General News

Hwa Chong Educator Conferred Outstanding Economics Teacher Award

11 Nov 2019

Promoting Student-Centric Learning

We extend our heartiest congratulations to Mr Gilbert Ng Ying Fong (Lecturer/ Economics) who has been awarded the Outstanding Economics Teacher Award (OETA) conferred by the Economics Society of Singapore and supported by the Ministry of Education’s Economics Curriculum Planning and Development (CPDD) at the 12th Singapore Economic Policy Forum held on 24 October 2019. The award recognises teachers from secondary schools, junior colleges or centralised institutes who have contributed significantly towards the teaching and learning of Economics in schools.

From left to right: Mr Gilbert Ng Ying Fong (Lecturer, Economics), Senior Ministry of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat, Professor David Lee (Singapore University of Social Sciences, Vice President Economics Society of Singapore)

Nominated for the award by Isaac Tay (17S68 ) who was inspired by his teacher:
“Thank you for your groundbreaking work in pedagogy and technology as well, motivating myself and many others to work hard. It's ironically rare to have a teacher that cares about a student's learning rather than simply their grade, and the space you gave me to deal with concepts in my own time, in my own way, with my own framework of thinking was imperative to my learning and enjoyment of Economics; by extension, I suppose, my final grade as well. I know I didn't start out as the best of students, and I definitely don't claim to be one now, but your teaching has helped me discover a love for Economics that I didn't even know I had.  Your ability to speak and the charisma you carry, coupled with your genuine prowess in Economics really makes every lesson a joy to attend-- not to mention the discussions we get to have.”

Ms How Lai Yin, Deborah (Principal Consultant, Arts) remarked that:
“Since joining HCI in 2011, Gilbert has been an enthusiastic and engaging teacher who is strong in both content mastery as well as pedagogy, and who has inspired his students.  Always placing students’ interest and readiness for learning as top priority, Gilbert has put in much energy and thought into looking for ways to not only inspire his students, but to also help them become more self-directed and collaborative in their learning.

With a natural interest in technology and obtained Masters in both Educational Studies and Learning Science and Technology, Gilbert is a guru in the use of numerous ICT enabled learning tools in and outside the classroom and thus well-respected by his colleagues.  He has also spearheaded and developed various new ICT learning platforms that were customised for HCI students, of which the most notable one was the Gamified Flip Learning (GFL) App which was done in collaboration with NIE.  For the past few years, this app was used by the entire HCI Economics Unit as part of their flip learning strategy to allow students to learn at their own pace for topics which were scheduled during periods where they were busiest with CCAs and various school based activities.“

Mr Gilbert Ng won the award primarily for being involved in conceptualizing and developing the Smart Explorer and MindGap app. The former is used regularly by the Economics department, whereas the latter is still in development to become a nationwide app. In addition, he has been invited by the Student Learning Space (SLS) product owner to include these features into the portal by the second quarter next year.

The impetus for creating Smart Explorer came about as such. Recalling his primary school experience with the Young Scientist Badge (a form of gamification) which intrinsically motivated many, including himself, to pursue scientific inquiry at a young age, he decided to utilize a gamified app called Smart Explorer  (developed by Dr Koh from NIE’s Humanities and Social Studies (HSSE) department) to facilitate learning and to host learning materials and award experience points as a form of tracking when students complete assigned tasks. The implementation of this initiative saw students spontaneously group together to teach and push each other to complete the tasks within the suggested time frame.

As for Mindgap, this was conceptualised at the 2017 Ministry of Education’s Buildathon organized by the Education Technology Department and later selected by GovTech for further development. Constrained by issues like physical space on essay scripts and the physical fatigue of handwriting comments, this app allows digital feedback to be given with design considerations that were not found in any existing products.  This includes making repetitive comments less painful via “hashtag saving and retrieval”, leveraging emoticons to give more meaning to marking, making the student mobile interface smooth and frictionless for ease of access and reflection to close the feedback loop.

Yong Khee Hou (19S6G) remarked that:
“Mr Ng is a very innovative teacher in his approach to teaching as he tries to use technology to engage our class in the learning of economics during lessons and even after lessons through the use of apps like "Padlet" and even "Smart Explorer". Mr Ng's use of ICT in his teaching has allowed me and my classmates to complete activities both individually and as small groups so that we can participate actively in lessons as opposed to just listening during class. This has definitely kept us thinking more during lessons and has benefited us immensely in the learning of Economics. Furthermore, Mr Ng is also actively trying to experiment and develop a "Gamified Learning" approach to teaching economics using technology so as to improve our learning experience even further. I believe that Mr Ng is making a good effort to embrace technology so as to better teach his students as many in this day and age have grown to be very accustomed to using technology in their everyday lives.”


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