Singapore, 14 March 2012Singapore Zoo is going digital with Education@zoo, a new iPhone application (app) which is a handy education guide that complements one’s zoo visit with rich multimedia contents and interesting facts of animals. The joint effort by Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), Fajar Secondary School and Nanyang Polytechnic even features an Augmented Reality function which shows users the direction and distance to attractions and amenities, and a Learning Journey to learn and test one’s animal knowledge.

Fajar Secondary School approached WRS with the idea early last year as the school wanted to work on an iPhone app project outside of the classroom that would involve the entire Secondary 1 cohort. Education@zoo app is closely linked to the lower secondary science syllabus on ecology in which the students did research to gather data such as the animals’ natural habitat, adaptation, diet, food chain, endangered status and conservation efforts through a problem-based learning (PBL) pedagogical approach.

The students were also exposed to talks on conservation issues and underwent training to equip them with guiding skills as part of the social learning experience.

Nanyang Polytechnic’s School of Information Technology was roped in as Fajar’s partner institution to design and develop the app as they had worked together on other projects to further enhance students’ learning prior to this collaboration.

The project is the first of its kind to have been awarded a Ministry of Education grant that involves a third party. The grant was used to purchase eight iPads and six iPhones for the school to begin their project. It also funded the expertise engaged to develop the app.

App users also have access to an interactive map, visitor information, performances and show timings, enrichment facts and videos of animals and Singapore Zoo’s monthly newsletter, Wildlife Times.

“WRS is always keen to partner with schools to promote conservation education. This initiative empowers the students to contribute to generate conservation awareness for nature conservation. It also provides them with valuable learning and social experiences. Through this creative learning platform, we also hope to inspire increasingly technology-savvy visitors and families to be excited about wildlife and conservation,” said Ms May Lok, Director, Education, WRS.

“The development of the iPhone and iPad app not only increases the students’ motivation to learn science beyond the classroom context but also increases their awareness of conservation and the important role Singapore Zoo plays in it. The students’ learning of Ecology through PBL is authentic and the research that they have done on the different types of animals in the zoo is consolidated and made into a real life application that is useful to both the students and the public,” said Mr Mohamed Faizal, Level Head Science, Fajar Secondary School.

The app was officially launched during the Fajar@Zoo Appmazing Race at Singapore Zoo this morning. Students from Macpherson Primary School whizzed around the wildlife park, scrambling to complete a circuit of stations using this app.

Education@Zoo is the Top #1 featured education app in app store in Mar 2012. iPhone users can download it from the app store. It will be available for at least two years.

A Fajar Secondary student accesses the interactive map function on the Education@Zoo iPhone app, to navigate to the next station during the Fajar@Zoo Appmazing Race. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Students from Fajar Secondary School guide their Macpherson Primary buddies to the correct answers, using the Education@Zoo iPhone app. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Macpherson Primary students engage with the Education@Zoo app while their Fajar Secondary School guides look on. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

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