UNESCO ICT Prize laureate from Singapore leading the way in bringing virtual learning in the classroom


The Open Source Physics @ Singapore of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Singapore project was awarded the 2015 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize.

Launched in 2012, “Open Source Physics @ Singapore” is an innovative tool for learning physics using an open platform. More specifically it provides curriculum resources that engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling

Four years after winning the Prize, Lawrence Loo Kang Wee, from the Ministry of Education of Singapore, is satisfied with the positive results of their programme on Education and Physics, specifically in South East Asia.

As a teacher, he noticed an increase in the use of simulations, or computer models, by other teachers to plan learning experiences around them. An innovation that not only offers an effective way of learning Mathematics and Physics, says Lawrence Loo Kang Wee, but it also makes students enjoy those subjects more.

Building the classroom of tomorrow

While developing the current programme, the Ministry of Education has been working on other related projects. Such projects include: the creation of simulations as part of an exploration for designing interactive textbooks; prototyped source codes through which educators can examine the differences and value of various computing languages in developing computational thinking; or the conduction of workshops to encourage teachers to develop lessons using simulations. It also worked on modernizing existing simulations so that they could be run on mobile platforms.

For the future, the Ministry of Education of Singapore is developing other projects to increase students and teachers interactions. For instance, they are now working on a project using a dashboard to inform teachers about how well students are using the simulations in order to make the necessary interventions.

Also in the work is a project aiming to create Android and iOS apps that harness the mobile phone's microphone and cameras to be used as a data logger with external sensors.

For Lawrence Loo Kang Wee, Virtual Learning through simulations, which can serve as a virtual laboratory, as well as other innovative technologies, are likely to play a bigger role in future classrooms and should be used to encourage exploration, curiosity, creativity, and deepen learning.