MEDIA RELEASE

Dyslexia Association of Singapore launches
its first smart learning centre in Serangoon
Support for dyslexia and specific learning differences (SpLD) goes to north-east of Singapore to cater to significantly rising demand; DAS unveils smart learning transformation plan

SINGAPORE, 31 MAY 2018 –   The Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) today opened its 14th learning centre in Serangoon to expand its capacity for students with dyslexia and other specific learning differences (SpLD). DAS also announced its plans to transform all its learning centres to smart facilities; and a series of smart learning initiatives tapping on educational technologies to enhance learning journeys in the next five years.

Mr Seah Kian Peng, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Adviser to Marine Parade GRC GROs and a Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC graced the opening as the guest-of-honour.

The new centre’s 350-student capacity in its eight classrooms will cater to growing demand for specialist services in the north-east of Singapore, alleviating the waitlist at Bishan Learning Centre and Sengkang Learning Centre. Besides the DAS Main Literacy Programme (MLP), it will also offer Specialised Educational Services programmes including Maths, English Exam Skills, Speech and Language Therapy and Preschool.

Currently, DAS provides support for about 3,500 preschool, primary and secondary school students at its learning centres and teaches in five PAP Community Foundation (PCF) preschool centres. The expansion will allow DAS to help more of the estimated 23,000 students from preschools to secondary schools in Singapore with dyslexia severe enough to warrant intervention.

First smart DAS Learning Centre

The centre will be DAS’ first to move towards paperless, counter-less and cashless. It features an online appointment booking service for parents, a self-help kiosk for parents to conveniently perform online applications and a GIRO-based cashless fee payment system. It is also equipped with an audio & video intercom-based entry and a centralised hotline to improve operational efficiency and reduce manpower cost. DAS will progressively convert all its learning centres into smart centres within the next five years.

Creating learning centres of the future

DAS has begun a multi-prong approach to integrate latest educational technology innovations into its classrooms and curriculum to boost learning outcomes. The plan covers digitalisation of student progress monitoring and assessment systems; as well as self-directed e-learning tools for its staff, including:

  • MAPTrack – A digitalised student progress monitoring system that enables DAS Educational Therapists (EdTs) to conduct biannual curriculum-based assessments for their students in an interactive, in-depth and efficient manner. With this tool, EdTs can make informed and necessary adjustments in their teaching to better address their students’ needs.

Since implementing the system in 2014, DAS has taken off about 1.5 months of in-house psychologists’ man-hours and empowered EdTs to conduct the tests. DAS will be enhancing the system by running the assessments with non-dyslexic children to obtain age-appropriate scores.

  • iStudySmart – To be launched as a trial at the end of 2018, this programme will help post-secondary school students better transition into Institutes of Higher Learning. It harnesses educational technologies to equip learners with planning & organisation, presentation and writing skills.

Besides an online learning module, DAS will also use latest virtual reality and augmented reality technologies into iStudySmart to immerse learners in different environments. The aim is to enhance their learning experience, stimulate their learning interests and build their confidence. For example, students can use feedback obtained virtually on their tone and volume to improve on their presentations.

  • MLP e-learning module – A proprietary self-help learning tool developed by DAS to raise professional standards, service levels and productivity of their EdTs. It provides refresher courses to trainee teachers, experienced teachers and caregivers; and acts as a resource repository to promote exchange of knowledge and teaching materials.

  • Digital Intervention Assessment – DAS has also embarked on a trial to replace laborious paper scoring and evaluation processes with a tablet-based assessment. This will support its psychologists in helping more students go through psycho-educational and school-readiness assessments to investigate difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Web-based Student Management System – Besides managing student enrolment and registration, this online portal will enable parents to track their children’s progress in class anytime. It will be launched in December 2018.

“Today’s students are digital natives. Learning with tablets and other tools have become a part of their learning nature. DAS hopes to employ educational technologies to promote interactive and active learning that could create a lifelong passion for learning, positively influence their behaviour and achieve greater learning outcomes. We are also building up our teaching staff’s competencies with e-learning tools so that they can help our students go further in achieving their potential,” said Mr. Lee Siang, CEO of DAS.

At the opening, DAS also conducted free computerised screening tests for primary school and preschool children who may be at risk of dyslexia; and awareness talks on practical strategies for parents and educators to better support the literacy learning needs of a dyslexic child.

The Serangoon Learning Centre is located at Blk 411 Serangoon Central, Singapore 550411.

For more information about DAS and its programmes, visit www.das.org.sg.