A blend of traditional teaching and hi-tech tools keeps classroom rapt
Huddled in packed rows in front of a big white touch-screen, a class of Primary Three students at C.C.C. Kei Wa Primary School in Kowloon Tong were glued in rapt attention by what unfolded on screen.
A parade of cartoon figures was followed by a matching game about English vocabulary. Students took turns poking the screen with an electronic pen and, a short while later, the dozen adjectives on the screen had been learned by heart.
Amid all the hullabaloo about e-learning, Kei Wa is one of few local schools that have successfully turned the virtual medium into an effective and economical learning tool. It advocates the use of electronic materials to complement traditional teaching through books.
Using IT as a complementary tool to traditional chalk-and-board teaching, Kei Wa Primary School got around the many problems associated with e-books - such as poor eyesight resulting from prolonged exposure to computer screens and the high cost of the IT infrastructure.
English panel chairwoman Or Yin-man said the e-learning platform had spiced up classroom learning.
'We have been using the school-based learning platform spanning various subjects since 2002,' she said. 'The platform contains learning materials ... videos of English cartoons, pronunciation exercises containing teachers' recordings and games.'
School principal Wong Yin-lay said there was IT training for teachers to acquaint them with e-teaching.
'In the past, there were teachers who voiced worries that IT learning might increase their workloads,' she said. 'But once they familiarised themselves with the medium, they found the new tool offered more teaching opportunities .'
After observing an English class at the school, education undersecretary Kenneth Chen Wei-on agreed proper use of IT could lessen teachers' workloads. 'Instead of preparing all the little cards manually, teachers save a lot of effort with the use of electronic matching games,' he said.
The leader of the working group examining e-learning, Mr Chen said the use of IT in education had gone far since it was first launched in 1998.
However, Mr Chen stressed that schools should implement IT teaching in a step-by-step manner.
School name: C.C.C. Kei Wa Primary School (Kowloon Tong)
Year of establishment: 1964
Number of students: 770
School sponsoring body: The Church of Christ in China
Medium of instruction: Chinese