Cikgu Amirul or fondly known as Ami (meaning “friend” in Tamil) by his students, shares his journey of creating space and exposing his students to what the world outside school walls could offer, all through using their mobile phones and introducing his students to the start of new developed learning habits in mobile learning.
Jingle-jangle goes Cikgu Amirul’s keys as he unlocks the computer lab of SJKT Ladang Edinburgh. Fondly known as Ami (meaning “friend” in Tamil) among his students who are now waiting bright-eyed with excitement, to enter the lab. Each of them, curious to see what virtual adventures Ami would bring them today! Could they be going to the zoo again? Or learning how to swim virtually?
Life as an IT and Bahasa Melayu teacher in a vernacular school has its challenges. For Cikgu Amirul, it was having to learn their language so he could connect with his students and make the most of his time with them. Being the imaginative and creative person that he is, he soon found a way to develop new solutions for his students' education.
Using learning technology, Cikgu Amirul transports his students to worlds beyond the school walls, awakening their minds to the possibilities that can exist.
The majority of Cikgu Amirul’s students came from disadvantaged communities, most of them were learning using a mobile phone as opposed to a computer or a laptop during school lockdowns. Due to this, he noticed they were not only more familiar with responding to mobile phones, they found the idea of going to the zoo and swimming meaningful because many never had those experiences in real life. Intrigued, Cikgu Amirul started looking into what else mobile phone apps could offer his students.
“It's not about the device, it's about HOW to use it.”
Cikgu Amirul started using quizzes on Launchpad, holding competitions on Quizizz and using tools like Zappar, an AR mobile app to show them what it’s like in a zoo. It would give students an idea of the kind of sounds and movements of many animals up close! He slowly started to see a shift in his students' behaviour. Instead of just using their phones to play games, his students now seemed more curious to learn new things and would know how to do so by searching for useful YouTube videos and apps all on their own.
For instance, during recess, students would often ask if they could borrow his phone to prepare for their classroom quiz. A parent once told him that on the drive back to their hometown, she saw her child watching lesson videos on YouTube. These students who once had limited exposure to technology, were now taking the lead in using it to drive their own learning.
“Saya bukan kreatif, tapi hanya menggunakan sepenuhnya dengan apa yang diberi, supaya murid diberi pendedahan.”
Saku Tuominen, Founder and Creative Director of HundrED, talks about how creativity is about constantly finding new ways to do things. Cikgu Amirul lives that kind of creativity daily. His approach in making use of whatever he currently has, to benefit his students, is the reason he was awarded this year’s Frog Teacher Award for the category of ‘Think Ahead and Outside of the Box’. In the long run, Cikgu Amirul plans to continue finding ways to use mobile learning in the classroom with the hope that he can change his students’ learning habits.
SJKT Ladang Edinburgh’s transition after the pandemic prompts the question: What about the rest of us in education? Do we go back to where we were before or can we learn from what we’ve been through, press forward, push boundaries, and reimagine what education can be?
Experience the wonder of a recreated education at Leaps of Knowledge on 8 October 2022! The conference invites us to think ahead and out of the box as we build back better in a post-pandemic world, together. It presents us all with the opportunity to return to the HEART of education, scholé - an education that is not merely limited to productivity, but one that is free and at leisure to seek truth and enjoy the process.