COVID-19 may have disrupted Singapore’s economy – like most countries globally – but it failed to disrupt the provision of education within Singapore.
In the face of a mass lockdown, the Ministry of Education (MOE) had taken preparatory steps like scheduling one day of home-based learning (HBL) every week to test the ability of the students and the teachers to cope with distance learning programs.
The gentle easing into HBL, by first levying it once a week, enabled the government to scrutinize glitches in the system and check the system’s resilience in successfully carrying the load of the entire country’s educational endeavors.
MOE has invested itself in producing a module that provided opportunities for home-based learning even before the COVID-19 surfaced. This facilitated it in delivering a remarkable platform like the Singapore Student Learning Space!
What is SLS?
The Singapore Student Learning Space or SLS is an initiative by MOE to ensure equal opportunities of learning for every student within Singapore.
This is an online learning platform designed to empower students to engage in collaborative learning despite being far from peers and teachers while also enabling opportunities to engage in self-directed learning.
This initiative has targeted the need of modern times by making education geographically mobile. The SLS online learning portal was activated in 2018 and in 2020, the true necessity of this invention became evident as physical lessons were suspended due to the fears of COVID-19.
How to Access SLS?
Here’s how you can get started with the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS):
1) The SLS website portal is accessible through the internet browsers on either Mac, Windows PC, Android tablets, or iPad. For optimal experience, using a screen size larger than 7 inches is recommended.
2) Your login details (username and password) will be provided by your school. Your username is usually the first five characters of your full name and the password is the last five characters of your BC number.
When you log in for the first time, you will be asked to change your password. As with most other platforms, the SLS website also requires you to enter your new password twice for confirmation purposes.
3) For identity verification, you will be asked to enter your email address, where a verification link will be sent.
Once the verification is complete, you’re all sorted!
Welcome to the Singapore Student Learning Space!
SLS and the 21st Century Competencies
The SLS platform is designed with keen regard to the “21st Century Competencies” recognized by the MOE for students to flourish in a quickly evolving world. The Singaporean government has insisted on a need for parents and teachers to work together to ensure every child is well-groomed according to the present demands of time.
Thus, the SLS integrates the same core values in its syllabus and teaching pedagogy. These competencies are recognized in three tiers of importance and personal development.
1) The core center comprises attributes of resilience, responsibility, integrity, and harmony. Building up an SLS platform is an apt form of showing strength in the face of disruptions.
It also requires students to take on the mantle of responsibility and self-accountability.
2) The second set of skills that the MOE considers vital to surviving in the modern world include self-management, self-evaluation, decision-making skills, relationship management, etc.
Being a virtual teacher, SLS ensures that it imparts the same set of values to the students. This develops a habit of self-assessment, which makes a strong base for efficient decision-making.
3) The last tier is the belief in teaching civic responsibility and encouraging students to embrace and accept diversity in culture and beliefs while keeping pace with the rapidly evolving world.
SLS also allows students to read up on history, social studies, geography topics as well as learn a few foreign languages to help them connect better with a globalized world.
Is SLS a Substitute for Regular Schooling?
Making schools the mediators target another crucial aspect of the SLS platform: it enables the teachers to track their students’ progress and make precise interventions to facilitate a better conceptual understanding.
It stands not in competition but in support of regular schooling. It provides a workable solution for the debate between the effectiveness of online education versus distance learning in the face of modern digitalization.
A completely automated teacher wouldn’t be able to build a good connection with a student and recognize their learning needs. Keeping the SLS portal linked to admissions in school has acted as a suitable middle ground for the issue.
It presents the most effective study module where the students can learn at their own pace while following a certified curriculum overlooked by their teachers. This way, the teacher can intercede wherever and whenever they feel the student needs help!
SLS and Connecting with Friends
SLS is a steady platform for students to connect to their peers to have a fun study session. Imagine SLS to be just like a supervised form of group study. The students can compete against each other’s scores through quizzes and puzzles, which may act as an incentive to perform well. It is not purely memorization of the academic curriculum.
It allows for interactive learning alongside all friends. Students are able to learn from the comfort of their own home, coordinate and converse with their peers in a virtual classroom.
Which Age Group does SLS Target?
The SLS portal is equipped with entire study resources for students from the primary to secondary school levels. This includes students aged between 7 and 16 years old.
Singapore citizens residing overseas and intending to return to school in Singapore can file their case via the Application for Access to Singapore Student Learning Space form to gain access to the portal.
What Fields of Study Does SLS Cover?
SLS provides a complete range of subjects to students to benefit from. It is not like the standard textbooks that bore you with unending information monologues. It ensures that very subject is dealt with with an impeccable delivery of the subject matter.
Math lessons are made lively through the inclusion of rapid quizzes.
The portal teaches English and other foreign languages which encourages students to interact with different languages. Also, different activities and quizzes included in the study make the process more engaging and livelier. Students can also track their progress with their peers, which invigorates a passion in the children to learn more languages.
It provides the content to facilitate complete learning for students, to learn proactively from home. The only necessity remains of the availability of the internet. To access the SLS platform, one must have internet access.
How to Benefit From SLS as a Teacher
SLS is not only an effective learning platform for students but also an excellent teaching tool for teachers, in the following ways:
1) Teachers in Singapore were freed from the obligation to transfer academic resources online to equip to a home based-learning approach. The national education platform introduced by MOE had already made a fount of resources available for general access by the students.
2) Teachers could not only use those resources, but they could also adapt them freely to their own teaching needs. They could choose the content they wished to be studied by the student and personalize it according to their students’ needs.
3) Teachers could add pop-up questions to test the student’s learning at any stage, just like a revision quiz conducted in usual physical classes. This way, the teachers could keep tabs on the student’s progress.
4) The ability to add pop-up quizzes on SLS allows teachers to inspect the content retention by the children and then adapt the teaching to meet the gaps in learning. This way, the teacher could watch the entire class and individual students.
5) The SLS complemented video conferencing apps like Zoom and Google Meet used by teachers worldwide. These platforms became a hub for additional resources for students to advance their studies independently as well. The complementing resources also include soft copies of textbooks and workbooks.
Effectiveness of SLS During COVID
Though many countries adopted home-based learning regimens during the coronavirus pandemic, few successfully ensured uninterrupted provision of knowledge. Many students worldwide complained that they felt a vast gulf between their teacher and themselves.
Most of the teachers complained of difficulties operating the online software promoted as teaching aids for distance learning. Though even teachers in Singapore struggled with HBL, the problem was notedly less severe than with teachers based in other countries around the world.
To ensure teachers are prepared to undertake online teaching, they went through training to improve their tech-savviness.
So, added with HBL being practiced once a week after the strike of the coronavirus, long-term measures by the schools and government in Singapore ensured that students could adapt immediately to a hybrid teaching model.
Teachers were already aware of the pitfalls of online education and hence designed their curriculum around it.
SLS has become a very efficient board connecting all of Singapore for the unified purpose of acquiring education. Besides this, the platform also acts as the perfect grooming tool to equip students with skills necessary to thrive in the 21st century, professionally speaking. The platform has a myriad of benefits to offer, for both teachers and students.
If you haven’t yet tapped into the benefits of the Singapore Student Learning Space, I highly recommend you do so immediately! Good luck.