@Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School
STEM (Education) is a pedagogic and curricular paradigm for educating students in four subject areas — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — in an interdisciplinary manner. This educational initiative not only aims to strengthen students’ ability to integrate and apply knowledge across the “S”, “T”, “E”, “M” disciplines in real-world contexts, but also to nurture their “4C skills” advocated in the 21st century. The 4 “C”s are (a) Creativity and innovation, (b) Critical thinking and problem solving, (c) Communication, as well as (d) Collaboration (http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework). We add a superscript “+” into the acronym (i.e., STEM+) to denote:
- any new integrations of technology-enhanced learning and teaching approaches (e.g., flipped classroom, gamified learning, computer-supported collaborative learning, etc.) into STEM, underpinned with the generic aim of promoting the pedagogic and/or curricular effectiveness; and
- any new educational initiatives grounded on STEM (e.g., STEAM, STREAM, Maker, etc.), underpinned with the generic aim of nurturing students’ “4C” skills.
In collaboration with Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School (http://www.ykh.edu.hk/), we have co-established the first STEM+ Lab in Hong Kong in June 2017. The objectives of the Lab are threefold:
- To develop innovative STEM+ pedagogies and curricula for school education;
- To investigate the effectiveness of the STEM+ pedagogies and curricula through rigorous empirical research;
- To advance the learning theories and teaching practices of STEM+.
An Integrated Virtual Reality Mobile Educational System
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the emerging technologies that everyone talks about in recent years. Apart from the huge waves that these technologies have brought to the recreational industry, researchers are exploring their educational potential.
We believe students benefit a lot from field trips. However, some field trips are costly or even involve dangerous locations that may not be suitable for students to visit. This is the reason why we develop EduVenture® VR.
EduVenture® VR (EV-VR) is an extension of the EduVenture® online outdoor learning platform. By leveraging the 360 video capturing technology, EV-VR offers teachers a user-friendly platform to design and compose interactive VR- and AR-based learning materials (namely VITALS: Virtual Immersive Teleporting Active Learning Space) for their students. Then, each student can use his/her own smart phone (iOS or Android) and a costless VR cardboard to access the VITALS that immerses and guides him/her to pursue a virtual field trip.
An Integrated GPS-supported Mobile Educational System for Outdoor Inquiry Learning
EduVenture® is a learning system with context-awareness that supporting teachers and students to facilitate and conduct outdoor field-trip learning. The system has three components: EduVentureComposer (EV-C), EduVentureExplorer (EV-X), and EduVentureRetriever (EV-R).
With these components, EduVenture® provides a complete solution allowing teachers to design and distribute learning materials, facilitate inquiry-based learning activities, as well as collect students’ work after completing the outdoor field-trip. Supported by the build-in GPS system on mobile devices (such as iPads ™), learning tasks in a certain location will only be triggered when students actually walking through the intended physical area. Although learning spots are prepared by teachers in advance, students can follow their own paths to learn. Such a design is aimed at transforming students into active explorers and stimulating their motivation to learn in the meantime. Overall, EduVenture® addresses various obstacles in current practices of outdoor learning, including challenges in stimulating learning interests, difficulty in catering for diverse learning needs, limitations in the delivery of learning contents and the lack of geographical orientation for students in an outdoor environment.
Chinese Lexicon Project
A database of normed lexical decision performance of two-character Chinese words
Funded by the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong, this project aims at examining how word-level and character-level lexical variables influence skilled readers’ recognition of two-character Chinese compound words. Understanding basic word recognition processes is a critical perquisite for an in-depth investigation of higher-order lexical activities, e.g., reading. Following the procedures adopted in Balota et al.’s (2007) English Lexicon Project, we obtain norms for participants’ lexical decision performance using a large amount of two-character words (in traditional Chinese characters) varying on various lexical variables, e.g., word frequency. In the lexical decision task, one of the gold standards for testing lexical processing models, participants decide whether two characters form a Chinese word, e.g., 朋友 (friend), or a non-word, e.g., 形忌. Words’ mean reaction times and accuracies are analyzed via item-level regression models. The Chinese Lexicon Project will further our knowledge of Chinese word recognition processes and provide the research community with a spreadsheet of lexical variables and normed lexical-decision performance that will make a significant contribution to psycholinguistic research.
Living in History and Culture in Hong Kong and Beijing
How public events, life transitions, and cultural life scripts affect the organization and contents of autobiographical memory
The aim of the project is to investigate how public, cultural, and generational factors influence Chinese people’s organization and contents of autobiographical memories; that is, an individual’s memory about his/her personal life. We examine the mnemonic impact of public events on individuals in order to understand when and why significant historical/public events and autobiographical memory can be intertwined. The Living-in-History effect occurs when people estimate the dates of the autobiographical events by recalling historical facts associated with those events and using them to support their date estimation. We aim to examine whether the Living-in-History effect will be presented in two groups of older adults who are local residents in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively. In addition, we investigate “Chinese cultural life script” in Hong Kong and mainland China. Cultural life script is a set of positive, expected, and culturally important transitional events, each of which is assumed to take place within a certain age range. By comparing the findings obtained in Beijing and in Hong Kong, we can also gain insights for the roles that Chinese culture and Hong Kong sub-culture play in the organization and contents of people’s autobiographical memories. From the perspective of intergenerational education, we are interested in the intergenerational transmissions of public/historical events, family transitions, and cultural life scripts between parents and children and explore a possible method to probe the potential changes of cultural life script between generations.
Flipped Teaching for Excellence in Methodology Training for Teachers of English
This project, which is supported by the Micro-Module Courseware Development Grant (CUHK), aims to produce 8 micro modules that can be used in courses for training preservice and inservice teachers of English. Each module corresponds with one major topic in English language teaching methodology. The micro modules were designed in such a way that on top of the target student groups, parts of each module can also be used in other related courses. For each micro module, a pre-class video was produced. The pre-class video aims to prepare students for the upcoming class session. It provides them with the requisite subject matter knowledge, so that students come to class prepared. A post-viewing quiz was created for each micro module, which students would complete on Blackboard, the university’s learning management system. For each module, a set of in-class activities were designed. These in-classroom activities relate to the content of the pre-class video. Occasionally, the instructor may still have additional subject matter to convey in class, but most of the time, the students can quickly embark on the in-class activities. The in-class activities were designed with two features in mind: (a) they would stimulate deeper, or higher-order thinking; and/or (b) they enable to apply the subject matter learnt from the pre-class video in designing their own teaching.
An Online Game-based CSCL Platform
LearningVillages® (LV) operates in the form of MMORPG (Massively Multi-player Online Role-Play Game) in which each village represents an issue of enquiry. In this virtual world, every student has his/her own avatar to participate collaboratively in inter-school “two-tier” enquiry learning. He/she can create a village, taking the role of chieftain, for initiating an issue-enquiry discussion. In this village, with respect to the issue, any students (villagers) in the LV community can build different types of houses to contribute discussion resources, raise questions, propose hypotheses, delineate arguments, and provide evidence pieces. Further, they can construct different types of roads to interconnect the houses to visualize their in-between relationships in a form of mind-map. This is the first-tier “village-level” discussion. In addition, every house in the village is enterable, functioning as an individual forum to facilitate deeper enquiry into the content discussed inside that particular house. This is the second-tier “house-level” discussion. When the number of quality houses reaches a certain amount, the village will be upgraded by their learning facilitators (usually their teachers). Benefits brought to the students by the upgrade include higher social status conferment for enjoying extra privileges in the virtual world, such as pet keeping, mini-game playing, etc.
Massive Open Online Course
Teacher Professional Development through MOOC
We have developed the very first in-service teacher professional development massive open online course (MOOC) funded by Education Bureau (EDB), aiding primary and secondary school teachers to implement WebQuest. WebQuest is a learner-centric project-based learning approach for facilitating K-12 students to pursue collaborative inquiry learning on the Internet. This MOOC is composed of video-based lecture modules, formative assessment quizzes (each articulated to the end of a module), virtual forums for teacher community building (each facilitated by an online tutor), and summative assessment tasks. In the course, participants can select their own learning track by taking different lecture modules in accordance with their own grade of teaching (primary or secondary) and their own subject of teaching (four key learning areas: English Language, Chinese Language, Mathematics, or Humanities). After passing all formative assessment quizzes and completing all community-building and summative assessment tasks, participants will be each awarded an eCertificate, and six hours of continuing professional development (CPD) by EDB. In addition, inter-school subject-specific teacher communities are built for users to share good teaching practices. Besides EDB, the collaborators of this project include Hong Kong Education City as well as Pukunui (HK).
Work Hard, Play Tough
Farmtasia® is a a virtual game environment that help to develop students’ inquiry skills. It is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Game (MMORPG) with three components, cultivation, horticulture and pasturage. Each student acts as a farm manager who has to run a farmland individually. In order to win the game, students have to formulate various investment and operational strategies to output both high quality and quantity farm products to the market in order to make profit and to earn high reputation. Since the whole simulation environment in Farmtasia 2 was created on the basis of real data, by making decisions in managing their own farms, students actually are gaining knowledge and skills to deal with similar situations in the real world. Besides helping students to gain subject knowledge, the system can be used to train students’ inquiry skills.
Synthetic Phonics Learning Platform
This website introduces synthetic phonics to preservice and inservice ESL teachers. The synthetic approach, which is increasingly adopted by school systems around the world, teaches sound-spelling correspondences directly and explicitly to young children.
Based on QuestGarden, CQuestGarden is designed as a platform combining online authoring tool, resource bank, hosting service and community of professional sharing that make the creation of quality WebQuest more efficiently. Skills of Webpage editing and uploading are no longer prerequisites for designing and hosting WebQuests. Above all, CQuestGarden provides guidelines for instructional design for every module of WebQuests. “c” of cQuestGarden stands for “Chinese”, denoting its aim of facilitating WebQuest implementation in the Chinese communities. Besides helping students to gain subject knowledge, the system can be used to train students’ inquiry skills. In the year 2010, we have designed a set of activities for the secondary school students, and the project is still going on.
A Mobile App for Outdoor Exploratory Learning
EagleEye is a software system integrating the use of GPS receivers and mobile learning devices (e.g. iPad) to facilitate exploratory outdoor learning activities.