Getting students hooked on Science

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Cikgu Hailmi: “Students nowadays need something to ‘wow’ them. Using multimedia in teaching and learning can attract them, and also make lessons easier for them to comprehend.”Cikgu Hailmi: “Students nowadays need something to ‘wow’ them. Using multimedia in teaching and learning can attract them, and also make lessons easier for them to comprehend.”

In just two years, Norhailmi Abdul Mutalib received more than eight million hits on his blog www.cikguhailmi.com. That’s a pretty respectable figure that few amateur bloggers or professional websites can aspire to.

Well, what’s in his blog? Science and Chemistry videos that he made and uploaded for his students at SMK Luar Bandar No. 1 in Sibu, Sarawak. Who would have thought that Science could be so popular?

Norhailmi, or better known as Cikgu Hailmi, hit on the secret when he realised that IT is the best way to fire up the interest of young people of the digital generation.

“Students nowadays need something to ‘wow’ them. Using multimedia in teaching and learning can attract them, and also make lessons easier for them to comprehend,” he said.

He said if teachers could give students something ‘new’ in IT, they would capture their attention.

At first, he used IT in a simple way: powerpoint presentations, LCD projectors and showing video clips. Soon, he became more ambitious and used his self-taught skills to create a range of ‘Science Experiment Videos’.

But he is not the ‘star’ of the videos. His students take centrestage to conduct experiments such as testing for starch content in plants. They are also the technical crew, “so they can learn two things at one time: doing science and making film”.

The videos are uploaded onto YouTube, and shared on his blog as well as facebook and Twitter. At first, it was just his students who viewed them to learn their lessons better. But soon, the audience expanded to other students and even teachers.

He has made about 20 educational videos, while his facebook page now has over 11,000 ‘likes’.

For his efforts, Cikgu Hailmi, 33, from Perlis, won the ‘Agent for National Transformation’ Award from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission last year. The award is for those who have created an impact in their communities through the Internet

And he does it all for free. To him, it’s a way to reach out to students as well as to upgrade his own skills as a teacher.

“Students nowadays are more advanced in IT than their teachers, so we need to develop ourselves and be at least the same level as them,” he said.

Cikgu Hailmi is now teaching in Jerlun in Kedah after being transferred from Sibu where he taught for eight years. The Sibu posting was his first, and it changed his life.

cikgu hailmi

“Since it was my first time in Sarawak, I had a lot of things on my mind: a new place, people, my religious practices … but it grew better when I started to know the people and the place,” he said. “I fell in love with everything there!”

Most of his students were Iban from the rural areas, and he felt a heavy responsibility to teach them well.

The use of IT had wrought marvels in the classroom. From passive listeners who barely paid attention, his students became actively involved in class especially in making videos.

“I can say that they improved a lot,” Cikgu Hailmi said, although he did not keep tabs on their academic results.

He said the improvements can be seen in greater class participation and self-confidence, as well as in new IT skills which he hopes will continue to benefit them well into their adulthood.

In 2013 and 2014, his students took the top prize in the National Championship for League of Creative Teens, a video-making competition with more than 7,000 entries from schools around Malaysia.

“Since most of my students live in longhouses and rural places, IT can help expose them to other people and places,” he said. “I hope by using IT, they can have the chance to improve their lives, and walk alongside other people.”

students

Photos courtesy of John Chan


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