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Innovative Technologies At Backpack.NET Centre

2 March 2005 - Speech By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Launch of BackPack.NET Centre, National Institute of Education.

Speech By Mr Chan Yeng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore At Launch of BackPack.NET Centre on 2 March 2005, National Institute of Education.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education,
Ms Gerri Elliott, Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft,
Professor Leo Tan, Director, National Institute of Education,
Mr Andy Zupsic, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore,
Special Guests,
Members of the Media,
and Friends,

1. A very good morning to you all. It gives me great pleasure to be here today for the official inauguration of BackPack.NET Centre at the National Institute of Education - a seminal moment that will positively impact the education sector in Singapore, and hopefully, in time to come, overseas.

2. The BackPack.NET, initiative was officially launched in October 2003 with strong support from key partners like MOE and NIE.

3. The project aims to leverage on exciting and innovative technologies to help students realize their full potential by enhancing the learning and teaching processes of students, teachers and the education community - a goal very much in line with IDA's vision for education.

4. Today's opening of the BackPack.NET Centre is a significant milestone for Singapore as the Centre has been designed to bring technology to life in the pedagogical space and it will take education sector into a new era of learning and teaching.

5. Indeed, the Centre's launch will strengthen our nation's position as an ideal digital living lab for the development and test-bedding of infocomm technologies in education. It will reinforce Singapore's position as a member of the world's Top Seven Intelligent Communities - an accolade we received recently.

6. Operating as a think-tank involving Microsoft, IDA, MOE, research institutes, institutes of higher learning and industry partners, the centre will inspire not just the educators and students, but also education solution providers here and abroad.

7. The Centre will model, test and showcase innovative technologies used in digital ink-based applications, Wireless technology, virtual classroom, digital text books and Microsoft Learning Gateway, just to name a few. Specifically it will demonstrate how these technologies can enhance the learning process for both students and teachers of tomorrow.Much of these cannot be achieved without the continued support of our industry partners. At this juncture, I would like to thank the 8 "COTF Live" partners for their kind contributions and for making all this possible!

8. The BackPack.NET Centre will share Best Practices for use of IT in schools, engage collaborators to realize a shared vision, while demonstrating innovative learning concepts, prototypes and applications. I hope that more schools will come to make full use of this centre to turn their innovative ideas into reality!

9. In 2003 & 2004 , we witnessed the implementation and actualisation of BackPack.NET's first two pillars: Pilots & Trials and Developer's Community.

10. Today, I am pleased to note that Catholic High School is the latest school to join the BackPack.NET initiative and I hope that many more schools will soon come on board to participate as well. Feedback from students and teachers have been very positive. Many of the students interviewed have been excited by the way they can now learn, that is, through the use of tablet PCs, digital inking applications and digital textbooks. They are also excited by their ability to take their learning outside the classrooms!

11. This encouraging take-up by the teachers and students have also spurred our independent software developers to continue to develop new tablet PC-based applications.

12. To conclude, it has certainly been an exciting ride so far. With the opening of the BackPack.NET centre, we hope that not only will the teachers and students benefit but our local infocomm industry can also benefit from being a part of this very interesting and exciting journey.

13. Thank you once again for being here, and for being a part of this very exciting announcement.