24 March 2019
To reap the benefits from e-learning, we must combine hardware with the right teaching approach.  Photo: China Daily
To reap the benefits from e-learning, we must combine hardware with the right teaching approach. Photo: China Daily

Teachers also need to think like entrepreneurs

Many have the misperception that only those who want to start their own business should have entrepreneurship, and that those in another line of work like teaching don’t need to bother.

The truth is, we are our own boss. Without entrepreneurship, how can we take control of our future?

Teachers have to stay on top of ever-changing trends rather than just keep repeating what the textbook says. My friend Anita is precisely this type of teacher. Her goal is to keep searching for new teaching methods.

Anita is a researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has moved to Finland and taught in local schools in Helsinki for the purpose of exploring a different education culture.

Anita has always been open to using technology and disrupting education. A couple of years ago she became an Apple Distinguished Educator. She also was one of the first users in Asia of Google’s free education and classroom programs.

Meanwhile, she has continued learning and researching to see if new teaching methods can stand up to rigorous tests and have solid data support.

I was busy developing infrastructure for e-learning when I first met Anita, but infrastructure alone is not enough. Anita is focusing on a new teaching method to best integrate technology into education, which is an indispensable element in developing e-learning.

She is now trying to combine her teaching experience in Finland with the e-learning models we are developing to build something that suits Hong Kong students.

Many teachers are only focusing on the technology aspect of e-learning, such as iPad’s new functions or the use of new gadgets such as 3D printing machines and drones. Meanwhile, to most Hongkongers, e-learning is simply a bunch of jargons such as project learning or STEM. But none of these will bring the real benefits of e-learning.

This quote from Steve Jobs is one of Anita’s favorites: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your guts, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 29

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Information Technology Federation Chairman

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