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Teachers Who Touch Lives Through Technology

14 Nov 2008

TN Awards 2008

Mr Yin Jian is one of three winners of the 2008 TN awards who use technology to teach.

You have heard of Linux, but what about Cinux? One is a popular software system, while Cinux is a portal filled with teaching resources for Chinese language. But like Linux, Cinux was born from a passion to make things better.

Meanwhile, a veteran teacher hosts a website that is a treasure trove of Malay language and culture for both pupils and the public. And instead of barring mobile phones from classes, one Tamil language teacher actively encourages her pupils to text message each other - during lesson time!

In their unique ways, three teachers have harnessed the power of information technology to transform the learning experience. In doing so, their efforts have earned the recognition of their peers at the 2008 Teachers Network (TN) awards.

TN Awards 2008

Mr Yin Jian (left) has the support of fellow teachers in developing creative Chinese Language teaching models.

Teaching Chinese with Cinux

Meet Mr Yin Jian, the mind behind Cinux ( “Like Linux, Cinux is free and open,” says the Chinese language teacher at Geylang Methodist Primary School.

With the vision of a “pupil-centred learning environment where learning takes place independently and purposefully.” Mr Yin developed Cinux to help teachers switch from “the traditional method that concentrates on vocabulary, recitation and rote-learning, which is too boring for active children”. Cinux offers a variety of creative teaching models as well as training systems that “help teachers optimise the use of the resources”.

From a tiny team back in 2003, Cinux now involves over 1,000 teachers who both use and contribute teaching resources. Pupils and parents have also welcomed the creative lessons effected by Cinux, and for his efforts, Mr Yin deservedly received a TN Outstanding Resource Teacher (ORT) award.

Not content to rest on his laurels, Mr Yin is now working on 18ºS, a series of Chinese reading materials aimed at promoting an active reading habit. This collection of amusing and interesting stories will “come with recommended activities and worksheets, and fulfil the needs of the school-based curriculum,” promises Mr Yin.

TN Awards 2008

Using popular game shows, Ms Kogi has boosted the results of her pupils.

Are you game for Tamil class?

Everybody loves game shows. Taking a leaf from “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and “American Idol”, Ms Kogilavani Vathumalai has made Tamil language classes a truly engaging experience for her pupils at Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) (ACSP). In ACSP Idol, Ms Vani (as she is known to pupils and colleagues) has turned game shows into teaching tools that have captured her school’s imagination.

“As the majority of my pupils are from English-speaking backgrounds, these games are useful to arouse their interest,” says Ms Vani, a recipient of the 2008 Fellow of TN award. ACSP Idol pits teams in a friendly match where pupils can ring teammates for a helpline or use a 50/50 option to narrow down their choices. Another popular game is a treasure hunt where pupils text message their answers to Ms Vani, who would provide clues to the next station.

The excitement of a competition does wonders to ignite the pupils. “The boys prepared for the quizzes so that they could score more points - this helped them to improve their content knowledge,” reveals Ms Vani. “Many now look forward to lessons, and their exam results are also better.”

What’s more, the games have unearthed a wealth of hidden talents. “The pupils participated by acting, singing, dancing and telling stories,” remarks Ms Vani. “Some are so good they have won prizes at community clubs. I think this is a good confidence booster for pupils with low self-esteem.”

Games aside, Ms Vani also finds time to pen a Zoo series of stories and worksheets for teaching Mother Tongue. “Each book is based on an actual animal,” she says, adding that the books allow parents to “bring their children to the zoo to enjoy the experience of learning.”

TN Awards 2008

Through, Mr Naim shares his adventures in learning.

Giving back to the community

Forty-two years in the profession and still going strong, Mr Mohd Naim Daipi eagerly embraces the power of technology to reach out to people. It’s a gift he has shared with more than 400 fellow Malay language teachers, whom he trained in computers from 1995 to 2001 at a community centre.

For his pupils, there’s never a dull moment. “As much as possible, I add humour to teaching,” says the Griffiths Primary School teacher, who regales his classes with stories from his years of involvement in community work since the 1980s. It helps too that Mr Naim is a published author of several poems, short stories and novels, some of which are also featured resources in Malay language teaching.

Going further to share his passion, Mr Naim launched in 2005 a website ( that showcases an array of Malay language content. Besides highlighting Malay literature and culture, the website features teaching materials and activities, lesson plans, news and even recipes for Malay cakes and biscuits.

“It’s my way of giving back to the community,” says Mr Naim, who is a recipient of the 2008 Fellow of TN and ORT awards. is in turn winning over the community in both Singapore and abroad. Mr Naim recounts that during a recent trip to Penang for a conference, “My counterparts who were attending the same conference told me that they have tapping on my website for ideas and materials to use in their classes!”

Back home, Mr Naim’s efforts were honoured with the 2007 Anugerah Guru Arif Budiman, an award for role model Malay teachers. It’s clear that Mr Naim has touched many lives, for some of his former pupils have joined him to pen Malay language stories for the same Zoo series of Mother Tongue books that fellow TN awardee Ms Vani is involved in. Mr Naim even inspired his team of to develop teaching programmes and activities to complement the books. And with boundless energy, he is already setting forth to work on the next instalment in the series - on the Bird Park!