost 30 years of experience in Early Childhood Education, Dr Jane Ching-Kwan has always advocate learning with technology as an additional support, from literacy and maths to art, design and imaginative play and beyond. Learning how to code will help prepare children to face the challenges of the world today.
“There are many coding languages out there, but for our young children it isn’t about learning the set of codes per say, it is really about the HOT skills behind the coding, the idea of algorithm, patterns, of playing while learning to think logically, sequentially, critically and yet creatively to arrive at innovative solutions to a problem or challenge.”
Dr Jane also explained the importance of using STEAM system in early childhood learning that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics in an interdisciplinary approach that advocates higher order thinking skills for communication, problem solving, creativity and innovation.
To illustrate how our children at Skool4Kidz use tech toys to inculcate coding skills without screen time, Dr Jane Ching-Kwan showed a video that captured the preschool’s observance of the Hour of Code in December 2017. 250 Skool4Kidz children and teachers underwent a month-long an-hour-a-day of intensive coding programme, unplugged. The video explained how technology-aided learning focused on a comprehensive ‘learn-as-you-grow’ approach which is a key part of Skool4Kidz’ STEAM curriculum.
Before the session ends, Dr Jane Ching-Kwan together with Mr Adrian Lim, IMDA and Ms Shaireen Marchant, University of Warwick, answered the queries from the audience during the panel discussion.