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The 21st Century Classroom Powered by Wireless Technology

If you’re interested in advancing the industrial-era educational system into one that is more appropriate for the 21st century, the International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology 2012 (iCTLT) held in late March in Singapore was the place to be. Qualcomm, through our Wireless Reach™ initiative, sponsored the event and helped launch the “WE Learn” mobile education project, which uses Snapdragon™-enabled smartphones equipped with a mobile learning platform, educational applications, 3G wireless connectivity and 24/7 Internet access to allow Singaporean students to acquire and practice the competencies and knowledge they’ll need to thrive in the digital age. Our partners in this project include Nan Chiau Primary School, Singapore’s National Institute of Education, University of Michigan, Microsoft, Nokia and SingTel.

The Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) is working to better prepare students to succeed in a fast-changing and highly connected world by promoting the development of self-directed and collaborative learning skills. Nan Chiau is leading the way with a 21st century classroom that implements the MOE’s framework for information and communication technology (ICT) in education.

The WE Learn project aims to transform learning from a traditional, teacher-centric model to a student-centric, inquiry-oriented and collaborative framework. With a grant from Wireless Reach, the WE Learn project is providing smartphones and connectivity to all third-grade students and their teachers at Nan Chiau. This allows students to have access anytime, anywhere, to web-based resources and collaborative learning tools, enabling them to take responsibility for their own learning, and, in turn, empowering teachers to provide individualized mentoring.

Students use their smartphones to access assignments, relevant web-based resources and educational applications. Files created by students on their smartphones are backed-up and synchronized to a cloud-based Teaching Management System, providing each student an electronic portfolio that parents can review and teachers can access for grading and feedback purposes.

Jointly organized by the MOE, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Academy of Principals, iCTLT is a premier conference bringing together leaders in education, business and government from around the world to connect, collaborate and examine the latest and greatest use of ICT to create an engaging and effective education for students.

A highlight of iCTLT came when MOE officials toured Qualcomm’s booth in the exhibition area and had a WE Learn moment -- getting hands-on with the same smartphones that Nan Chiau students use, they experienced for themselves how these 3G tools can help Singapore’s children become the content creators and problem solvers that the MOE wants them to be.

Another highlight occurred when Mantosh Malhotra, Qualcomm’s Regional Head of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, and several WE Learn project partners participated in a panel discussion about how the project supports the MOE’s goals. We were also grateful to have the support of Jim Lederer, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and John Stefanac, Vice President of Qualcomm and President of Qualcomm Southeast Asia and Pacific, as our spokespeople and as advocates of education technology.

I believe that we all want the world’s children to learn the skills needed to be successful in the 21st century. At Qualcomm, we believe that giving students 24/7 access to the Internet, their learning materials, tutors and each other is critical to ensuring every student, no matter what their income status or location, can have the same tools to get a good education.

To learn more about this project and our Wireless Reach initiative click here.

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