1 November 2016
I told parents and teachers that we cannot teach teenagers the same way we teach university students, for example, feeding them on PowerPoint presentations, and allowing them to research freely or to hand in assignments at their own pace. Why not? Because students at different stages need different training. At secondary schools, perhaps students should be receptive to listening and jotting notes on their own, rather than counting on the passing down of comprehensive notes from teachers like in universities, in addition to class discussion.
The recent STEM education, or STEAM, or STREAM, has sparked a bit of discussion but it stays that way for the better part of the community, unlike in Estonia. The e-learning or electronic textbooks have yet to become the mainstream education mode. Why? Because, at the end of the day, assessments at each turn in Hong Kong are still based on pen and paper. In addition, we adults continue to fail to de-compartmentalize learning; our “this is mine and that is yours” mentality is still strong, hindering us from seeing education as one item. This is definitely a signal for us to catch up. Granted, not everyone can be, or want to be, a scientist or an engineer, but each of us needs to be good at something, professionally or leisurely, and allowing that something to contribute to the development of the society.
There are a handful who do do well, because they think out of the box often enough. Albert Hubo (humanoid robot which looks like Albert Einstein) and Sophia, a highly interactive robot who has excellent verbal communication skills, were introduced in the past 10 years. Sophia looks so much like a human being; the only thing you may frown upon is perhaps: “Your skin looks dry, you need to lotion up, honey.” These two robots, and a handful of others, were created by David Hanson of Hanson Robotics Ltd. David gave a few TED talks on different projects, too. Where did he set up his headquarters, and where does he live with his family?