Hong Kong 1.2

As a group we’ve had a full programme of visits for the past three days. We’ve met with the British Council, Hong Kong University, the Education Bureau and a range of different schools.  We have been warmly welcomed into classes, computer suites, tech lounges and maker spaces.   People are very keen to share what they do and talk about what they hope is next for education in Hong Kong, broadly as well as in their own schools and classes.  Words that we keep hearing are STEM, computational thinking and 21st century skills. It’s interesting because the discussions that we are having are similar to those we would have back in Northern Ireland.  

Questions like:
How do we make sure that the tech is fully and intentionally integrated into the lesson, not just an add on, substitution or shiny new toy?

What are the skills we want pupils to develop?

How can we equip our pupils for a future we can’t imagine yet?

It’s interesting to see so many similarities between what happens in schools in Northern Ireland and schools in Hong Kong. I’ve observed in classrooms this week where Nearpod, iMovie, BookCreator and Kahoot have been used to enhance teaching and learning. It’s the same sorts of things that I do in my own classroom or see colleagues do throughout my school.  It’s very affirming. 

It’s led me to wonder about good practice in a globalised society. 

I wonder if because the world is a much more connected place, good practice is good practice the world over.  

Teachers are increasingly interconnected.  Sharing good practice is on a global scale now with teachers creating PLNs on social media, reading international research, being informed about tech initiatives and trends on a global scale through news, tweets, retweets and blog posts. I know I look with interest at what is considered best practice from educational tech expos from around the world, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. 
If teachers are globally interconnected does that impact on practice, are the gaps closing rapidly between country to county? 

I wonder if the educators who are striving for excellence in ICT are implementing the same things the world over, because they know what is the best that’s out there and push for it.  Thinking of my own practice I follow a number ADEs on twitter, I link in with twitter chats to find out best practice on a global scale, I read online and in the iBooks store about what’s done in other places.  My PLN spans the globe. As a teacher and digital learning leader my practice is informed from what happens in the USA, UAE, Asia, Africa and across the UK, as well as from practice from down the road. 

I suppose what I’m beginning to think is that the teachers who want to push for best practice look beyond their country anyway so rather than see huge differences in pedagogy and practice we only see variations in terms of implementation.  Obviously every school will have its own model of how to do things, own resources, budgets, time constraints and staffing levels. Each school will have a slightly different flavour coming from its ethos and vision. But if a school is engaged and pushing for innovation surely they will take an international perspective in that.   

Perhaps good practice is good practice the world over?

Hong Kong 1.1 – Journeys 

I’m rubbish at waiting for things, I have all the patience in the world for children and people but I really struggle to wait for things. The stretch between finishing exams and getting the results were always a nightmare for me. In someways it seemed like this trip came round very quickly, but in others it seemed like it was taking an age. 

The Northern Irish group met at Belfast City airport to start the long journey to Hong Kong on Saturday afternoon. Crazy to think it would be late Sunday afternoon by the time we arrived. 

I’m writing this on the plane to from Heathrow, I’ll post it when we get wifi. 

Already we’ve all been sharing our journeys in using educational technology and the journeys our schools have been on in developing practice. Sharing ideas, taking about how things work in our schools and passing on tips about how we implement edtech in our settings. There’s been lots of talk about magpieing- troubleshooting problems and getting advice. It’s fantastic to hear about the work that’s happening in other places, St Cecilia’s digital leader programme sounds fantastic! 

I know that the next six days are going to be jam packed, but I’m hoping that there will be lots of time to just chat with each other and share what we do. As well as seeing practice and how things are done, this trip is going to be as much about making connections with other teachers- and not just teachers from overseas.  

International Study Visit 2017 -Hong Kong

In December I applied to go on an international study visit to Hong Kong with the British Council and in January I found out that I had been selected as a participant. It’s such an exciting opportunity, not only to visit another country and culture but to get a real insight into life and education there from visiting schools and meeting with international colleagues. 

 I know a few teachers who have been on these visits before and they all speak very highly of the impact it’s had on their teaching. The Hong Kong trip focuses on the strategic implementation of digital technology, other trips running this year looked at cyber bullying in Canada and newcomer children in Berlin. I can’t wait to see how educational technology is used in a variety of different settings in Hong Kong. We are visiting six schools in four days, meeting with the Education Bureau and two edtech companies.  It looks like we are covering lots of Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories so it should be a great general overview of edtech there. 

 I’m heading away with five other teachers from Northern Ireland, a mix of primary and post primary, senior management and class teachers, country schools and urban schools.  I’m excited to learn from and share with local colleagues as much as the international ones! When we are there we will be linking in with a group from the British Council in Wales, looking at the same focus. It’s been great chatting to some of them already through twitter. 

I’m hoping to update this blog daily when I’m away, as well as tweeting as much as I can (and I’m sure instagramming a LOT!) Fairly certain I’ll walk around with eyes like saucers trying to drink it all in! If you’d like to stay up to date with what the team get up to you can follow the official hashtag #ISV2017 on twitter.  The unofficial hashtag seems to be #teamHK 

Photo Credits: British Council NI