Next-level upgrades for school tech
“The GovTech@MOE team challenged ourselves to not be satisfied with the status quo and to re-think and architect the next phase of the Schools Standard ICT Operating Environment (SSOE). In doing so and through the innovative use of technologies, we hope to bring schools’ ICT infrastructure capabilities to the next level to better support current needs, and also enable future Teaching and Learning needs of our Teachers and Students.”
Mr Tan Bee Teck, Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Education
Here’s exciting news if you’re an education and technology buff.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) is progressively transitioning all 360 Government and Government-Aided schools, MOE Language Centres and MOE Kindergartens onto a new ICT infrastructure from next month (August 2017).
The new SSOE 2 (Schools Standard ICT Operating Environment) system will enable MOE to enhance teaching and learning in an increasingly digitalised age.
TechNews spoke to Mr Tan Bee Teck, GovTech’s appointed CIO of MOE, to understand how SSOE 2 will be a game-changer for our schools.
(Editor: You can spot Bee Teck easily in the main team photo above — he’s the guy holding the word, ‘Awesome!’.)
Here are some quick takeaways:
1. Scalable and robust ICT infrastructure for the future
With the proliferation of smart connected devices such as mobile phones and sensors, the scaled-up SSOE 2 can provide connectivity in our public schools for up to 500,000 devices — from desktops, laptops to a hodge-podge of mobile devices — in an environment of better and faster overall network performance.
What this means, in a nutshell: ICT teaching and learning will no longer be limited to the computer labs.
Remember the time when you had to sit inside your school’s computer lab and type away on your desktop? Schools still have computer labs circa 2017, but SSOE 2 will enable pervasive wireless coverage and network connectivity to enableICT lessons to be conducted beyond the staid confines of the computer labs or even classrooms.
Imagine logging on to YouTube to learn science in the school eco-garden using your own personal tablet or mobile device?
All these will be possible really soon!
2. Connectivity is king
Wireless access points will be installed ubiquitously in schools to enable teaching and learning outside the classroom, anytime and anywhere.
This “school-wide wireless” network will provide support for the national electronic examinations systems and other administrative systems, such as those recording attendances.
The wireless network could also be scaled up to support smart campus solutions such as wireless sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) to further enhance teaching and learning in a data-driven Smart Nation.
3. Greater cybersecurity
Cybersecurity is the biggest bugbear facing organisations in this digital age, and schools are sadly not exempted from cyber threats.
In May 2017, the Singapore Government implemented the Internet Surfing Separation programme across the Civil and Public Service.
Unlike the Civil Service, teachers and students in MOE schools need to access the Internet every minute of the working day for resources to deliver quality teaching and enable effective learning.
Multi-tiered firewalls and a network monitoring and management system for cyber threats have been built into the new SSOE 2 to enhance ICT security for our future-ready schools.
4. Creative solutions to manage ICT manpower demands
With the increasing digitisation of schools, there is a corresponding increase in the need for greater manpower support in schools.
Bee Teck and team have to creatively balance this increased demand within the constraints of the limited resources.
The MOE team has carried out process re-engineering and introduced automation to drive efficiency and effectiveness under SSOE 2.
One example is the introduction of mobile apps in the provision of school-based ICT support, which ensures that end-users are able to obtain the relevant ICT support readily in an efficient manner.
Another example: Centralisation of ICT billings under SSOE 2 so as to significantly reduce individual school’s administrative load.
Kudos to Bee Teck and his MOE team, and we look forward to all schools enjoying the benefits of SSOE 2 progressively, by the end of next year!
A quick guide to SSOE 2
The Schools Standard ICT Operating Environment (SSOE) consolidates the management of desktops, messaging and network environment, as well as ICT support for all MOE schools.
MOE will progressively transit all 360 schools to the new and improved SSOE 2 from August 2017 to December 2018.
SSOE 2 will better meet the demands of the ICT landscape of the future, and enhance teaching, learning and assessment with more operationally reliable and efficient ICT infrastructure and services.