Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that with information readily available, rote learning has to make way for digital literacy.
SINGAPORE: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat has said that with information readily available, rote learning has to make way for digital literacy.
Speaking at the Second International Summit of the Book on Friday, Mr Heng said there is a need to place greater emphasis on critical and inventive thinking.
Whether it is a papyrus, print or the iPad, it seems that books are here to stay.
Professor Tommy Koh, chairman of the Organising Committee of the Second International Summit of the Book, and Ambassador-at-Large, said: “I think the book will endure to the end of time.
“But the form of the book has changed and will change. The container will change, the platform on which we read the book will also change.
“My children, for example, prefer to read the book either on the computer, on the iPad, on the tablet and other electronic forms. I still prefer the printed book. But in one form or another, the book will endure. There can be no human civilisation without books.”
But the question is whether readers are able to discern truths from untruths, especially in an era that is inundated with information.
Mr Heng said: “Some fear that the technologically sophisticated books of the future will dull the mind, as we no longer bother to use our imagination to render words into sounds and images.
“They worry too that we will forget to think for ourselves after we close the book because social media offers such an array of ready-made opinions that we will just pick one off the virtual shelf rather than form our own.
“We need to place greater emphasis on critical and inventive thinking, so that we may go on to imagine and create new insights.
“At the workplace, as the information revolution transforms the nature of work, our ability to move from theory to practice, to apply learning imaginatively in different contexts, and to create new knowledge, will become increasing valuable.”
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