School gets title of Microsoft Living Lab
Sat, May 29, 2010
The Straits Times


STUDENTS at Ngee Ann Secondary learn in a way that is not the usual cookie cutter style. Instead of listening to lectures or reading from lengthy textbooks, they pose questions to a specially created computer bot, an automated program which answers their questions on physics and literature in a lively and stimulating way.

Imagine 40 students asking the bot 40 different questions, all at once, and getting answers immediately.

The school also makes the students tweet as part of their English summary exercises, with the challenge of staying within the required 140-character limit.

Such creative teaching methods were what got the school the nod fromMr Steve Ballmer, chief executive of software giant Microsoft. The company bestowed upon the school the title of Microsoft Living Lab. Microsoft is also ploughing in money to set up more servers and other infrastructure for the school, to support its large amounts of data being exchanged every day.

Mr Ballmer, as part of his visit to mark Microsoft's 20th anniversary in Singapore, visited the school, chatted with students and took their questions. In recognition of his visit, they created a Steve Ballmer bot, which answered questions about the man himself.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.




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