It’s no secret that the job market today favours digitally-savvy professionals. So how can schools be equipped to prepare students to graduate with 21st Century skills? As we learn from Cikgu El Gamillo of BTPN Terengganu, it sometimes takes one determined teacher to start, and a good support network to keep the momentum going.
If you feel the digital revolution has impacted your daily lives, imagine what awaits the future generation as they begin their careers after graduating from school, college, or university. Companies are looking for digitally-savvy professionals more so now than ever, making it a priority for schools to be equipped to prepare students for the 21st Century.
“I have been an educator for 15 years, and my aim is to nurture a generation of students who are tech-savvy and prepared for the arising Industry 4.0 revolution. Teachers who are still rejecting the concept of 21st Century teaching and learning need to realise how important knowledge and skills in technology are for the future of students,”
said Cikgu El Gamillo bin Habibun Tan, a special mention receiver of the Frog Teacher Awards 2018.
Cikgu El Gamillo is currently serving as an officer in the state education technology division (BTPN) of Terengganu. He reminisced how much things have changed since 2010 when he was transferred to Terengganu.
“I recall teachers and students having very low understanding of technology and were in dire need of exposure to technology education. I wanted to do something to change that, but it was during a time where ICT facilities and internet access were almost non-existent in schools.”
In 2012, when Frog was introduced by the Ministry of Education as a platform that encouraged and supported 21st Century education, Cikgu El Gamillo saw potential.
“Frog was entirely foreign to teachers and students. It was like an alien spaceship had landed on school grounds and they had no idea what to do with it,”
he said jokingly. However, he was determined to utilise Frog to make a change in Terengganu.
Realising the benefits, he made it his mission to educate teachers on how to integrate Frog into teaching and learning.
Cikgu El Gamillo started conducting workshops to introduce teachers to Frog and bring exposure to technology in education in order to drive 21st Century teaching and learning in schools. His efforts gained attention from PPD and JPN, and they were encouraged by his dedication. They began supporting him by inviting teachers from schools in different districts to attend the workshops. Slowly but surely, more teachers came to understand the importance of 21st Century education and started using Frog.
“In 2016, Terengganu was third from the bottom in using Frog. Within a year, Terengganu was one of the top states in Malaysia that was actively using Frog. It was the peak of 2018 when Terengganu gained recognition for the best utilisation of Frog in teaching and learning,” Cikgu El Gamillo said fondly and proudly.
Terengganu also established a strong community of Frog Advocates, known as Terengganu Teacher Advocates (TTA), and that’s when more teachers started promoting Frog and sharing best practices across the state. JPN Terengganu supported their growth by celebrating over 160 teachers who are Frog Advocates, FrogMakers, and MOE Coaches for their contributions. This was for training other teachers to adopt 21st Century teaching and learning in schools, and for building Frog Boost interactive lessons.
As a Frog Advocate himself, Cikgu El Gamillo says,
“The formation of this group of teachers has helped JPN to effectively track and monitor how Frog is being used in schools. Through reports and testimonials from our Advocate teachers, we’re able to identify schools that are doing well and are ready to be role models to schools that are still in need of guidance and support. We believe in setting good examples and sharing with one another so that we grow together as a community.”
With Terengganu thriving and advancing steadily into 21st Century education through Frog, Cikgu El Gamillo commends the contributions of FrogAsia to the education of Malaysia.
“Through my experience serving in the Ministry of Education, I’ve seen how various educational projects have been formed and executed - none of which were sustainable compared to the Frog VLE. Frog is no longer just a platform; it has grown into an ecosystem.”
The Frog VLE is a cloud-based teaching and learning platform that has been made available to over 10,000 government schools across Malaysia since 2012.
“It took years for us to grasp the concept of Frog and optimise it in schools. But now, we are on-par with the rest of the world! I can’t imagine if Frog is no longer available. We would fall behind because familiarising to new changes would take years again. There are more advantages in using Frog compared to the disadvantages. If there’s a need for improvement, let’s work on it together. There’s no perfect person, similar to how there’s no perfect system. But like how we’re growing and learning everyday, we should also be improving our systems everyday.”
Thank you, Cikgu, for inspiring us with your passion and dedication!