SIERRA: An Innovation for 21st Century Education
The world of education in Indonesia is facing an interesting challenge to be anticipated. Thousands of islands spread out in its vast area, heterogenous society, and the dynamic economic growth are among the important factors for education practitioners to realize one of the nation’s future goals, which is to enrich the life of the nation.
Meanwhile, this country is also faced with a new challege to compete with other countries in the world in order to improve its stage of life. ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is a condition that must be addressed with high qualifed capability. Each and every individual has no other choice but to equip themselves with knowledge and skills to be able to win the competition in the work field. Basic competences that must be obtained by all individuals in this 21st century are innovative, collaborative, critical thinking and multi-tasking.
The 21st century individuals also need to be able to apply technology in the field of information and communication. It has been stated in the 21st century learning concept that requires learners to master 3 skills; Life and Career Skills, Learning and Innovation Skills, and Information, Media, and Technology Skills.
Mastering the use of information technology, media, and communication or ICT Skills means that students are able to access information effectively and efficiently; to critically evaluate information; and to manage information in order to help solve problems. Students are also expected to be able to analyse information media; and to create appropriate media for communicating. In the future this expertise would be very important for human resources to compete in the work field.
The process of acquiring ICT skills begins with digital learning. After knowing and enjoying the application of digital products in their daily life, students are expected to produce digital contents in various format, such as video, audio, animation, and multimedia. What are the facilities needed to support this digital learning process? Minimun items to be prepared are; internet connection, computer lab, satellite, server and personal computers.
As an archipelago country with over that 270 million of population spread out all over 17,000 islands, Indonesia will find it quite challenging to realize the idea of enriching the life of the nation as well as to practice the 21st century learning concept. Especially whenever it comes to education for remote areas. Obstacles arise from the geographic contours, the unsatisfactory statistical data about technology and internet literacy, to the insufficient ICT facilities provided by the Ministry of Education. Minimum facilities needed to be provided by students to access digital contents are internet connection, computer lab, or personal computers.
An innovation for a better education
A good nation certainly will not back down when facing obstacles. On the contrary, from this point, innovation and creative ideas will arise. A brilliant innovation for education namely SIERRA has been launched. SIERRA or SEAMOLEC Educational Resources for Remote Areas is a product that allow students to learn by accessing learning materials in form of video, audio, and 60,000 contents compiled in an offline site, by using their smartphones or Personal Computer (PC) without using internet connection.
Available contents in SIERRA among others are results from cooperation with Rumah Belajar (PUSTEKKOM), Khan Academy, Biovision, Mathematics Lab, and many more, which can be adapted. SIERRA can be filled with learning materials as needed by schools, teachers, or the institution as user. This will certainly gives distinct advantages from schools/relevant educational institution, as it can indirectly protect students from accessing dangerous sites or pornography contents.
SIERRA comes in as a simple, handy, and easy to carry gadget with the size no larger than a credit card. Not only to assist students in self-learning process, SIERRA allows students to follow online test exercise or computer-based test only with the use of their smartphones. Schools will no longer need to provide PC or computer lab and internet connection. One unit of SIERRA can provide 60,000 offline contents or more that 1000 quizzes for try out test. All can be directly accessed from their gadgets without internet connection and it also saves electricity.
Excel in Remote Areas
Besides used as local server, SIERRA can also be accessed by up to 30 users. This is why it is claimed as innovation for a better education, as it can be a good solution for areas with limited infrastructure facilities and internet connectivity. Other privileges of this device is the use of low wattage, 10-15 Watt, and has storing capacity up to 64Gb which can still be added with external harddisk. Users will only have to provide laptop or tablet, electricity, solar cell or powerbank with 2,2 Watt output power.
SIERRA has been used by SMAN 2 Padalarang which act as reference school in Open High School (SMA Terbuka) Padalarang. This device is chosen as solution to access learning materials without internet, for this school is lacking of internet connectivity. Through SIERRA, teachers could develop digital contents to be stored in the local server of SIERRA when they are connected with internet, which later can be saved in the server of learning venue or Tempat Kegiatan Belajar (TKB). Then these contents are ready to be accessed by students. SIERRA installation in Padalarang is highly recommended based on its highlands topography. During SIERRA trials, recorded a number of 126 students were in Cihampelas learning venue/TKB.
Part of ASEAN Priorities
SIERRA device was officially launched by SEAMEO Regional Open Learning Centre (SEAMOLEC) on April 2016 on the event of 2nd Strategic Dialogue for Education Ministers in Bandung, West Java. This event is an annual meeting among Ministers of Education in Southeast Asia.
As a regional centre focuses in the field of Open and Distance Learning, SEAMOLEC continuously makes effort in making innovation, developing systems and methods of ICT tools in order to provide solutions for education to reach a wider community. As stated in SEAMOLEC motto “Reaching The Unreachable, Making The World Into One World of Learning”.
Currently SEAMOLEC is developing android-based online test method. SEAMOLEC also is also developing wireless access point to be able to attached with mini server in order to save the use of electricity. (Mid/Aln)
Discussion about the use of SIERRA on Advocacy Forum on SEAMEO Priority Areas no. 7: Adopting the 21st Century Curriculum in Bogor, 25-27 June 2016
Participants were trying to access SIERRA contents in one of sessions of Advocacy Forum on SEAMEO Priority Areas no. 7: Adopting the 21st Century Curriculum
The size of SIERRA which is simple and easy to carry
SIERRA installation at Open High School (SMA Terbuka) Padalarang
Students of Open High School (SMA Terbuka) Padalarang were accessing SIERRA
Students at Open High School (SMA Terbuka) Padalarang were listening to explanation from SEAMOLEC Staffs about how to use SIERRA