Meet TinyTap’s Trusted Teachers: Moses Sia
Great educators have the ability to ignite creativity in learners while teaching new concepts. Moses Sia is an expert in this. He shares his inspirations and processes for creating and teaching with TinyTap.
Where are you from?
I was born in Singapore, and have been working in Singapore except for the three years I spent in Indonesia. I was heading a private school there, for a wide range of students from K-12, which was really interesting.
How many years have you been teaching for?
I worked in the public school in Singapore for 15 years. At the end of my 15 years in the public school system, I was a Principal of a primary school. Following that I decided to do what I had been telling people to do, which is to become more innovative and enterprising. I left and set up my own business for 6 years before I had the opportunity to go to Indonesia for three years. Since returning to Singapore I have been running my own business again.
What inspired you to go into education?
It’s the first job that I had and I must say it’s because I had very good teachers when I was a student. I felt that they made a difference and I hoped that I could make the same difference as a teacher as well.
What is something people might not know about you?
One thing that many people who meet me for the first time find unusual is that I have a mustache. It’s not very common for a Chinese guy of my build. And, people are often quite curious as to why I have one.
It started because when I first began teaching I looked very young. In fact, the lecturer I had in teachers’ college said I would have to be a little firmer with students, and if not my students would climb all over me. I thought that the mustache made me look older, because I started off as a highschool teacher. After all these years it’s become a trademark.
How do you use TinyTap in your teaching?
As far as working with teachers, I like to leverage the power of creating that TinyTap allows. There is nothing else out there that is able to help the learner create an interactive game as part of the learning process. That’s something I highlight to teachers, as well as in my own approach to teaching.
Then of course, I’ve been creating a lot. I learn quite a lot from creating and I hope that whoever uses the games I create will also learn from them.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when creating activities for students?
As a young student or as a teacher-creator the perspective and approach are slightly different.
When it comes to students, I think it can be a challenge to think of a suitable TinyTap game they can create. The process should involve learning about the content and not just the technology they are using.
Teachers can meld it into a learning experience that is educational and at the same time fun. As a teacher, thinking of creating as part of the learning process is important.
As a teacher or author creating games, for me it’s important to keep in mind the learning objectives as well as how to exploit the features of TinyTap in a way that makes the interactivity not only fun, but meaningful.
What’s your favourite activity type on TinyTap?
I think that based on the frequency of the features I use, the Sound Board is possibly my favourite feature. Sound board has enough possible combinations of how you can use it. For example, the jump to page feature allows you to create a path through the game.
It’s also easy for the seniors I work with to understand how the game becomes a photo album, as if the narrator is sitting next to you and explaining the different parts of a photo album. It’s fun and easy, and students don’t have to think too much in terms of interactivity.
How do you get inspiration?
This is related to everything I say about creativity, which is the other topic I am very passionate about. And, one of the aspects of creativity is that it comes from immersing deeply into the subject you are interested in. Because I am fascinated by TinyTap, and I am also very passionate about how Chinese can be taught in a more interesting manner, I keep thinking how I can creatively teach Chinese, and ideas come about.
Can you share the process of creating an activity?
When an idea germinates I think about it in my head and I imagine what it might look like. Then for the games I create, most of the time I start with the illustrations. I go about trying to gather the images and then creating the game on TinyTap.
Everything comes together very quickly. The images are easy to make. I can actually put a game together within just a couple of hours because TinyTap is easy to use.
What inspired you to start illustrating?
Frankly, I dare not claim to be an illustrator. I call myself a doodler. I have always enjoyed doodling, although I started off as a Physics and English teacher. So I was not in anyway a very artsy person. When I decided to try out creating more games, I was also seeing how the iPad was getting easier and easier for drawing, and so I looked into apps and experimented. I try different styles and methods, and enjoy experimentation.
Is there anything else you want to share with the TinyTap community?
The main thing I would share with teachers is to not feel intimidated that you have to create something, but think of the creating process as part of the learning. Whether leaving the students to create or creating together with learners, I think those are wonderful ways to start.
There are so many entry points to start using TinyTap. TinyTap is a wonderful platform for creating storybooks as well. So there is a spectrum of so many ways to get into TinyTap for learning.
Explore Moses’ TinyTap games: http://www.tinytap.it/community/profile/pauseability/