Editorial Board (Issue 4 - 2009)

Dr Azian T.S. Abdullah (Advisor)
Devadason Robert Peter (Chief Editor)
Dr Cheah Ui Hock (Editor)
Dr Warabhorn Preechaporn (Editor)
Dr Wahyudi (Editor)
Ng Khar Thoe (Editor)



1. Learning Mathematics via ICT Integration in Values-Based Water Education (pp 1 – 19)

Ch’ng Yeang Soon , Tan Khan Aun , Ng Khar Thoe

In our country where water is in abundance, society tends to take for granted that whatever happened in countries with water shortages are not their concern. But if we were to scrutinize our situation here, we will notice that the effects of water shortage in these countries are slowly creeping into our country as a result of human indifferences and industrialization. Apart from increasing our standards of living, industrialization also brings about air and water pollutions. All in all if we analyse the situation we will notice that all these problems arise because of the indifference of people lacking the 5 core elements of human values, that is, right conduct, peace, truth, love and non-violence. Seeing the importance of the roles of educators towards Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), a cooperation project on promoting ‘Human Values-based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education’ (HVWSHE) in Southeast Asian Schools was initiated by the SEAMEO Secretariat and UN-HABITAT. A regional Training of Trainers (TOT) course on the integration of HVWSHE was held in RECSAM from May 16th to 25th, 2007 as one of the capacity building initiatives to train teachers on the integration of HVWSHE with conceptual understanding of its philosophy, exemplary practices and its integration into mainly Science, Mathematics and Social Science curricula. After attending a few sessions of the HVWSHE course, the first author was inspired to plan a values-based Mathematics lesson via ICT integration to teach directed number involving “computation of integers and decimals using addition, subtraction, multiplication and division”. A teaching try-out with Form 2 pupils in a secondary school in Penang was also implemented. The idea of “water rationing” was incorporated in a Mathematics lesson via Problem-based Learning (PBL). The students were confronted with a real life problem which they needed to solve immediately in order to survive with limited water supply. By using a spreadsheet program as ICT tool, the pupils were guided to work cooperatively and role-play as families to decide the amount of water they need per day. Several guided attempts led them towards better solutions. The teachers provided scaffolded activities incorporated with human values to help them learn about facts and figures. The pupils explored the concepts of directed numbers in a very contextual and meaningful way. The activities elicited higher order thinking with 5 core human values being integrated subtly in the lesson plan so that the pupils would raise the issues through their discussions in the process of solving real-life problems. Pre-/post-test questionnaires using ‘Water Attitude Scale’ (WAS) (Yeap, Ng, Wahyudi, Cheah & Robert Peter, 2007) were also administered to evaluate the impact of VBWE on students’ sustainable water use ethics and the findings were disseminated in an international conference (Ch’ng, Tan, Ng, 2007).

2. Building Bridges to Algebraic Thinking (pp 20 – 30)

Lim Hooi Lian, Noraini Idris, Wun Thiam Yew

Currently, mathematics researchers and educators argue and describe that algebra is a way of thinking, a method of expressing relationship, describing and representing patterns, and exploring mathematical properties. Thus, 'algebraic thinking' has become a catch-all phrase for the recent research. However, many students still approach algebra as formal structure, manipulation of symbols and rote skills. The SOLO model developed by Biggs and Collis can be adapted to provide a useful four-step template of generalized questions, that lead and help students to build a bridge in making transition from the basic concept of algebra to the advanced skills of representation and generalization of linear pattern by using algebra symbols.

3. Promoting Constructivist and Self-Directed Science Learning Incorporating Technological Tools: A Research Lesson in a Secondary School (pp 31 – 46)

Ng Khar Thoe, Devadason Robert Peter, Linda Toh

With the ever-increasing demand in knowledge and technological advancement, much emphasis has been placed on the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in science education. An example could be seen in the increased attention on the use of animation software to stimulate students’ interests in science learning. It is believed that the learning of many complicated scientific concepts, principles or theories that could hardly be explained by plain text or ‘chalk and talk’ may be achieved through visualization using 3-D animation multimedia software. This articles reports on the experiences of the authors in designing a research based science lesson with multimedia integration that was implemented in a secondary school using the lesson study (Yoshida & Fernandez, 2002; Isoda, 2008) or research lesson (Lewis & Tsuchida, 1998) approach. During the ‘Lesson Planning’ phase, the use of multimedia as resource materials, ‘Novak and Gowin’s (1984) metacognitive strategies as well as the five phases of constructivist approaches by Driver and Bell (1986)’ as specific steps developed for the lesson were dwelt on in specific. The ‘Lesson Presentation’ phase includes a report on the tryout of the Form 4 Physics lesson on ‘Energy and Heat’ with observation notes by the team members consisting mainly of the science teachers in a local secondary school and the specialists in RECSAM. The most important step in a researched lesson, i.e. ‘Lesson Reflection’ was elaborated with an overview of the lesson and a summary of the comments or feedback by the team members who had observed the lesson being carried out. What was learned through this step could be applied in the next lesson study in other science classes with similar focus areas. These would include the suggested concrete alternatives of how the lesson could be improved which would contribute towards developing an in-service model for the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) of science teaching.
4. Use of the "X" Tool to Identify Region That Represents Given Inequalities

Theresa Lee Choon Moi

The "X" tool consists of an X marked on a piece of tracing paper. It is a simple tool that students can easily make and use to identify the region that satisfies two linear inequalities. An action research on the use of the tool has been carried out on a mixed ability group of 43 Form 5 students and it has been found to be effective in assisting students to determine the region that satisfies two linear inequalities.