Technology adoption offers a fascinating opportunity for education to blend tradition and future thinking. All the elements must be finely balanced so that young people can learn new skills and tools while maximising general knowledge, agility and ability to adapt to the curve balls life throws.
“Education comes first, that’s in our bloodstream; we don’t want to market or brand ourselves with buzzwords; although we have all the latest technology, it is more part of the day to day education of young people,” says Sunil Talwar, Deputy Director of Operations at Chinese International School. “The goal is tooling our kids to adapt for the new workforce, we are not sure what the next wave of industries will be, so we focus on their overall development first and foremost,” he adds.
At Shun Tak Fraternal Association Yung Yau College, an emphasis is placed equally on technology supporting education, helping students with research, teamwork, problem-solving and collaboration. As part of their Makers Programme in form one and two, students showcase their inventions and a nurturing environment is created where students can be inspired to work in I&T.
Ally Wong, Development Officer, Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG), says these types of technology can offer students knowledge they couldn’t learn in the traditional classroom. “With this type of education, we are cultivating learning, enhancing hands-on experience and applying that knowledge to different kinds of problems,” she says.
HKFYG are a huge proponent of ‘getting students hands dirty’ by encouraging them to be experimental and try new things. It’s important for them to be observant to society’s problems and adopt a design thinking philosophy in order to build and create solutions. Teachers are there as mentors, allowing young people to take a hands-on approach to learning science, fostering-problem solving, leadership, creativity, collaboration and communication.
For example, using technology such as virtual reality, students would be able to inspect a crime scene and become virtual “forensic scientists” through the solutions created by Hong Kong’s innovative start-ups. It is these moments of inspiration that will most likely to inspire them to pursue careers and be lifelong. Kids can use technology and understand what a job is like through hands-on experience, invaluable to them having ambitions to pursue a career and inspiring them to continuously learn.
As we can see, technology is essential to overall development for students, and can be the great equaliser for those schools that have limited means. “Resources are often limited and one of the things technology has achieved is equality. All students can access the same tools and this is the amazing opportunity technology provides to better students’ lives, regardless of their family background,” says Kenneth Lee, Supervisor (Innovation and Creativity) Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG).