A group of 8 teachers from Yu Tim attended the iPad Summit and Learning program at St Margaret's Co Ed School in Shum Shui Po. Six of them had some experience of Hong Kong, leading students for excursions during Principal Chang's governance. Two of Them who came from Hubei were first time visitors.
The first impact on them was the English and cantonese environment. The keynote speeches were all in English. The iPad practical sessions were mostly in English and the one on Chinese was in Cantonese. Amazingly, they all said that they were improving on the third day and were able to make out the meaning of the speeches by integrating the presentation graphics and text on the screen, body language and looking at what others were doing. Some asked the trainers to use the language they could handle.
The second impact was the pedagogy. Six out of the eight had hands on learning experience in their learning. Except Leung and Chen who joined the Apple workshops in May in Hong Kong, others never had used iPads for learning before. The concept of students actually using a tool to research on their own, collect data, write stories, draw pictures and create movies and visual images to process, present their learning and share knowledge was new but so enjoyable to them. Learning is not just sitting with back straight listening to teachers talking. Teaching is not just telling students what you know. With the right tools, teaching and learning is interactive and FUN. These lessons were not painful or boring.
The greatest impact to all of us, including me this hongkonger, was the beauty of Hong Kong. After buying the 8 iPad mini, we went from the IFC Apple Shop to Star Ferry to take the cross harbour ferry. The sky was crystal clear, just a few hours after the rain. The picturesque lights of the buildings: China Bank, Mandarin, ICC, and the landmark features smiled at us. "Take a picture of us, they said." Leung and Morning had so many shootings with China bank as background. The cross harbour trip was stunning. Boats, yachts, cruises gliding on the water with lines of colourful lights; it was just like fairy tale. "Why not take out your iPad mini and make a movie?" "Chen jumped and out she took her black mini and started directing. "Hey, where did you come from?" "Do you enjoy your trip in Hong Kong?" Chen became a journalist and started interviewing this group of mainlanders about their impression of Hong Kong. Next, came the views of Hong Kong side from Kowloon. Then we realised that the view here was incredible. Even outside the public toilets of Star Ferry, they had taken hundreds of pictures.
Chairlady of the school council, also chairperson of Chan Yu Tim Charity Trust, Mrs Chan, told us that she volunteered to teach in a village school in a mountainous area. She loved teaching and she was nicknamed "yellow tiger" "Huang Lao Hu" because she was very strict, and demanding on her students. She was assigned to supervise students' boarding and the naughtiest kid submitted to her after sitting up watching her mark exercises until midnight for three evenings. "My mom came to see me. She saw what I was eating and said, 'can you really eat these?'." My mom cried. The conditions then and there were so harsh and yet, I chose to stay on." Lady Chan gave the teachers each $500 pocket money, and encouraged us to persevere and persist, for the education of our next generation.
It was a rewarding dinner, not only pocket money, but the heart and blessings of the leader of the school.
It was a rewarding iPad learning trip, not only the iPad minis, but new horizons of what teaching and learning can be.
It was a rewarding visit to a once separated part of China, not only the beauty, but the prudence and the kindness of all whom we met.
A million thanks to the Apple Education Team - both Hong Kong and China.
My greatest thanks to
friends from Apple Teams
friends from Chinese U Social Work Team
my dearest friend, my first mentee: