Andy Li is a teacher at the Salesian School in Hong Kong. Students here generally come from lower-income families, and most don’t have regular access to technology. But Li didn’t let that stand in his way. He developed a learning environment – “e-Learning for All”—which uses cloud technology to develop a seamless learning and teaching environment for students and teachers. It ensures Salesian students have access to the latest trends in education, all classrooms use technology, and each student has an equal chance to get the best education. This thinking led to Li’s award as Most Valued Teacher in Hong Kong in 2011.
If you could change one thing about education today, what would it be?
In Hong Kong, the whole education system is base on examination. Students have to train up for examination, which means teachers and students spend most of their time for preparing the exams. It is not “learning” but just “training.” I hope in the future, we can move away from exams for students, and give them more time to “learn.”
Describe the most inspiring day you’ve experienced as an educator.
The first time I taught Scratch in classes. I could not believe how quickly the students learned how to use Scratch to make animations…it only took one hour! In the lesson, I also discover that students are creative, the stories they designed are funny and interesting. When we use Scratch, the classroom is very noisy, but all the noise is meaningful discussion and laughter. I do not need to “teach” but instead spend most of the time in discussions with students, helping them to explore and learn from other students. With Scratch, technology changes the relationships between students and teacher. It is not just a lesson for the students, but an important lesson for me, too.
What have you learned? What advice would you give other teachers?
Do not be afraid to fail or be wrong. E-learning is new and there is no answer or route to the destinations. It’s new for the kids, too – they won’t know if you are doing something right or wrong… so don’t be afraid! There are many solutions to solve the problem, but the most important is that you are willing to try.
What would you change about your system of education to allow for more meaningful learning opportunities?
About Andy Li
Education: Master of education, PGDE (Postgraduate Diploma of Education)
Website I check every day: Facebook, PIL network, Microsoft Technet
Person who inspires me most: My father
Favorite childhood memory: The first time I used “Logo” to design a computer program.
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): work (hopefully going to the Greece Partners in Learning Global Forum), pleasure (Maldives for relaxation)
Favorite book: Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan; Art of War, Sunzi