By Chia Yan Min
STUDENTS in Crescent Girls' Secondary School can look forward to using tablet PCs to record their findings during outdoor field trips next year.
Back in class, the PCs will figure in a new curriculum integrating mathematics, science and geography.
The PCs are courtesy of a programme bankrolled by Hewlett Packard (HP).
Crescent, Cedar Girls' Secondary and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have been picked to receive 'education grants' from the technology giant this year. It is the first time the grant is being awarded to secondary schools here.
Altogether, the three institutions will get $547,000 worth of support comprising professional services, tablet PCs and printers as well as a cash grant for NUS, which it receives on top of the services and hardware.
The three were picked from among more than 10 schools in Singapore that submitted proposals for what they would do if they were awarded the grant.
Across the Asia-Pacific and Japan, 28 educational institutions will benefit from HP's global Innovations in Education grant programme, which is targeted at students in grades 6 through 12 and in tertiary education.
Crescent's vice-principal Eleanor Goh said her school's integrated curriculum, to be launched for next year's batch of Secondary 1 students, was made possible by HP's grant, which would 'definitely provide opportunities for education within and beyond the classroom'.
Cedar Girls' and NUS also plan to use technology to promote learning. From next year, they will both use online forums and blogs to facilitate student-teacher communication. Selected student groups will use the tablet PCs.
For Cedar, winning the grant steps up the school's plan to strengthen its use of technology.
Mr James Foo, the school's information and communication technologies subject head, said: 'We hope to eventually have a one-to-one computer learning environment in which each student will have her own tablet PC.'
Under the grant programme, teachers and administrators from the three schools will undergo a nine-month training programme on integrating education and technology facilitated by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
The ISTE, based in the United States, is a non-profit group specialising in the effective use of technology in classrooms and in teacher education.
During the training, participants will engage with their counterparts worldwide via an online portal to share ideas and best practices.
This year, HP expects to invest more than US$17 million (S$25 million) worldwide in mobile technology and professional development under its education grant initiative.
This article was first published in The Straits Times.