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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Malaysian Smart School Experience: ME Model and FITTINGS Principle

Prof. Dr Tengku Sembok.

The technology of multimedia represents a new era in the revolution of communication in general and in learning and teaching in particular. It has the capability to combine and integrate various media: graphics, text, sound, numerics, and animation which makes it a more meaningful and effective learning and teaching tool. Students generally have difficulty in understanding mathematical concepts because mathematics have not been introduced in a holistic approach. Mathematics has generally been introduced in isolation to the lives of the students as a whole and this makes learning Mathematics an uneventful and meaningless experience. Realizing this problem, there is a need for research into a suitable model for the learning and teaching of Mathematics suitable for schools using multimedia technology. The paper attempts to highlight the conceptual model of ME which is based on the learning and pedagogical approaches deemed suitable for the learning and teaching of Mathematics. The ME model comprises of three main teaching and learning modules, namely, reinforcement, revision, and application. The FITTINGS principle uses six guiding criteria in the designing process of any lesson; they are Flexible, Indirect, Thematic, Technological, Interactive, Navigative, Gaming and Simulative. A prototype of this idea has been developed to prove the viability of the concept. The prototype covers the whole curriculum of Mathematics for Standard One primary school children. As a tutoring tool, ME will not only make it suitable for teachers to use it to enhance their teaching but also more importantly, it can be used by students for individualized and self paced learning suitable to be used for the ‘smart schools’. It is important to mention that the package is developed totally using JAVA: a programming language that makes it possible for the courseware to be placed in the Internet and used by school children not only in Malaysia but by other children around the world round the clock. It is hoped that this tutoring model for the teaching and learning of Mathematics will prove beneficial to both students and teachers alike and serve as a framework for future development of multimedia based tutoring system.

Although ME have not been tested empirically, based on observations and studies made on available educational coursewares in the market, ME can be said to have some strengths above these coursewares and some of these strengths can be detailed out as follows.

The system adopts the indirect method to learning mathematics based on the thematic approach and to make it more meaningful to the students, the national park in Pahang, a state in Malaysia, is used as the adventurous exploratory theme to present the mathematical concepts and problems; the courseware has incorporated interesting and colourful graphics as well as animation to enhance students’ interest on the lessons taught; the system adopts the perpetual navigational approach which helps students use the system more effectively as they are constantly aware where they are in the program; the system is user friendly and is thus easy to use; the use of children’s dialogue in the courseware makes the child feel at ease and is motivated to continue running the program; the interactive approach of the system ensures that the student is actively participating in the learning process; the interactive approach to the exercises also means that students are able to obtain feedback from the system as to whether they are correct or otherwise, immediately; the system is able to show step by step the correct method to solve a certain mathematical problem if he or she goes through the revision module and this can be repeated many times until the topic is fully understood; the modules reinforcement, revision, and application, are unique to this courseware and this caters for all levels of students (the average, slow and gifted learners); the components in the modules: explanation, exploration, and application, are also unique to this system and encourages thinking skills in the students; the courseware can be categorized as a dynamic courseware; and the implementation is done using JAVA which enables the courseware to be placed in the internet for a large audience around the globe.

This multimedia based tutorial package is the first courseware development experience for the researchers in so far as using JAVA is concerned and it is hoped that this tutoring model for the teaching and learning of Mathematics when tested empirically amongst school children will prove to be beneficial to both teachers and students alike and will serve as the framework for future development of multimedia based tutoring system.


Prof. Dr Tengku Sembok  (Malaysia)
Professor in Computer Science
Department of Information Science
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Professor Dr. Tengku Mohd Tengku Sembok has over twenty years experience in various fields of Information Technology and has managed numerous R&D and consultancy projects successfully. He obtained his B.Sc.(Hons) in Computer Science from Brighton Polytechnic in 1977, MS from Iowa University in 1981, and PhD from Glasgow University in 1989. He is currently holding a chair of professor in Computer Science in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and has held several academic posts, among them are Head of Computer Science Department and the Dean of Faculty of Information Science and Technology. Prior joining UKM he was with Malaysian Rubber Institute and Daresbury Nuclear Physics Laboratory (England) as a programmer, and Malaysian Prime Minister’s Department as a system analyst. He sits in various national committees on IT such as Terengganu State Steering Committee on IT, IRPA Steering Committee in Services Sector (MOSTE), and Curriculum Development Committee for Computing Subject (Malaysia Examination Council). Professor Tengku Mohd has involved in MSC Smart School Flagship Application as Project Director in the development of Mathematics courseware for secondary schools. His current research areas are in intelligent information system, information retrieval, multimedia courseware, and knowledge management. He has published over eighty articles in these areas.

  • Smart School,
  • Multimedia Courseware Development,
  • e-learning,
  • Learning Theories

(30 min Conference Paper, English)