Overheard at Asia’s First InfoComm onCampus Event

In June, InfoComm on Campus welcomed close to 90 technology professionals to the University of Hong Kong campus to explore how the new classroom and technology can be optimized and seamlessly integrated into an increasingly dynamic learning environment.

Here is a recap of some of the lessons shared by esteemed speakers who each play a different part but are all at the cutting edge of learning innovation. They include professors, IT and AV directors, curriculum innovators, and instructional environment designers, sharing their experience from across Hong Kong and Australia.

On the expanding role of technology

“Our task as technology leaders is to get academic colleagues to familiarize with technology and have the confidence it will work, every time.” – Antoinette Kelly, Associate Director, Learning Environments, Learning Environment Services, University of Hong Kong

“One of the most common mistakes in education AV design is the tendency to choose technology before figuring out learning goals and space design. This may sound strange coming from an AV consultant but technology can always be altered at a later stage to fit the space and teaching approaches. But changing the space is much harder if not impossible.” – Zane Au, CTS-D, Director, Shen Milsom & Wilke

“Infrastructure and technology are just a start; content is at the heart of instructional design. TELI (Technology-Enhanced Learning Initiatives) is a way to amplify and multiply the impact of learning content beyond the classroom.” – Professor Ricky Kwok, Associate Vice President (Teaching and Learning), University of Hong Kong

“The control user interface determines whether a piece of technology gets used. I typically don’t rely on contractors to design our interfaces because we insist on having one consistent user interface for all of the systems so the teachers only need to learn one regardless of the room they are in. I also like to have a remotely manageable control system so that the service desk can offer quicker support.” – David Shiu, Head, IT Technical Services & AV Technology, ITS Centre, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

On education space flexibility

“We have to think about the different lifecycles in a school project. A building probably has a lifespan of 50 years, furniture gets five to eight years, and the technology may only have three years before it gets replaced by new equipment. It’s critically important to future-proof your space design to sustain the several generations of technology changes.” – Zane Au

“Mobile Computer on Wheels (MoCows) combines functionalities like share screen, webcam, touchscreens, and Bluetooth to allow the instructors to create their own teaching environment. It is an incredibly flexible tool that helps relax the students and facilitate collaboration.” – David Watson, Instructional Design Specialist, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

On the importance of collaboration and teams

“You cannot advance education without working in teams but it costs time and it can be challenging. True collaboration requires team members from different disciplines to be receptive of each other’s priorities and input.” – Dr. Susan Bridges, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (Curriculum Innovation), Faculty of Education and the Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, University of Hong Kong

“I refuse to sign on a new infrastructure project that has no engagement with academics. Because at the end of the day, without engaging end users, we are not going to have a space that will be optimized. If you find yourself in that position, I would say put your brakes on, and have a real think-through.” – Terry Coe, Manager, Teaching Infrastructure Services, University of Western Australia and President, Association for Audiovisual & Education Technology Management (AETM)

“It’s so easy to see why we as technology providers should partner with teachers and students. Just compare a room designed by the building staff alone with one that incorporates end user input. Before you build a room, talk to the teachers and students, watch them, and learn what is needed now and in the future.” – David Shiu

On the future of learning innovation

“When the cell phone becomes part of class instruction, a challenge is to figure out how to ensure technology serves as effective learning tools and not distractions. How do we define what constitutes real learning and not playing?” – Professor Ricky Kwok