Tuesday, January 5, 2010

There are still ways for our child to keep up with the public school syllabus

If you are a Malaysian like me, being an expatrite residing outside Malaysia and have worries of how your child will adapt to the public school syllabus when you need to head back to Malaysia one day, whether they are able to cope with the UPSR examination... the following are somes ways to keep your child up to date:

A. Smartbees Portal - This is an online educational portal suitable for primary school students from Standard 1 to Standard 6.

Learning Zones
1. e-Revision - comprises of SJKC syllabus guidelines for 5 main subjects: Bahasa Malaysia, English Language, Chinese Language, Science and Mathematics.

2. Q-Bank - as in Question Bank. All questions are categorised in according to the learning topics.

3. e-Radio - to enhance listening reading skill. 弟子规,唐诗, 绕口令,成语故事 etc..

4. Edutainment - enable the child to learn as they play. 

5. e-Magazine - there are two magazines available. Round n' Round for Standard 1 - 3 kids and English Train for Standard 4 - 6 children. They are both in English.

6. UPSR - UPSR exercises to equip children with sufficient knowledge and skill

Cost (as at Dec 2009)
RM238 for 12 months for Standard 1 ~ 6. If you have more than one child, you need only one account for all. Unlike last year, RM120 for 12 months for one selected grade only. Prior to signing up, you can also ask for trial.

How to Apply
- fill up the form via the Internet (website can be found in my blog under "For Kids - Smartbees Self-Learning Tools -for Std 1 ~ 6").

- deposit payment to PUBLIC BANK Account No.: 3985 17 2529 (payable to CONNECTED LEARNING (M) SDN BHD).

- fax in the deposit slip together with your name, contact number and IC number to (603) 9056 4313.

- They will contact you within 1 or 2 working days to confirm receipt of your payment and thereafter will activate your account accordingly via email. 

If you are overseas at the moment, you basically need someone in Malaysia to run this errant for you.

B. Digital Dictionary
There are several brands available today. Not only incorporating the conventional trilingual digital dictionary function, it comes with learning portal as well. 

Apple Tree - http://www.appletree.com.my/
Edu-point - http://my.88db.com/Buy-Sell/Computers-Internet/ad-79720/
Besta - http://www.besta.my/cms/index.php

Apple Tree collaborated with Hup Lik Publishing (合力) whereas Edu-point collaborated with Pelangi Publishing. Besta is slightly different. It focuses on dictionary + encyclopedia instead. 

For primary and secondary school kids, Apple Tree and Edu-point will be more suitable if you are looking for enhancement to the school syllabus. Besta will be of great help for higher level of learning.  

I recently bought an Apple Tree for my daughter. Model AT200C. It costed me RM868. By the way, in case you have an old junk (I mean digital dictionary) at home, any brand in any condition, you can trade it off with Apple Tree for a RM150 discount.  

This little machine is indeed impressive like a mini i-phone - flat, touch-screen, stylus... with trilingual dictionary, picture dictionary for younger kids, calculator, note pad, calendar, currency converter (but you need to key in the conversion rate yourself though) etc.

- In general it is user-friendly.

- They have examination papers for major examinations in Malaysia ie. UPSR, PMR and SPM.

- New contents are downloaded from the Internet as and when it is being updated. 

- Listening and Conversation function are useful tools for improving oral skill.

- The step by step vocabulary learning is efficient and user-friendly.    

- spelling errors;

- translation function for this model AT200C was not good especially for translation from English to Mandarin;

- e-book stories in Bahasa Melayu has English accents and was not read by native speaker. As explained by Apple Tree, the e-book software supports only English and Mandarin medium. I wonder why they still insert Bahasa Melayu stories in there if it can't really support. 

- Exercises and examination papers for Standard 1 ~ 6 are not complete yet pending further updating.    

Apple Tree, Besta and Edu-point have booths in most major shopping centres in Malaysia. Normally you can find Besta in any Popular bookstores and the other brands will always have booths nearby them. Alternatively, you can find the nearest one to you via their website.