What has been the impact of your solution to date?
Launched 1 Feb 2012, the pilot website (http://backtoschool.publichouse.sg/) has received over 35,000 views, 14 crowd-sourced lesson plans and 9 commentaries.
We are working with 9 NGOs, 3 enterprises, 2 arts companies and many individuals who wish to contribute pro-bono lesson plans or commentaries on improving education in Singapore. Editors ensure accuracy, objectivity, and pedagogical quality control.
Singapore Polytechnic and Singapore's National Institute of Education will be featuring the site as a resource for teachers. We have received a surprising amount of positive anecdotal feedback from teachers, and have been featured on Yahoo! Singapore (Feb 2012), even though the site hasn't yet been publicised by mainstream media or the Ministry of Education. We believe it will grow even more as word gets out.
What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?
1) We aim to garner a steady stream of at least 6 new lesson plans or commentaries per month, per participating country.
2) All schools, NGOs, arts groups, social enterprises, interested individuals in the participating country would know of this site for their use and contribution.
3) We intend to expand to include a Country Editor for Singapore and at least 1 other Asian country, making contact with all education groups and the wider community to promote usage and crowd-sourced contributions.
4) We will conduct surveys/ focus group discussions to assess user-impact and website efficacy, for improvement
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
1) Unpredictable volume of contributions, which are pro-bono. To achieve a steady rate of 6 contributions per month, Country Editors should be prepared to research and create 4 new lesson plans/ commentaries per month, to supplement the crowd-sourced contributions.
2) Lack of quality control. Country Editors need to be stringent about the editorial process, and help refine the lesson plan to ensure objective critical thought/ sound pedagogy.
3) Lack of awareness among local agencies. We plan to contact teachers, schools and organisations directly to garner ground support. Country Editors should maintain good links with civil society/ local media.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
1) Total 36 lesson plans/ commentaries, 2) Develop expansion strategy for 1 other English-speaking Asian country (eg. Malaysia)
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
1) Total 72 lesson plans/ commentaries, 2) SchoolAsia.org extended beyond Singapore to 1 other Asian country
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]
As a teacher in Singapore with a heavy workload, I often lacked time to create good, updated lessons, even with 24/7 internet access. While global lesson plan databases were useful, they often lacked lessons on Asian/Singaporean issues. My school had a useful internal-sharing system - so why not include community stakeholders for greater synergy?
During my travels in Asia, I saw widely varying needs and resources available to local teachers. While some had easy access to teaching resources, others had limited access and found it hard to use the wealth of information online (eg. reports, videos) in lessons. Why reinvent the wheel when we can share?
The rise of volunteerism in Asia is a form of support, but I found many local teachers preferred to be equipped/ supported in their teaching, rather than rely on external, ad-hoc help. One way to support teachers, and increase regional goodwill and understanding is to share ready-to-use country-specific resources at a one-stop database.