Activity

Report on ICT-integrated Education in Hong Kong and the CSCL conference

 The 21st century has witnessed various paradigm shifts in how we perceive learning and skills. In a new paradigm, more emphasis is placed on the students’ proactive and collaborative learning, rather than traditional teaching led by teachers. Emphasis is also placed on “higher order thinking skills” which empowers students to do critical thinking and problem solving. On the other hand, with the widespread use of ICT in global society, industrialized nations have been promoting policies to disseminate ICT in the education arena. We believe that these policies are an essential condition for the successful transition of the above-mentioned perception on learning and skills.


 We visited the Center for Information Technology in Education (CITE) and attended the 9th International Conference on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) to investigate policy trends of ICT in education in the world, as well as the latest trends in integrating computers into education in Hong Kong.

 A policy measure to integrate ICT in education in Hong Kong is now in the third stage since 2008. This policy uses Web2.0 as its driving force and marks the beginning of c-learning (Collaborative, Contributory, Creative learning). In 2009, a working group report was submitted on textbooks and e-Learning resources, introducing a vision for a paradigm shift to a “learner-centered approach.” These developments reflect the shift in perception of learning aligned with the integration of ICT in education. According to the plan, digitalized textbooks will be introduced in 20 to 30 primary schools and junior high schools in Hong Kong by 2014. The schedule toward the implementation of digitalized teaching materials and textbooks is at a faster pace in Korea and Singapore. Japan is following a schedule similar to Hong Kong. Together, this could result in a major transformation in classroom learning in Asia by around 2015. 

 The CITE is involved in policy implementations of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as a whole, as well as leading more advanced projects in schools, some of which were presented at the conference.
 We will report on two projects led by the CITE. One is called SC(IL)Tools. This develops tools for the self-assessment of information literacy for science classes using ICT. It is interesting that information literacy is nurtured simultaneously with the teaching of a major subject, instead of teaching it in an independent information class. This is an exemplary case which helps us examine how to redesign the curriculum and assessment in the age of information literacy.

 Another project introduced was the Knowledge Building International Project (KBIP). This engages students from primary schools and junior high schools in Hong Kong, Beijing, Canada, Spain and other nations to take initiatives in collaborative knowledge building. The students utilize “Knowledge Forum,” a piece of educational software, and take part in video-conferencing to communicate with each other. This is a good example of global collaborative learning, leveraging ICT. At the CSCL Conference, students from Hong Kong and Beijing who took part in KBIP made presentations in English on their learning outcomes.

 These projects that we observed convinced us that the implementation of ICT integrated education in Hong Kong is in progress both at a fundamental and more advanced level at the same time. We believe that in Japan, we have a clear need to continue debate and dialogue on how to most effectively introduce changes into the curriculum, teaching materials, assessments, ICT environment and teacher training, in order to successfully rebuild education towards students’ proactive and collaborative learning and nurturing higher order thinking skills.

(Hirotaka Kataoka, CRET Researcher and Reiko Nakata, CRET Researcher)

 

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