Sir Ken Robinson on how Technology is Transforming Education

Renowned educationalist Sir Ken Robinson makes an interesting case for integrating technology into the heart of education .

In arguing the unique shift today’s digital age has brought to education, Sir Robinson highlights how technology in classroom “connects students not just with people in the classroom but with virtually anyone on the planet”.

“It’s an entirely new cultural proposition”, he asserts, “and it changes the game. Technology has changed the context of education.”

This means that effective education, or the expectation of effective education, in today’s world has to embrace possibilities to transcend borders and cultures because technology  has made it possible and ever easy to.

Our flagship elearning product, Mingoville English (http://mingoville.com) virtual world, was built with a foresight of this “borderless” education context even before digital education made its invasion into classrooms today.

In the fun Mingoville virtual world, children from all over the world can sign up and choose an avatar. Then within the virtual city of flamingos, challenge fellow flamingo friends from a different country to a variety games, quizzes and tasks as they complete their missions to learn English in Mingoville.

The virtual world also offers a “chat” function of an environment designed with maximum security, for kids to learn to make friends cross-culturally. What this does goes beyond learning English, to the understanding, at a tender age of as early as 6, how diverse and massive the world out there is.

It could be a trigger point for parents and teachers to probe a child to think and learn about the dynamism of today’s world. That alone could stretch the imagination and creative capacity of a child, which is essential and an absolute necessity to education. Feel free to share your thoughts on this.

Also check out our Mingoville English virtual world at www.mingoville.com.

Creativity in Education – How is Technology Transforming Education? on Adobe TV

Preschool triumphs in China

COPENHAGEN, 15 April, 2013 – We have knocked out the dominating Chinese panda education series app in the iPad App Store in China with our latest Preschool English app.

Starring baby Flamingo, Andrea, the animated and interactive Preschool English by Mingoville app was pre-launched 10 days ago just for the iPad. The versions for the iPhone and Android mobile devices will be available upon its full launch.

The app was quickly picked up by Apple, and awarded a new product feature spot in the China App Store in less than a week. It then gradually overtook the commanding presence of the panda in the education category and finished in pole last Sunday.

“Our developers have worked extremely hard to develop a quality, savvy and fun educational app for preschool kids, we are only pleased it has been so well received in a foreign market as massive as China”, said Mingoville CEO Stephan Stephensen.

Stephan added: “We knew from our success with our flagship product, Mingoville English virtual world, we have the right innovative formula and pedagogical approach to develop a winning digital educational product, and we will keep on creating.”

About Preschool English by Mingoville

Using native real voice actors and animation, kids will be on a mission to grow their vocabulary tree as they enhance their word recognition skills while playing the app.

For their tree to grow, kids will have to complete several “missions”, each comprising of 12-15 interactive games and over 500 words to give them a sturdy foundation to learn English especially as a Second Language.

Preschool English by Mingoville is at present free for download on iPad with in-app purchases but with the first mission made free-for-all to play.
Copy - No 1 in China

Mingoville Commentary

Can Schools Really Be Locked Out In Today’s Digital Age?

In the midst of the on-going schools lockout in Denmark, we received an interesting email from an inquisitive 6th grader this week, Albert Einstein, he candidly calls himself.

Little “Albert Einstein” writes: “Hej Skolemat. Jeg synes at overslag hos buller er lidt for svært. Min far og jeg var nød til at være sammen om at lave den med en lommeregner og papir. (han er ingeniør) jeg ville bare lige sige det.”
Skolemat emailWhat struck me was the commanding level of critical inquiry in his email even if his feedback remains subjective to each his own but, it reveals how a child does not take his learning journey any less serious just because it is not in a “school”.

This brings me back to the bigger questions: What exactly does a school lockout mean in today’s digital age? Can teachers – and education – really be locked out?

Schools compounds may be locked up, teachers may be denied from teaching, but in today’s digital age, “school” never closes because what is “school” is no longer clearly defined by mere human, physical compounds and boundaries.

For all the policy debate ensuing in Denmark, the irony is that, education is not locked out even as teachers are. It actually reveals a paradigm shift in motion.

Since the schools lockout, Mingoville has seen a surge in interest, downloads and purchases in our educational apps on the iPad in particular – as of today – more than 30% of the Top 20 iPad apps in the Danish Education Store belongs to us.

“It tells us that with a schools lockout, parents in Denmark are left to proactively seek out for their kids alternative learning means or should we say, alternative teachers to facilitate learning”, reveals Mingoville’s CEO, Stephan Stephensen.

At this point, it is critical to point out that a schools lockout is not uncommon elsewhere in the world, though, for very different (often unforeseen) reasons.

Just a decade ago, the SARS outbreak in Asia had forced schools to be closed, then there was the H1N1 epidemic just a few years back that had schools shutting too.

I was teaching in a pre-tertiary institution in Singapore when the H1N1 epidemic called for a school “lockout”, and the lockout had to happen in less than 24 hours.

Fortunately, I was teaching in a digital education-ready school. Instructions of e-learning plans were sent to teachers right away. For the rest of the week, lessons and assessments were conducted digitally, teachers simply “worked” from home.

In a digital education age, the role of teachers ought to have taken a big shift. And perhaps central to the debate should be about such paradigm shifts in Denmark.

Stephan said: “The lockout reveals to us that even as 30% of schools in Denmark are using our digital learning products but the role of teachers have not shifted to truly facilitate the digital age. There is a gap between rhetoric and practice.”

Instead, burden has fallen on parents to stand in the gap to work out contingency plans for kids, as we saw a massive surge in private purchases of our products.

“This intrigued us as one would expect schools in today’s digital age to be better equipped to ensure learning will not be disrupted. All it would have taken was a digital-learning contingency plan and the teachers to facilitate it,” he concluded.

While adults fight their battles, let us not undermine a child’s ability to be serious self-directed digital learners — if this should add perspective to the debate, too.

Because in today’s digital age, education never stops. The show will go on.

Then what – really – are we fighting about?

Jan Lin jl@mingoville.com