On March 18th, 2019, the theme forum of the fourth US-China Smart Education Conference——“Science Education under the Digital Transformation” is jointly hosted by National Engineering Laboratory for Cyberlearning Intelligent Technology (NEL4CIT) and Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU). The educational experts and industry delegates gathered and deeply discussed about the influence of IT development on science education.
Guests of the Forum
Prof. Yonghe Zheng from Beijing Normal University presided over the forum and gave a keynote report. Prof. Zheng introduced the development of science education in China as well as its changes and challenges in the era of digital transformation. He also summarized the new requirements for talent cultivation put forward by the innovative development strategy, the impact of the entrance examination system reform on science education, the challenges brought by unbalanced regional development and the lack of science teachers, etc. Faced up with these problems and challenges, the development of science and technology drives the digital transformation of all aspects of science education in China. Finally, Prof. Zheng pointed out that under the background of digital transformation, we need to explore the innovative practice of deeply integrating science and technology with science education, promoting the development of science education oriented to the future.
Prof. Yonghe Zheng
Prof. Michael Grant from the University of South Carolina introduced different educational scenarios of mobile technology application in science education in the U.S. In response to the related content of STEM education in the newly-issued curriculum standards in the U.S., the use of mobile technology increases the opportunities for students to acquire scientific knowledge and information while learning in scenarios, so that students can acquire information in different scenarios and build knowledge together instead of confining themselves to classroom learning. Various technologies enable students to express their understanding of knowledge in multiple ways, thus deeply processing the knowledge and improving the learning effect. Now personalized learning based on mobile technology also enables students in underdeveloped districts to enjoy more high-quality educational resources.
Prof. Michael Grant
Yan Dong, Professor of BNU, introduced the development of STEM education in China and the challenges for STEM teacher cultivation. In recent years, STEM education has attracted extensive attention form Chinese schools. However, the lack of STEM teachers contradicts the burgeoning demand for STEM education. Aiming at the prominent problems in the field of STEM teacher and teaching in China, Prof. Dong proposed a framework for cultivating STEM teachers, guiding them to design efficient STEM classroom instructional activities with appropriate technologies.
Prof. Yan Dong
Prof. Mina Johnson from Arizona State University introduced the application of AR / VR and games in science education based on her product development experience. Based on psychological research, Prof. Johnson deeply analyzed and elaborated how educational games supported by VR technology improve students’ participation and thus improve their learning performance. She emphasized that VR technology provided students with the opportunities of "presence" and "embodied learning" in their learning process. In this way, students can experience the situation and use their bodies to perceive and learn, so as to understand the scientific concepts better. Based on the embodied cognitive theory and the features of VR technology, Prof. Johnson put forward 17 instructional principles and suggestions for the design of VR education.
Prof. Mina Johnson
Mr. Jingsong Huang, CEO of UBTECH, introduced the practical innovation cases of Chinese science and technology educational enterprises' investment in education market, as well as their technical support for science education. Especially, for the lack of qualified science teachers and STEM teachers in China, UBTECH has cooperated with local educational authorities to establish a regionally-centralized allocation model of science and education resources. That is, the regional government purchases educational resources and services for the schools in the region to share together.
Mr. Jingsong Huang
During the roundtable discussion, the experts and scholars discussed the common challenges and problems faced by the science education in the process of digital transformation in China and the U.S. The experts pointed out that we should reflect on the relationship between technology and science education. We should not only regard technology as a tool to improve science education, but also take science and technology as an indivisible part of science education, so as to maintain the consistency between science education and the development of science and technology. Besides, the experts emphasized that we should pay attention to the timely and scientific evaluation of the effect of technical support for science education, enhance the information literacy of science teachers, so as to create a more effective instructional design of science education in the digital era, as well as enhance the instructional effect by the normalized use of technology.
Ronghuai Huang, Professor of BNU, summarized the forum in the end. He pointed out that in the digital transformation era, we should reflect more on the essence and mechanism of science education, break the boundaries of school and social education, and try to explore an ecosystem of science education that can coordinate with industrial innovation and market demand.