“There are more than two billion social network users connected together. There are more than two billion potential teachers from around the world who can share their experience and learn together. Everyone can be your teacher!” – Hong Kong
“Because of our Chinese tradition, it is not easy for teachers in Hong Kong to change from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning,” says Chu Tsz Wing. “With the use of technology in the classroom, we have more choices and opportunities to access knowledge or even contribute to it.”
And Chu has certainly done his share of contributing to educational innovation in Hong Kong, and beyond. As the IT panel head of The Hong Kong Institute of Education Jockey Club Primary School, Chu is responsible for the use of information technology in both school administrative works and students’ learning.
He was nominated as a coach teacher at the 2011 Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum 2011 in Washington, DC and his awards have been many, including the “Innovative Teachers of Hong Kong,” “The Best of the Teachers” in “e-Learning Best Practice 2010 Competition” and the “Microsoft Most Valued Teacher” in 2009 and 2008. He is a proponent of using tablet technology in his classroom, and this approach has garnered much media attention, especially in Hong Kong.
Today, Chu shares his thoughts on using tablet technology in the classroom, the benefits of self-directed learning, and why technology has enhanced collaboration in his students’ daily work.
What has changed as a result of your efforts?
For my students, I observed that they enjoyed learning with technologies. They found learning more entertaining by learning through demonstrations and illustrations in 3-D animation. They have become more motivated and engaged. More interaction and collaboration among students was also noted.
I have actively shared and demonstrated these innovative pedagogies to the community by giving interviews, lesson demonstrations and public sharing sessions on different occasions. Media coverage of the initiatives included radio programs, TV features, magazines and digital newspapers in Hong Kong and the Mainland. My school is already attracting attention and discussion within the IT and education sector. Moreover, being an affiliated primary school of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, my school has the privilege of receiving a lot of visitors interested in primary education locally, nationally and internationally. We are considered to be a “Window School” of Hong Kong primary education. Through presentations and lesson demonstrations, we were able to disseminate best practice in innovative learning and teaching.
How have you applied technology in innovative ways to support your work?
I have initiated several information technology projects in recent months. One of the projects is the “eBag Project”. This project is about using one-to-one digital ink eBag (Tablet PC) with the support of eBooks. In the project, the tablet PC, a pen-based computer, was adopted by both teachers and students as learning tools. The eBags also become students’ “learning companions” as students do their daily learning through eBags both in school and at home. Students of the eBag classes no longer need to bring their textbooks to school because eBooks were installed in their tablet PCs. The eBooks with multimedia, animations and interactive activities are installed in teachers’ and students’ tablet PC to support teaching and learning in four core subjects. In addition, most of the students’ homework is in digital format and submission of homework is done by pressing a button on the keyboard.
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?
Hong Kong has a very strong and well-rounded curriculum and examination system. However, some important skills like communication and creativity are not easily measured though our education system.
What is your country doing right to support education?
The Hong Kong government has invested more than 24 percent, about HK$580 billion, of its annual budget every year.
What conditions must change in your country to better support education?
It must change from a teacher-centered teaching mode to student-centered learning method.
What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?
There are more than two billion social network users connected together, therefore, there are more than two billion potential teachers from around the world who can share their experience and learn together. Everyone can be your teacher!
What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?
New teachers should practice how to “orchestrate” the classroom. They should learn how to manage students to work and learn in their designed learning activities and play a role
in their own learning.
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning?
Sharing ideas and collecting them into social networks should be the trend of learning. To do this, teachers should take advantage of using social networks first!
If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be? Why?
I have high expectations for one of Microsoft’s new products, Surface. I think using a PC environment for students is better than the mobile OS. It is because software in PCs is more mature for educational use.
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About Chu Tsz Wing
Teacher at the Hong Kong Institution of Education Jockey Club Primary School
Birthplace: Hong Kong
Current residence: Hong Kong
Education: BEd(HKIEd), MIT(CUHK)
* Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Primary) (Four-year Full time) Programme [The Hong Kong Institute of Education]
* Master of Arts Programme in Information Technology in Education [The Chinese University of Hong Kong]
Website I check every day: edmodo.com, facebook.com, Gizmodo.com. lifehacker.com
Person who inspires me most: John Dewey (1959-1952), an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer
Favorite childhood memory: I loved to go hiking. When I got lost, I tried to locate where I am. These childhood experiences helped me become a pathfinder in my professional development.
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Greece
When was the last time you laughed? Why? When I taught my students to make games with Kodu, they were so creative that they made some games that no one can win.
There were full of missiles in the screen. It was so amusing to see students’ innovation.
Favorite book: Holy Bible
Favorite music: Jazz, Country Rock
Your favorite quote or motto: “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”– John Dewey (1920s)