I attended EduCampSG on 2 Dec 2011, and really enjoyed the experience! I love going for such conferences, if they may be called as such. You meet people who are really passionate about what they’re doing, full of ideas and buzzing with activity! Great place to connect and meet new people.
EduCampSG is essentially a place where people interested in education – be it education technology or syllabus gripes or pedagogy – meet up, present their opinions/ideas and have a short discussion.
“Educamps are informal peer learning meets where educators from local and international educational institutions, administrators, researchers, technologists, training professionals from the industry and education entrepreneurs come together to share experiences” – EduCampSG, http://www.educampsingapore.com/
Siva asked me to go for it, and I thought it would be interesting. Then he dropped the bomb: “You have to present! What do you mean you’re just going there to listen. Your topic is [What I Want to See in ‘A’ level Biology]” Probably because of my outburst during Biodiversity of Singapore Symposium 3.
So I parasitised Dr Adrian Loo’s talk on ‘Biophilia – Why I Abandoned the Syllabus and went for a Walk’, as his live specimen.
I brought up the usual rants by biophilic people:
1) There’s nothing on biodiversity from Secondary School to JC. Imagine classmates who didn’t know that the shells on the seashore were once homes to live animals!
2) Biodiversity education is important! Starts with Awareness, and it will slowly lead to Action. Even though not everyone will end up doing something about it, at least they know about it.
The previous talk was by Sham (@shamsensei) was on how teachers should learn how to use Twitter as a tool in engaging students and for their own learning as well. Latching on to the idea, I talked about how with technology like blogs, facebook and twitter, it’s a lot easier for people to share knowledge, and for people to find knowledge as well, but this is not always known to everyone! (E.g., probably most of the people who visit my blog are “converts”, who are already interested in Nature)
The audience had plenty of questions to ask, and judging by the response of Siva, I didn’t handle that too badly 😛 But as he pointed out, people are always interested to hear the opinions of the “target”, students. This brings to mind a similar experience about two years back, in 2009, when I attended a Service Learning conference also held in NIE with Mr Lim Cheng Puay and the other Overseas Service Learning (OSL) teacher-mentors. I also talked a little bit about my perspective as a student-mentor in OSL, and the audience was also very interested to listen.
In essence, what I realised was that people ARE interested to hear what the youth has to say. If what they are saying makes sense. Singaporean youths are always labelled as apathetic. This is definitely not true, many youths (myself included) often gripe about issues — but only within our small circles. What we lack, is being proactive. We just bum around and whine, but few, if any, actually step up and take concrete action.
We really need to be more proactive (that’s something that I’ve been telling myself for the past year or so, to little avail). That’s how we can start Change. In the ‘A’ level Biology syllabus.
For those who would like to know a little more about Singapore’s GCE ‘A’ Level Biology syllabus, take a look at the syllabus here.
This post is mainly about what I talked about during EduCampSG, but there were a few other points that stuck in my head too, such as how the Mathematics syllabus needs to be changed (as well). Dr Loo brought up how he started bringing students out for fieldtrips and also talked about Walks of Life. Walks of Life was an informal programme started by a few friends and me, where we brought fellow students out for guided walks. Not sure how it’s surviving now though…
You can read more about the happenings during EduCampSG by searching for #educampsg on Twitter.