Another dot in the blogosphere?

Schools are like “pusat” biscuits

Posted on: November 29, 2014

“Pusat” in Malay means centre. It can also refer to your navel or bellybutton.

DSC_0786 by RahraRussel, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  RahraRussel 


Almost 25 years ago, and while waxing nostalgic on childhood treats, a friend told me that the treats shown above were called pusat biscuits because the conical frosting could be shaped by “inny” bellybuttons.

Recently the Straits Times revealed that pusat biscuits were:

first made by Huntley and Palmer of Reading, Britain in the 1850s. That was just the biscuit bottom. The icing was added in 1910. According to, the biscuits were an experiment with new biscuit technology.

So what do pusat biscuits have in common with schools?

I often share this quote with my audiences:

When the audience members include teachers and educators, I get wry smiles, some laughter, and a few claps because I have pointed out the latently obvious.

Like the pusat biscuits that were “an experiment with new biscuit technology” in the 19th century, schools have also experimented with technology. But they are still stuck with teacher-centred and 19th century strategies. Technology, when used, tends to be a teaching add-on instead of a natural and integrated extension for learning.

It is long past time to walk the 21st century learning talk. We should stop making excuses borne of old school fear. We should start taking calculated risks with technology.

For example, the Finnish will soon favour typing over handwriting. When are we going to catch up or take similar risks for our kids?

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