Imagine this: teaching is no longer confined to the classroom and teachers and students, with equal access to a universal pool of information, can conduct field research on a wide variety of subjects ranging from the city's history to astronomy. This is the dream of Joseph Choi Wai-kit, a teacher at Shak Chung Shan Memorial Catholic Primary School in Tsuen Wan. And his vision of a 'mobile classroom' became a reality when the school launched an electronic schoolbag scheme in 2001. 'The idea is to allow children to learn at all times and in all places,' says Mr Choi. The scheme was first introduced for certain topics in General Studies for Primary Five. The teachers converted lessons, created websites, devised interactive maps and designed games to make learning fun for students. Then teachers and students were able to learn outside the classroom, for instance they could visit the Hong Kong International Airport to interview visitors and then input the survey results instantly into the computer. 'The most important thing is that students can complement their learning on field trips with resources from the internet, to which they have instant access,' says Mr Choi, adding that the school currently has 42 electronic schoolbags which the Primary Five students take turns to use. As one of last year's six newcomers to Microsoft Hong Kong's Innovative Schools programme, a scheme that enables local educators to work with the computer company to introduce technological innovations for education, Shak Chung Shan is also a pioneer in using PDAs as a teaching tool. The school's PDA learning scheme was introduced in Primary Four and Primary Five last year. 'It's about combining 3G mobile phone technology, the internet and lesson materials into a learning experience. In a sense it is an extension of the concept of electronic schoolbag,' says Mr Choi. He cites Tram Go! Go! Go!, an activity the school held last November, as an example. During the activity, students - with a PDA in hand - had to travel from Western District to Causeway Bay along the tram route. When they arrived at a certain point, they received a GPS signal and had to answer a question about the area. Students needed to log on to the internet to gather information to answer the question before proceeding to the next point. 'We were teaching the children about the history of Hong Kong Island, and we knew there were many sites that reflected the early development of the city along the tram lines,' says Mr Choi, adding that the activity was part of the school's General Studies lessons. The school's other IT innovations include collaborating with City University of Hong Kong to create an internet platform where students can practise their English writing and oral skills. Yet Mr Choi says this method of teaching needs to be focused. His goal is to help students acquire the learning skills needed to cope with the ever-changing environment of the 21st century via education complemented by information technology. 'Children need critical and analytical skills to face of all kinds of information and people,' says Mr Choi. 'In the past people thought working in a job for a lifetime was a good thing. Not any more. Today's children may switch jobs 20 to 30 times in the future. They must learn how to face all these changes.'