Hong Kong primary school teacher Billy Yeung edits a video lesson he recorded in an empty classroom, for his students who have had their classes suspended due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. Photo: AFP

In the face of the potential fourth wave of a pandemic outbreak, the Hong Kong government has announced the closure of kindergartens and junior primary schools, following the mandatory closure of all campuses earlier this year.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, local schools have seen a surge in the adoption of technology. Zoom, Microsoft Teams or game-based learning platform Kahoot have become an essential component of many students’ school life.

“The pandemic has promoted the positive development of education technology and teachers know how to effectively use technologies to improve teaching methods after months of using edtech tools,” Victor Cheng Pat-leung, an executive director of Hong Kong Education City, a company wholly owned by the government, said in a recent interview.

Speaking at a forum, as part of the media briefing of the Learning and Teaching Expo 2020, he added that the industry should work closely with the education sector and understand their most pressing needs amidst the accelerated technology demand.

But educator Jason Pang Ka-wai, STEM coordinator at Notre Dame College, said that one major challenge he faces is that the existing platforms are not fully compatible, and that hinders open data and other cross-platform initiatives. He added that a web-based single sign-on system would be a game-changer for the next phase of development.

Service provider Hillman Tam Wing-kei, Technical Director of Octopus InfoTech Ltd, said that a comprehensive learning management system, which allows educators to develop teaching materials and to conduct e-assessment, could fill the gap.

He stressed that such a system is technically complicated and the industry does not have enough knowledge of end-users’ needs, leading to obstacles to develop a one-size-fits-all solution for educators.

In the face of rapid digital transformation in education, Hong Kong Education City’s Cheng cautioned that schools need to be aware of information security. In another webinar, Cheng said that schools need to redefine information security as many projects and information are no longer just in the schools’ computers, but also in household units. He said it is important for schools to develop risk and crisis management mechanisms.

Cheng said this year’s expo will bring together over 330 experts virtually from eight countries and regions to discuss a wide range of pandemic-related learning and teaching topics.

Also on display will be over 300 exhibition booths featuring new technologies such as artificial intelligence and immersive learning technology, computational learning tools and others.

Jointly organized by Hong Kong Education City (EdCity) and Bailey Communications HK and supported by the Education Bureau, the 11th Learning and Teaching Expo will take place December 9-10 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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(From left) Daniel Lee Kwok-leung, co-founder of Stemhub Holdings Limited; Jason Pang Ka-wai, STEM Coordinator, Notre Dame College; Michael Nip, computer teacher at Diocesan Girls’ School; Helen Meng Mei-ling, Patrick Huen Wing Ming Professor of Systems Engineering & Engineering Management, CUHK; Victor Cheng Pat-leung, Executive Director of EdCity Photo: Asia Times