Monday, 16 May 2016

Celebrating Access to Quality Education for Every Child, No Matter Who They Are

Dato' Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Minister of Education, communicating to the children of SK Pendidikan Khas using sign language. These students were at our Frog Classroom to show us how they use the Frog VLE for a Mathematics lesson. 

Happy Teachers Day, Malaysia! While our team in Kuala Lumpur is spreading the news on the wonderful 21st century teachers who will be receiving the 1BestariNet Teachers Awards, we're celebrating in Kota Kinabalu with some very special friends of ours, SK Pendidikan Khas.

Dato' Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Minister of Education, writing a special #thankyoucikgu postcard for Teachers' Day at our Frog Classroom.

Both Dato' Seri Mahadzir Khalid, Minister of Education and Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamed, Secretary General Ministry of Education stopped by our booth to meet the teachers and students of SK Pendidikan Khas, a special needs school for students who are hard of hearing. They were at our Frog Classroom to show us how they do a Mathematics lesson on the Frog VLE.

Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamed, Secretary General Ministry of Education signing a Frog Classroom table in Sabah today. Looking on are En Md Noradli and Tn Hj Shahirul Amran of YTL Communications and En Haris Abas of SK Pendidikan Khas.

This is En Haris Abas and Pn Nurmegawaty with the students of SK Pendidikan Khas.
You might remember their story from our very first Lilypad.

One of the reasons we're so excited to be here in Sabah for Teachers' Day is because we get to meet some old friends! It is good to see En Haris again. He shares that the school is doing well, with a few changes to business-as-usual. The orientation of the computers in the school's computer lab which used to be in rows, is now in two islands of four, which helps teachers moves around the eight PCs. Also new is that En Haris has a change of post. He now teaches Standard 3, when he previously taught Standard 4. We asked him about what's different.
"Perubahannya adalah lebih dari segi pendekatan. Budak-budak ini belum ke tahap 2, oleh itu belum perlu bersedia untuk UPSR. Saya boleh menggunakan 'games' dan elemen-elemen yang lebih seronok."
He explains that not much has changed, except for minor adjustments to his teaching approach. As his students are not yet preparing for UPSR, he can set up simple, fun games for them to play within his lessons.

Like En Haris, Pn Nurmegawaty Mohd Tahir did not receive any specific training in teaching for special needs. She does use the Frog VLE in her lessons, thought - for quite different reasons. Her students are preparing for UPSR as she teaches Standard 6. She commented that her students tend to easily forget lessons already taught.
"Untuk membuat persediaan untuk UPSR, dulu, saya terpaksa ulang balik apa yang saya ajar dengan setiap pelajar. Sekarang, saya menggunakan Frog VLE  membantu pelajar ingat. Ia kurang meletihkan dan pelajar boleh mengulangi latihan pada bila-bila masa."
She explains that she used to have to repeat her lesson with each student again and again to enable retention. She finds things easier now, because she can build a Site which helps students repeat the lesson as many times as they might need, and whenever they need to.

This young man named Jojoh is very expressive, and is sort of a pack leader among his friends.
Confident and excited to be in a cool new space, here he is with a mysterious smile.

It has been a colourful and happy time here at Kota Kinabalu for the FrogAsia team. Those of us from the Peninsula will miss seeing our friends from the land below the wind but we leave with such colourful memories. Your love for music and your beautiful smiles will stay with us always.

Till we meet again!

Tinggi tinggi Gunung Kinabalu,

Tinggi lagi sayang sama kamu,
Biru biru hujung Kinabalu,
Tengok dari jauh hati saya rindu.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Director General of Education Dato’ Sri Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusof celebrates 21st century teaching and learning at national Teachers Day festival

Education Director General Dato' Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof with students of SMK Taman Tun Fuad and JPN Sabah Director Pn Hjh Maimunah Hj Suhaibul at the Frog Classroom in Kota Kinabalu today for Festival Hari Guru. Here, Pn Julie explains elements of the lesson as Tn Hj Shahirul Amran of YTL Communications looks on.

Today, Malaysia’s Director General of Education Dato’ Sri Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusof attended the “Festival Hari Guru” today here in Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. He was accompanied by JPN Sabah Director Pn Hjh Maimunah Hj Suhaibul. Dato Sri Khair and Pn Hjh Maimunah met students and teachers from SMK Taman Tun Fuad who were engaging in a Frog session on Geography, on the topic of Migration. They signed Frog Classroom tables to commemorate the occasion.

Education Director General Dato' Seri Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof with students of SMK Taman Tun Fuad.
Boys will be boys. The band of brothers from SMK Taman Tun Fuad and their Cikgu getting ready for their Frog VLE Lesson at Festival Hari Guru here in Kota Kinabalu today. 

It's every teacher's dream that their students become more participative and confident in giving feedback. These boys began using The Frog VLE in their lessons this year. 

"Kurang mengantuk!" I'm not so sleepy!

"Tidak penat menulis!" I do not have to write!

"Kita boleh fokus sebab setiap orang ada Chromebook tersendiri." We each have Chromebooks so we can focus better.

And perhaps best of all, a tentative look that says, "I'm not sure how to say this..." followed by: 
"Saya... lebih senang faham."
I... understand things easier.

The interactivity and reduced shyness in being able to speak up via the Sites prepared by their teachers has brought a new sense of ownership to the class.
From left to right: Cikgu Julie, Cikgu Dalila and Cikgu Zahiah of SMK Taman Tun Fuad.

"Communication is the most important thing," shared Cikgu Julie, who finds her work satisfying, even more so now when her students are speaking up via the Frog VLE. She finds that her students' text-based answers increase in quality as they are more comfortable typing in feedback then writing by hand.

Cikgu Julie shares that she also uses the Frog VLE to stay organised. "After I'm done with my lesson, I can download everything to share as a report," she explained.

"We'd like to share Sites with other teachers so that they'll be able to access it and use it, so that it's a collaboration with more schools," shared the three teachers when we chatted to them today. With the kind of enthusiasm that they share, it's hard not to smile! Here's to 21st century schools in Sabah! We hope to see many more of you here in our Frog Classroom at Festival Hari Guru, Kota Kinabalu. 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Minister of Education Celebrates 'Anytime, Anywhere' Learning at National Teachers' Day Celebrations

Minister of Education Dato' Seri Mahdzir Khalid and YTL Foundation Programme Director Datin Kathleen Chew say hello to schools on the World's Largest Lesson in Sabah today
The Minister of Education attended the “Festival Hari Guru” today in Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. He participated in an interactive lesson on climate change conducted on the Frog VLE with a class from SMK Majakir, Papar. Students collaborated in a session between eight (8) schools across Sabah and Labuan via Frog Connected Classrooms.

Today, SMK Sindumin in Sipitang, SM Sains Labuan in Labuan, SMK Tambulion and SMK Agama Tun Said in Kota Belud, SMK Banggi in Pulau Banggi, SMK Putatan in Penampang and SMK Shan Tao in Kota Kinabalu came together for this session where students discussed the different kinds of pollution, its varying effects on the planet, and how they could reduce pollution in their own localities. Using applications built as feedback tools for real time classroom participation and brainstorming, students polled their opinions and discussed the lesson interactively.

Watch their Hangout here:
Explore their Lesson on this Frog Site:

Dato’ Seri Mahdzir Khalid was accompanied by Ministry of Education Director General Dato’ Sri Dr. Khair Mohamad Yusof. Also in attendance was YTL Foundation Programme Director, Datin Kathleen Chew Wai Lin and our Executive Director of FrogAsia Lou Yeoh.

The FrogAsia, YTL Foundation and YTL Communications family with teachers of SMK Majakir Papar at national Teachers' Day celebrations in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah after today's World's Largest Lesson.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

What happened at Leaps of Knowledge with St Anne’s College, University of Oxford?

The 25th of July 2015 was a fast-paced and inspiring day. The Leaps of Knowledge Conference with St Anne’s College, University of Oxford took place at Garden International School Mont Kiara, and we had the opportunity to meet five hundred of you! It was an amazing chance for us to have been able to engage with the professors of the University of Oxford, and to see you interact with them too.

The day started off bright and early, and it was so exciting see so many of you ready to seize the day!

Students getting their wrist tickets for the morning's sessions.

The conference started off with a welcome address by FrogAsia’s Executive Director, Lou Yeoh, followed by an opening speech from our Second Deputy Education Minister YB P. Kamalanathan, who motivated students to apply to world-class universities. Dr. Robert Chard, vice principal of St Anne’s College, encouraged students to send in their applications, and Dr. Anne Mullen, Vice Principal (International) of St Andrew’s University, gave us an overview of how the university system in the United Kingdom works. She reminded us that education is about training our minds. “Not your mum’s mind, not your teachers’ minds, your mind!”

We couldn't wait for the subject talks to start!

With that, we kicked off with the subject talks! The passion of these professors for their fields was evident to all as they told us about their areas of research. Dr. Peter Judge left the audience with this piece of advice: “Be bold. Be brave—and make that application.”

Being brave and bold isn't a problem for Malaysian students!

The Oxford University Malaysian Club (OUMC) shared how each of them came from different educational backgrounds. From international schools to national schools, it is testament to the fact that an education at the University of Oxford, a world class university, is possible for those with determination. The OUMC student panel also spoke on what it was like to apply to and experience studying at one of the most esteemed universities in the world.

“Choose something you’re really passionate about.” We agree!

Also, there were some pretty amazing things taking place at the exhibition hall! A ten-foot trampoline called the Dreamcatcher and a replica of the Junior Common Room found in the University of Oxford formed part of the exhibition. There were also interactive Frog VLE demonstrations and a replica of the University of Oxford Shop where FrogAsia T-shirts, button badges, and more could be found! At the OUMC booth, the members of the OUMC played interactive games and chatted with students.

How high can you jump?

Prof. Chard and Prof. Speight then took the stage to explain what goes on during the University of Oxford’s admissions process. Prof. Speight reminded us that at the end of the day, “it’s not the buildings, it’s the people.” Following that, we had two live admissions interview demonstrations, where two current Oxonians demonstrated how an Oxford interview takes place. It was a showcase of the skill of critical thinking, as the professors wanted to assess if the interviewee is able to think beyond what is taught within the four walls of a classroom.

The questions sounded simple, but the answers might surprise you!

Later, Datin Kathleen Chew of YTL Foundation hosted an interview with Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Ali Redhauddin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Tunku Besar of Sri Menanti. He told us, “university teaches you how to think, how to question—to not take things at face value.” As an Oxbridge graduate himself, he emphasised that, “it’s important to challenge yourself, take risks, and see the world. But come back to your home later.”

Participants shared their opinions during the session. It was great to know that so many students wanted to pursue a higher education!

We look forward to seeing you all again at the next Leaps of Knowledge Conference on the 31st of October 2015! We’ll be having Cathy Davidson as our keynote speaker. She is a leading innovator of new ideas and methods for learning and professional development in the school, in the workplace, and in general everyday life, so remember to block out your calendars for it!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The University of Oxford is Coming to Town!

Hey everyone! Have you ever dreamt or wondered how it’s like to live and study at Oxford? To walk through the halls at the place where they filmed the Harry Potter movies?

In partnership with St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, we will be organising the Leaps of Knowledge Conference with St Anne’s College, University of Oxford on the 25 July 2015 (Saturday). This Leaps of Knowledge event aims to inspire and encourage students to aspire towards studying in top universities like Oxford.

Attending participants will be able to:

1. Have the chance to listen to the professors as they speak about the subjects that they lecture on in the University of Oxford.

2. Experience the University of Oxford’s Mock Entrance Interviews, and learn about the finer details of the application process.

3. Get to know students from the University of Oxford, as they will be speaking about their experiences studying in the UK, and life abroad in general.

Students wondering what living abroad feels like will get to satisfy their curiosity during the panel forum by Malaysian students currently studying at the University of Oxford (Oxford University Malaysia Club).

Those who want to know more about the subjects they will have to study at university will benefit from the  Subject Talks by University of Oxford professors.

For the students and parents who are interested in the application process for universities in the UK, this conference will shed some light into the application processes required to apply to the University of Oxford and other universities.

Don’t shy away from this opportunity to learn and explore the possibilities of studying at Oxford! More information about the conference and its subject talks can be found on the event website or our Facebook event page.

Tell us if you’re coming on Facebook event page and get the tickets from our website!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

World Book Month Competitions

For our World Book Month celebrations, we had a series of workshops with some very talented authors and storytellers!

The workshops had students exploring the worlds of Creative Storywriting and Spoken Word performances, and we were so curious to see all the Scrapbook Sites that you built. Here are the winners:

Creative Storywriting

Our winner, SK Haji Ismail, used Google Draw to illustrate their picture books! Their story was concise and creative; featuring a superhero conquering an evil coconut tree. We also noted that their Scrapbook Site was colourful and comprehensive and documented the students’ journey in experiencing the workshop from beginning to end very well. Congratulations, SK Haji Ismail team!

SK Putrajaya Presint 9(1) receives a Special Mention for their creative story arrangement and engaging use of first-person dialogue. Their Scrapbook Site featured students’ reflection and thoughts during the workshop as well as a behind the scenes look at students creating their picture book. Well done, SK Putrajaya Presint 9(1) team!

Spoken Word

Our winner, SMK Ampang Pecah, wrote and performed a piece on love at first sight. They demonstrated great teamwork and creative use of gestures and enunciation. Their Scrapbook Site was comprehensive, and students added links to their Site on articles written about real-life love at first sight experiences. Well done, SMK Ampang Pecah team!

SMK Majakir Papar receives a Special Mention for their beautiful and evocative piece on expectations faced by high school students. Their Scrapbook Site had the personal touch of each participating student, and it provided a description of spoken word along with examples of great spoken word pieces. Congratulations, SMK Majakir Papar team!

Did you see our announcement of the winners on our Instagram page? Be sure to follow us to keep up with our adventures in technology and education!

Keep up with our adventures on our Instagram page!

We are grateful to our wonderful facilitators Quek Sue Yian, and Sheena Baharudin; and to Pelangi Books, Magicbird Publishing and Evergreen Publishing for their involvement and support for our fantastic World Book Month this past April. Indeed, we are happy to continue to celebrate the power of storytelling and hope to inspire a love of books in children all around Malaysia.

What are you reading with your child or student today?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

MELTA International Conference 2015

We are glad to have been part of the annual Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA) Conference 2015, held in Kuala Lumpur from 1-3 June. We at FrogAsia were excited to support the conference which has long been a central gathering point for English teachers across the country. We met so many inspiring educators from our closest neighbours in ASEAN and from around the world, and have been moved by their stories of English language learning from every corner of the globe.

FrogAsia's booth at the MELTA Conference 2015

We felt that we were well placed to share our unique insights surrounding our journey in education technology and language learning. As all educators know, opportunities to learn from each other can seldom be passed on.

We are also proud to share that our sister company, YTL Foundation was honoured at the conference for their efforts surrounding English language learning across the nation.
It is with great pleasure and pride that I accept MELTA's 2015 highest award : Raja Zarith Sofiah Award for Corporate Social Responsibility in English Language Education on behalf of the YTL Foundation. The various programmes carried out through the Foundation including Word Mania Competition, Creative Learning and Information Technology Centre (CLiC), Leaps of Knowledge and Fulbright English Teaching Assistants all contributed to  the achievement of the Award. This is indeed a well deserved recognition of YTL's clear commitment to CSR in education in general and the uplifting of English Language Education in particular.
- Tan Sri Datuk Dr Aris Osman, Board of Trustees, YTL Foundation

Attendees and guests of honour of the MELTA Conference 2015 including FrogAsia's Head of Transformation, Elizabeth Lopez and Tan Sri Datuk Dr Aris Osman, Board of Trustees, YTL Foundation

Our Head of Transformation, Elizabeth Lopez had the opportunity to speak about FrogAsia and our role in connecting teachers and students across the country via the Frog VLE. Elizabeth spoke of the dynamic collaborations that have been taking place between different schools, both in Malaysia and globally. With our work through the Frog VLE and all our various outreach efforts, FrogAsia hopes to empower this generation to understand the importance of technology in learning. We believe that students will have the tools and the confidence to reach beyond themselves when they use technology-enhancing learning as stepping stones into the future.

FrogAsia's Head of Transformation, Elizabeth Lopez, a former English teacher pictured with the FrogAsia team and English teachers who attended her talk on Language and Learning

We also heard from the President of MELTA (Malaysian English Language Teaching Association), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ganakumaran Subramaniam.

“Our goals are the same,” he said. “At the end of the day we want to improve education in the country. That is our goal.”

We thank MELTA for this wonderful collaborative opportunity, and we look forward to our continued journey.