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Education Officer Perspectives: The work behind SLS

Learnings from Jenson (Zhirong) and Angeline (Liyan)

Written based on sharing by Jow Li Yan (Angeline) and Chen Zhirong (Jenson) on 1 May, Labor Day

Participants: Yee Ing Wee, Matthew Lim

Student Learning Space (SLS) is Singapore’s learning management system (SLS) run by Education Technology Division (ETD) .

“The SLS is one of MOE’s key initiatives to transform the learning experiences of Singaporean students through the purposeful use of technology to enable students to engage in different learning modes, including self-directed and collaborative learning. All school leaders, teachers and students in the national school system have access to the SLS.”

SLS was rolled out from 2018. Development started as early as 2016 through an external vendor ufinity with involvement by both Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and the Ministry of Education, primarily by ETD staff.

Understanding the work by SLS cannot be divorced from understanding how SLS works.

So how does ETD work?

ETD “drives the application of technology to support and enhance learning”. Although the organisational structure may not be apparent in the official site, it roughly works like this:

SLS sits in the first branch of the diagram above, under Technologies for Learning (TfL) led by Mrs Angeline Huang.

The SLS office has the following sub-units:

  • Partnership & Integration

  • Ops & Data

  • Design & Development

  • School & HQ Support

  • Marketing & Communications

What qualities might be helpful?

Jenson shared that SLS operates very much like a tech company in terms of work flexibility (some remote work) but also in terms of methodology.

A non-exhaustive list of desired competencies that might be helpful based on the speakers’ sharing:

  • Familiarity with Figma - editor’s note: the String team has been running workshops and do write in to us via email or Discord if you are keen

  • Data/Marketing Analysis

  • Able to use at least 1 AI tool regularly

  • Website management - editors’s note: the static site is built on Isomer by Open Government Product. Being familiar with content management systems (CMS) and version control on Github may be a plus

Apart from SLS office, what are some opportunities to participate in ETD as an education officer?

I have never heard of X labs until Jenson’s sharing but essentially it is a cross functional arm. Previously, Mr Chia Hai Hsiang spoke about the role of ETD X-Labs in EdTech research and important considerations to note when generating research questions (2020) which seems* to have cumulated in projects such as Classrooms of the Future (CoTF).

*Thoughts from the editor, yet to be validated/ confirmed

What is Teacher Work Attachment (TWA+) like with the SLS office?

In Q4 2022, Angeline did her TWA+ in the SLS office and had a glimpse of features in the then upcoming Release #18 (R18): the introduction of Google Intergration allows for more possibilities for engaged learning and collaboration.

One of the outputs of her attachment included a gamification course for Chinese language learners that was featured in the SLS community gallery:

“1 month is too short” - Angeline, on her reflections regarding TWA+ with the SLS team.

How much feedback do you get on the ground? Not just primary school but also other levels regarding UX? (Mathew)

  • Both Angeline and Jenson shared that feedback was omnichannel, collected from various sources including but not limited to HOD ICT briefings, SG LDC comments among other formal and informal channels

Another concern raised by Mathew was how key applications of technology superceded constructive alignment:

Breaking down e-pedagogy - image from Suhaimi’s EduTech Blog

The String team resonates with this concern and recognize the potential pitfall of implementing tech for the sake of it. Tech ultimately is a means to support effective classroom teaching.

If you are an Education Officer interested in contributing to SLS, do consider applying via the next open posting or applying for TWA!