By Azreen Azirinee Azizi
Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education was at one time very exclusive to the elitist, not until it opened up later for all social class. It has now been perceived as somewhat important in human life to acquire knowledge. Even in the Al-Quran, Allah has mentioned for the mankind to read!
Back in the days when the Internet was still not around, learning took place in a classroom and knowledge can be acquired from the teachers and books. When Internet emerged around 1990s, everyone can acquire education provided that they have Internet access. Books and other sources can easily be accessed from the finger tips. The idea of cloud computing have been introduced by J.C.R. Licklider in 1969 and it has helped provide a place to store data which can easily be accessed anywhere.
Internet has brought together people from around the world and since then we have seen the existence of social media. Now we can benefit in education from the advancement of this technology. A lot of educational institutions are trying to make education fun to acquire by using Internet.
In Malaysia, education system for primary and secondary school are being improvised by the Ministry of Education. Students are required to learn how to use Internet during Information and Communication Technology (ICT) class. The importance of Internet have been highlighted during the learning process. However, we are still lacking behind in the usage of Internet for education.
Universities in Malaysia started using the Internet by providing a platform for students and lecturers to interact. International Islamic University Malaysia do have a technology that provides a space for lecturers to interact with students online. iTaleem has been introduced and it provides a space for lecturers to post announcement, lecture notes and distributing assignments.
Should Malaysia consider to do a learning through social media? Youngsters nowadays use a lot of social media and Internet daily. They depend on the technology more compared to the time of their parents. Since they are born during a technology era, gadgets and technologies are not alien to them. They find it easier to study using the new media and the Internet because everything is at their fingertips. They can easily browse for information that they curious to know or on any subject they do not know by using Google.
Nowadays, teachers also are using Internet to post their tutorials and it can easily be accessed by students. Moreover, it makes it easier for students to refer for the tutorials anytime they want since whatever have been posted on the Internet will stay there forever unless they are removed. “I don’t have to be at a classroom of a famous Harvard lecturer like Tal Ban Shahar just to hear his lecture on Positive Psychology, I can just easily watch it online.”
Following the advancement of technologies in education, Caprice Technologies have come out with a project called Classruum.com with their tagline “Learning is now social”. Learning nowadays should be more fun and interactive with the advancement of technologies. Internet plays a bigger role here in providing access to a virtual classroom.
The founder of Classruum Ariz Ramli and Sophia Yasmin Yusoff Khan has introduced Classruum in 2013 hoping that education in Malaysia should be fun and exciting for students to experience. Ariz or better known as Caprice is a Malaysian celebrity who received education from abroad and he wanted to change the way youth acquire knowledge, so he and his partner has come out with this idea.
Cloud based educational platforms
Learning nowadays can take place in the virtual world. Just like a cloud-based educational platforms, it feels just like a real classroom but students and their teachers can just stay at their home or anywhere and they can meet online. With their tagline of learning is now social, students can interact with each other using the platform. Just like how they use social media, and in this platform they are learning from each other through Classruum.
This online learning platform with social media applications provides an extensive space for the students and teachers. Using social media applications, it helps in making this platform as much fun as social media could be. Since youngsters nowadays use social media on a daily basis and social media also give a big impact on youngsters, this platform gives students a chance to use social media to learn in a fun way. Teachers can submit their notes and tutorial videos here. It is also a big meeting place for students to interact with each other.
Malaysia has been ranked fifth for the top 10 most expensive place for education. Fees are high and those who come from needy families will find it hard to send their kids to receive tuition outside of school hours. From my observation, fees nowadays can reach up to RM50 per month for each subject and only take place once or twice in a week.
The founder also wanted to lower the cost of the fees for students and parents. A monthly subscription with access to unlimited subjects and teachers will only cost around RM10 and it helps eliminate the normal price of tuition fees. Teachers and students can benefit from this platform.
Unlike a normal classroom, Classruum eliminates the weakness of the normal classroom setting which is students and teacher have to be physically present and it takes place in a building. Teachers regardless where there are, can provide students the contents by simply adding notes to the platform for the student to access. Even though it is not expensive, teacher’s income can be increased due to a large number of students that they can reach.
Physical classrooms can only occupy students up to 30-50 people based on the size of the classroom. However, with this platform a teacher can have 300 students in their Classruum at once.
Students and students
Students can socialise between themselves in this platform and it can help students to acquire more knowledge. All students from different schools can come together under this one platform. We used to mingle around with students from the same school, however this platform gives the students a place to mingle around with other students from all over the place.
This could help students in their mind construction and learning about others. Students can learn about how other students from different states learn a certain subject. They can exchange information with each other and this will help make the students more knowledgeable.
Classruum is a place for students, teachers and even enterprises. Students also can follow their favourite teacher on this platform for only RM2. Students can receive up-to-date contents and exercises by following the teachers. Teachers can make a tutorial video for a certain subject that is hard to just show notes for example Mathematics. Students can get accessed to the tutorial video anytime and anywhere.
This platform also helps in the interaction between teachers and students where they can have a live interactive session on this platform. It can help students in answering a few questions that they might find difficult. Other than that, students can exchange or share questions with their friends to work on it together. It is always a fun experience to work on difficult questions with friends.
Join the class
A total of 500 schools from Johor and Kedah have committed to test the system and Ariz has been promoting this platform through his social media to get more students to come in. Students and teachers can sign up for free on the website. The founders also are planning to do inter-school competitions when more schools populate the Classruum. For more information, readers can visit Classruum.com***