Blessed with a vibrant culture and diverse languages, cultures and backgrounds, South East Asia has many exciting experiments in adopting ICTs for learning, education, and training. While hard-core software and collaborative learning tools have mostly been written in the global North, the number of innovative adaptations of these tools and technologies to embrace technologies in countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, etc. comes with a strong national policy making and master plan approach. Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Instructional Design are the most new of these concepts. Whether it was an early adoption of digital technologies like television, video or computer aided learning, the emphasis has been on teacher training, focus on basic proficiency and core IT skills, as well as appropriate infrastructure and hardware acquisitions to create a conducive environment for schools and learning institutions to adopt technologies and go smart.
In this issue we are presenting how Malaysia has rapidly incorporated smart learning in schools with the government drawing up visionary plans for Education through Smart School initiative. The plan to make all schools smart by 2010 follows the Pilot Project from 1999 to 2002 and the post pilot phase from 2002 to 2005 and now the focus is on students making effective use of ICT for active learning, teachers focus on use of ICT for professional and personal growth; ICT is used for building connections between curriculum, instruction and assessment, and for school improvement.
The government of Singapore’s IT Master Plan for Education, now in its second phase (2003-2007), is also discussed, along with some inside pages of Smart School experiences of Philippines and some smart talks with the founder of SMART Technologies, Nancy Knowlton.
The level achieved by all these countries is what other countries strive for. Interesting projects and programmes launched in other countries are also able to provide lessons for countries preparing to draw up smart plans and visions.
Digital Learning Asia 2007 conference being held as a part of the eAsia 2007 summit in Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Putrajaya, Malaysia from February 6-8, 2007 is aiming to take stock of the scenario in Asia. Mark your calendars and join the most exciting event and exhibition on ICT for Development.