Linear models of scaling as informed by the medical sciences should not be adopted wholesale for education. Education is a contextually nuanced social science. The replication of “gold standards” is possible when context variation is minimal; and as learning and instruction move towards a more student-centered, non-didactic model, student variation and teacher autonomy are key. 21<sup>st</sup> century educational innovations emphasize inquiry- and process- based dialogic learning designs in authentic and embodied contexts. This implies that such “best practices” (gold standards) cannot be scaled up by replicating their established learning designs; but instead, each context would need to cultivate their own nuanced enactment of innovative practices. From a systems’ perspective, each context needs to establish a sufficing standard as far as 21<sup>st</sup> century learning designs are concerned.
Singapore’s education system positions itself as one which is able to coordinate the tripartite relationship between policy makers (Ministry of Education), researchers (National Institute of Education), and practitioners (schools). In this presentation, we depict the journey undertaken by these three entities in terms of the evolving understandings in scaling as a system. Appropriating from the experiences of research projects undertaken in schools both by NIE and the EduLab (a teacher- and school- led initiative of the MOE and NIE), we describe case studies of different educational innovations along a scaling-and-diffusion continuum. Projects that focus largely on explicit knowledge and reified into products lie on the mechanistic end of the continuum, whereas 21<sup>st</sup> century learning designs and innovations are situated on the organic end. From the organic diffusion of innovations’ perspective, the embodiment of tacit understandings of the desired practice is fundamental. In this vein, scaling is fundamentally reconstituted from a linear to non-linear alternative. We attempt to describe the respective roles played by the NIE and MOE, namely: 1) identify, make visible, and understand bottom-up innovations and diffusions, and 2) from a systems’ perspective, create structures which can initiate and support teacher-, school-, and system- led innovations.
<p>David Hung is Associate Dean of the Office of Educational Research and Professor of the Learning Sciences at the National Institute of Education (NIE). He was awarded the Public Administration (Silver) by the President of Singapore in 2013. Prof Hung is also the Director of the Interactive Digital Media initiative at the NIE. In 2004, he created the Learning Sciences Lab, which is a collaborative and synergistic research center at the crossroads of interactive digital media and student-centered learning. Prof Hung is an honorary consultant to the Educational Technology Division, Ministry of Education. </p>
<p>Kwan Yew Meng is an Assistant Director in the Educational Technology Division of the Ministry of Education, Singapore. He oversees innovation projects that look at harnessing innovative ideas from teachers and schools for meaningful teaching and learning with ICT that bring about 21st century learning. His interest as an educator is in communities of practice and teacher reflective practices. He has presented on ICT in education at various international conferences such as International Conference for Computers in Education (ICCE), International Conference on Multimedia and Information and Communication Technologies in Education (m-ICTE) as well as international forums such as Asia-Pacific Ministerial Forum on ICT in Education (AMFIE2010) and Regional Conference on Best Practices in ICT for Education in Central and West Asia Region (2011).</p>
<p>Wu Longkai is a Research Scientist working at Office of Education Research (OER), National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at Learning Sciences Lab (LSL), NIE. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in the area of Learning Sciences and Technologies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. In the past few years, he has been working closely with researchers, school teachers, principals and government officials on the development of sustainable frameworks to translate and scale research innovations into wider classroom practices in the context of Singapore education system. </p>