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Cambodian Schools To Teach Financial Literacy

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Financial literacy as a school subject to increase students’ knowledge about money will be introduced nationwide through the first phase of the Cambodian School Curriculum Project, with the Ministry of Education collaborating with the National Bank of CambodiaAsian Development Bank, Good Return and the World Education Cambodia.

Financial literacy will be introduced to students in primary schools. KHMER TIMES / CHOR SOKUNTHEA

NBC director general Chea Serey said yesterday that the first step in the project would be developing a national curriculum for schools to teach the subject and added that the central bank and the ministry, together with all stakeholders would work together to develop it.

“Young people today face more challenging financial choices given the rapid socio-economic transformation that the country is undergoing. They need the skills, training and tools to make the right decisions affecting their financial well-being, and also that of their families,” Serey told a technical workshop on education organised by the ministry.

Serey said that the inclusion of financial literacy as a school subject was in the government’s Financial Development Strategy 2016-2025. “The NBC and the Ministry of Education have established a Financial Literacy Working Group, with the support from Good Return, World Education Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank to review the existing formal education curriculum for students in public schools and identify specific areas where financial education could be included,” she added.

“Financial literacy performance is strongly correlated with performance in mathematics and reading.  Students should be helped to make the most of what they learn in subjects taught in compulsory education, which could also be complemented with more specific financial literacy content.”

Mok Sarom, deputy director general of the directorate general of education at the Ministry of Education, said the ministry welcomed the collaboration between the NBC, ADB, Good Return and World Education Cambodia to include financial literacy in the national school curriculum.

“Financial literacy will help young people manage their finances. Young people are now more likely to encounter situations where they need to set their spending priorities, be aware of new types of fraud, know that some items that they want to buy will incur ongoing costs,” he said. “We need them to be financially savvy at a young age and for that reason, we will be starting to teach financial literacy at the primary school level,” he added.

Hiroyuki Aoki, the financial sector specialist at ADB’s Southeast Asia department, said that financial education could be viewed as a capacity-building process over an individual’s lifetime, which results in improved financial literacy and well-being.

“There are significant potential gains to be realised by including financial literacy in the national school curriculum and we will focus on the inclusive financing of the Cambodian School Curriculum Project to promote the subject in schools nationwide,” said Aoki.

posted Apr 29, 2019 by Phirum

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I’m often asked, “What value does Virtual Reality (VR) bring to education?”

To which I typically reply, “Equity.” While most, including my immediate peers, usually squint and ask, “How so?” there is currently a myriad of VR experiences that can bring equity to education where no other tool has been able to.

Research completed at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, led by Professor Sean Reardon, largely addressed the inequities in education that challenge students daily.

“The socioeconomic profile of a district is a powerful predictor of the average test score performance of students in that district,” said Reardon. “Nonetheless, poverty is not destiny: There are districts with similarly low-income student populations where academic performance is higher than others. We can—and should—learn from such places to guide community and school improvement efforts in other communities.”

So, how can VR bring equity to education?

Regarding virtual reality in education, most educators have heard of Google Expeditions by now. At just over three years old, Google Expeditions has paved the way for immersive education in schools. Using mobile VR technology, three degrees of freedom (3DOF), students are guided through a virtual tour. The tour includes teacher resources in the form of discussion points, and the ability for the teacher to control what the students are seeing while the students still have control over the angle and direction of their focus in the 360, VR virtual field trip.

Is this low tech? Sort of. Perhaps that’s why I wasn’t such a huge fan of “virtual field trips” initially. It wasn’t because I’m a hater, it was because I was narrow-minded and enthusiastic about all of the other amazing immersive VR experiences coming out.

However, earlier this year, I had the pleasure of watching a recording of Jeremy Bailenson speaking about his book, Experience on Demand (which is amazing, by the way). He stated four reasons why we should use VR and those were:

  1. It’s impossible
  2. It’s counterproductive
  3. It’s expensive/rare
  4. It’s dangerous

It immediately clicked for me. Depending on the situation, Virtual Reality can add tremendous value and even provide equity where there once was none.

When does VR provide benefits for students?

Say, for example, in your situation, which includes cost and proximity, you have easy access to go to the zoo. In this case, a virtual field trip might not be a worthy use case for VR. Instead, you can physically take a field trip to the zoo. If your situation is such that it’s cost prohibitive, far, etc., then a virtual field trip to a zoo is a worthwhile experience.

Generally speaking, access to a zoo falls largely into the category of funding. If a school felt there was value in taking students to a zoo and money was no object, they could fly a class to their zoo of choice. If the research that Reardon conducted is true, then this lack of funding results in a lack of experiences for students and would likely translate into lower test scores within that school.

What about the impossible?

It’s not possible for us to revisit World War II and speak to Holocaust victims. Yes, there are museums, and there are still some schools who have access to survivors that visit and share their first-hand accounts. But this invaluable experience isn’t something that every school has access to. Programs like New Dimensions in Testimony (NDT) exist to archive and bring Holocaust survivor testimony to people, most importantly schools. This brings equity by creating this experience.

Lastly, explaining the benefits of the counterproductive.

I love the idea of bringing the best of the best to everyone, anywhere, anytime. Programs like Engage and Rumii offer educator-focused collaborative VR learning environments. Imagine a lecture hall where all of the participants and the presenter are in VR. Think back to “Ready Player One,” a futuristic novel set in 2045, where nearly everyone constantly lives in VR. In the book, there is a planet within VR called Ludus, where all of the schools are located.

In the book, Ernest Cline describes in detail what the educational system on Ludus looks like. He describes a flexible and customizable learning environment, one that I think could bring equity to learning, whether you’re connecting from an affluent or impoverished neighbourhood. He describes that teachers can instantly take students on interactive virtual field trips, which provide high levels of immersion translating into a better understanding of the subject.

The counterproductive involves learning a powerful lesson that you wouldn’t want to do out in the real world. For example, seeing the effects climate change up close, or learning about the mistakes of the past by seeing them unfold in front of you. From the example of “Ready Player One,” we can also imagine that students had access to visit historical events in high fidelity and full immersion. Imagine too, the ppossibilityof constructing new outcomes with “artificially intelligent virtual interaction,” an experience that would place you in a historic place and time. You could interact with and examine how different choices might have changed the outcome of history.

Hopefully, you can see why I’m so excited for Virtual Reality in Education.

Dropping into VR provides a real world, immersive experience that links key critical core senses together. When hearing, sight, and touch are linked, the subconscious mind cannot distinguish the experience as fake and thus strong memories are created. This ability to create memories from experiences that are typically impossible is the power that VR yields. So with VR experiences like NDT, virtual field trips to zoos, and collaborative learning environments like Engage and Rumii, we can bring equitable experiences to education that could ultimately provide not just higher test scores, but increased opportunity, knowledge, and most importantly, an inspiration to all students.

+2 votes

The start of a school year means a new seating chart for each classroom—full of students that the teacher likely hasn’t met. Without knowing the students, how does a teacher know where to assign their seats?

This question comes up each summer as teachers strive to create the best learning environment possible. From my experience in the classroom, I’ve found that seating chart choices can be critical to how students engage with one another and the teacher. 

Today, the influx of digital tools and new instructional models means that the traditional classroom settings of “quiet students, talking teacher” may no longer apply. Already, some teachers are letting go of tradition and allowing flexible seating in classrooms to give students freedom to choose where they want to sit. For others, placing students into assigned groups for cooperative learning can produce the optimal learning environment.

As each teacher develops their own style of seating students, their process involves weighing several factors to create their ideal classroom arrangement. But how does a teacher know what’s best for their classroom and which student dependencies should factor into these decisions?

Prep and Plan

The seating chart is an underrated tool that can help turn a good learning environment into a great one.

The lead times for seating chart planning range from the moment the teacher receives the class roll to the first day of class. Some teachers wait until getting to know the students before assigning seats, with open seating in earlier weeks and a solid chart after seeing how students interact, focus, and learn. This reactive approach can work better for teachers who enjoy flexibility and adaptability.

Others take a proactive approach, often by asking previous teachers of those students for their feedback. While this warrants extra legwork at the beginning, polling fellow teachers about their previous students can sometimes help identify when seat placements are beneficial to how an individual student engages in class. 

Consider Preferences

Options for seating arrangement type vary, from row-and-column grids to two-person tables to stadium seating. Some draw inspiration from their favorite popular hangout spots, like Starbucks. (But others warn against turning flexible furniture design into a fad.)

For more traditional layouts—whether in rows or in the form of a semi-circle arrangement—past research suggests that students who sit toward the center tend to participate more in classroom discussions. 

Although a fixed seating chart does make it easier to remember students’ names, a teacher might decide to change up the layout regularly for a variable learning experience, some as often as every day and others about once a month. That’s not to say that change is necessary for everyone. As long as a classroom is functioning harmoniously, a fixed seating chart can remain unchanged throughout the year. If something doesn’t work, then the teacher can adjust until an arrangement sticks.

Other Factors and Dependencies

There’s more to a seating chart than telling a student where to sit, as many other considerations must be taken into account. Learning disabilities, academic performance, and vision problems could necessitate students being placed in the front of the classroom to ensure better learning and higher engagement.

Social considerations and partner compatibility are important to consider because some students work well with others, even if their socialization can be distracting. It’s common for friends to ask to sit together and not unusual for a teacher to separate them to avoid over-socialization. What they might later learn is that the friends complement and challenge each other in a positive way. Being open and malleable as a teacher creates opportunities for students to learn from each other collaboratively.

Clustering students into groups can also lead to learning environments that foster student collaboration. Previous studies conducted by psychologist and John Hopkins research director, Robert Slavin, points to positive outcomes from cooperative learning, in the form of students learning more, enjoying school and the subject, and feeling more successful.

Create a Culture, not a Classroom

It is integral for teachers to find a layout that suits their preference and instructional style, in ways that make them most engaging and effective. But it is also important to create an environment where students can support each other. 

Grouping high level and low level learners together is useful in facilitating peer coaching, and heterogeneous groups can help each other in the learning process. In my experience, this method has been the most effective way to encourage a positive exchange for collective learning in a classroom community.

The seating chart is an underrated tool that can help turn a good learning environment into a great one. While there is no clear model for where to place students, if done correctly, a well-thought-out seating chart fosters an effective classroom environment that allows students to maximize their learning potential.

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