On 15th October 2014, we were invited to demo our blended learning solution at a school in Bogor, Java, Indonesia. Bogor is located approximately 60km south of the capital, Jakarta. We visited ASBI, a high school set up by the Putera Sampoerna Foundation. ASBI is a co-ed boarding school for 330 students in Grades 10-12. At ASBI, students are provided an enriching and supportive learning environment, in which academic, social and leadership skills are taught alongside academics. Putera Sampoerna foundation provides full and partial scholarships for youths from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. Students are selected on the basis of academic merit and personal qualities (such as entrepreneurial spirit and leadership).
ASBI currently follows the Cambridge Examination board, and students sit for the IGCSE and AS/A Level examinations. Students study English language and literature, a Foreign Language, Sciences, IT, Arts, Humanities, Commerce, Sciences and Physical Education. Classes are limited to a maximum of 25 students. Recently Sampoerna Foundation has made a conscious decision to shift to the US Advanced Placement system, and will make this transition over the next couple of years.
Most of the campus has no Internet connection or Wi-Fi. Even the areas that do have Wi-Fi, such as the computer lab or teachers’ offices, have an unstable network. This is quite common in South East Asia and presents a number of challenges when blending ICT with in-classroom learning. Our box solution overcomes some of these challenges by allowing teachers to use our platform without Internet. We also provided teachers with Wi-Fi dongles in case they needed to use the web in class.
We conducted a 1.5 hour demo for a 10th grade class covering both mathematics and English content.. In mathematics, we covered Matrices and Set theory. The demo provided examples of our learning objects, clicker-based assessments and games, which were very well received by the students. There was a distinct variation in the level of English between new full scholarship students (who had joined 1 month prior and had been in a Bahasa-medium school previously) and students that had been in the school for a few months. Thus, we decided to split the class into five teams to encourage collaboration and make the activity fun through a small competition. This turned out to be a very effective strategy. Teammates discussed answers to each question energetically before pressing the clickers. As a whole, the class performed very well in the Mathematics assessments. Interestingly, they performed better on Matrices (a 10th grade topic recently covered in class) than on Set theory (a 9th grade topic, in which they needed some hints on occasion)!
The English video comprehension demo, albeit 6th grade English, was a big hit with the class. Students paid attention to each of the videos, laughing at jokes and commenting where appropriate! As a class, they received a perfect score of 100% on grammar, but only 75% on comprehension. This is not uncommon for students learning English as a second language. From previous demos we have noticed that students learning English often have a strong command of grammar, but need more practice and direction when it comes to comprehension.
Visiting ASBI was a wonderful experience! The welcoming and warm nature of the staff and the natural enthusiasm displayed by the students, made it very special and productive indeed.