General News

Passionate Tutor Who Drives Innovation At Workplace

07 Nov 2018

We would like to congratulate Gilbert Ng Ying Fong (Lecturer/ Economics) who is one of the recipients of the 2018 MOE Outstanding Innovator Award. The Award seeks to recognise passionate individuals who are key influencers of continual improvement and drives innovations in their workplace.

On top of winning HCI’s Best Teaching Practice Award (Gold) in 2012, and the Best Teaching Practice Award (Commendation) in 2016, Gilbert was crucial in conceptualizing and upscaling Gamified Flipped Learning (GFL) for the entire cohort of Economics students’ curriculum.

GFL is a system for self-paced learning combining Flipped learning and gamification concepts. Gamification serves to address a key concern of Flipped Learning – that students may not necessarily do the work or consume the content assigned. His motivation and commitment to promoting active student-centric learning and making teaching a learning joyful experience helped him reflect on and realize that that games are a great example of how intrinsic motivation can be designed into an activity using Self-Determination Theory principles (a motivational theory).

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. Tutors also shared that the GFL was an energizing process for them as they no longer have to spend as much time pacing the class with more time freed up to interact with the students while they take ownership of their learning.

Open to learning from others and trying new things without fear or failure, he also enthused his colleagues to use the project management app Trello to maximize productivity. In 2012, he supported his colleague in implementing the Pit Trading Game (after modifying the game design and implementation steps detailed in a journal article for university students) for their C1 classes. Subsequently, he created 3 packages and props like poker cards to allow other colleagues to easily implement the game in their classes and also sat into colleagues’ classes to assist when they attempted it for the first time. In 2014, he popularized the real-time response app, Nearpod in HCI and presented on the possible uses of the app to Economics tutors from other junior colleges at the 2014 Economics Learning Festival and at the 2015 NYGH-HCI Education Conference.

Outside HCI, along with colleagues from Hwa Chong, Innova Junior College and Victoria Junior College, he joined the inaugural MOE Buildathon held in March 2017 and was one of the top 10 teams out of 50 with their idea of a digital feedback app for essay writing. During the final pitch, while his team did not make the top 3, members of GovTech were very interested in furthering his idea. As such, GovTech contracted the company NCSS to build the app and they built a prototype in mid-April 2018.

Gilbert (fourth from left) at the MOE Buildathon

This year, Gilbert presented at a concurrent session at the International Conference for Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference 2018 (ICTLT2018) and also the FlipTech East Coast Conference. The former is a large-scale conference being held in Singapore while the latter is a smaller scale Flipped Learning practitioner-based conference held in New Jersey, USA. He shared that he was happy that he can contribute back to the international education community as the genesis of many of his ideas came from attending conferences like ICTLT in the first place.

Gilbert presenting at the 2018 FlipTech East Coast Conference in New Jersey, United States of America

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