Technology in Hong Kong Schools

We are happy to present today some insight from Iris Qiu on the state of education in Hong Kong and how technology is reshaping the way students are taught. Don’t forget to check out her awesome ShowMes on learning Chinese (like this one on making egg fried rice)!

Iris QiuI am currently working at 3D Avatar School (3DAS). 3DAS is an online education company that uses 3D gaming technology to run live classes. It is a school that is trying challenge the traditional classroom teaching model. Being a high-tech education company, we are willing to try any new tools which can help us to enhance our online offering. And guess what has inspired us so much lately? ShowMe! It is such a useful tool. We plan to use it in following ways:

1. A demo video on our website to show how our classes use our technology platform. It is up already:

2. Free ShowMe videos on our blog:

3. Produce some video lessons as a supplement to our classes. For example, there will be ShowMe videos about Chinese Characters, Pinyin Systems, Synonyms etc. (Under development.)

4. Post videos created by our teachers, so that our clients can choose teachers based on videos they like. (Under development.)

HK Schools Receive Funding

In fact, technology is transforming the way of traditional teaching and learning. In Hong Kong, we (as educators) are not the only fans of technology.

The Hong Kong Education Bureau has been promoted electronic teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools recently. There is a three- year project – School E- Learning Polite Project that has received government funding of HK$ 60 million. True Light Middle School of Hong Kong and its three affiliate schools received about HK$ 2 million from the project fund to buy 96 iPads for English teaching.

In the meantime, the City University of Hong Kong financed itself to buy 400 iPads and iPod Touches for the newly promoted “mobile- learning” scheme.

“Around 400 students from the departments of Asian and International Studies, Biology and Chemistry, Electronic Engineering and Information Systems have enrolled in the scheme. They have been given hundreds of iPad or the iPod Touch for learning. More departments are expected to join the scheme in the new academic year.” (CityU NewsCenter)

New "Mobile-Learning" Scheme

I would say using technology to enhance teaching and learning is a trend in this century. We found that both teachers and students love iPads. This is not only because iPad is portable and has a multi-touch screen, but also because there are so many innovative apps coming out. iPads , ShowMe and many other educational apps have great potential in teaching and learning. We are still on our way to maximize their potential. Finally, I hope under Hong Kong’s high pressure, exam-obsessed education system, technology would bring some fun to the students.


InspireMe Contest Highlights (Pt 2)

We met the first batch of InspireMe talent in last week’s blog post – check it out! Part 2 showcases more of the fantastic contest entries along with the creators behind the lessons. We can’t wait to see what’s coming next as we enter the school year in full-swing!

InspireMe Contestants

Terry Woolard
Watch now! The State of New Jersey

The State of New JerseyTell us about yourself
My name is Terry Woolard and I am the Supervisor of Educational Media and Technology K-12 Online Learning. I hold a Masters Degree in both Curriculum and Instruction as well as Information System Management.

What inspires you?
What inspires me is watching the faces of my students light up when they understand something for the first time, when they realize they are able to achieve, succeed, Be Better. I am happily married and the father of five, four boys 16, 14, 8, and 5; and a girl 6.

Brian Davis
Watch now! Gerrymandering

GerrymanderingTell us about yourself
My name is Brian Davis, and this is my 9th year teaching in Memphis City Schools in innercity Memphis, TN. I taught computer literacy to middle school students for five years, and I am currently teaching U.S. Government to 11th and 12th Graders at Whitehaven High School where I also serve as the school webmaster. I completed the process for National Board Certification this past year, and I am waiting to hear whether or not I passed this December. I love using Showme, because it enables me to provide instruction to my students on their own time at their own pace, allowing me to give them more remediation and different learning activities during classtime that was being used for instruction. The ease of getting the videos to the website is a HUGE plus.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by seeing the faces of my students who dreaded Government because it is boring light up when they see that Government is a fascinating topic when it is taught with enthusiasm and a heavy dose of multimedia and technology. Students tell me all the time that they did not want to take Government and they took it only because it is required for graduation, but that they ended up learning more from this class than any other class because it is interactive. This really excites/inspires me.

James Sutton
Watch now! The bloomtrigger project

The Bloomtrigger ProjectTell us about yourself
My passion is in architecture, design, digital concepts and rainforest conservation. This has led me to launch ‘the bloomtrigger project’ as a revolutionary way for people to protect their own part of the rainforest. To discover more check out Little known facts about me… I’m learning (Brazilian) Portuguese, I keep bees and I’m part bionic (I have a mechanical heart valve).

What inspires you?
Baz Luhrmann “Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.” I agree with Baz Luhrmann on this, I think worrying is pointless. You’re much better spending your energy on thinking up creative solutions for problems rather than worrying about them. This one thing that inspires me why to develop simple, affordable and creative tools to help people to protect rainforest and I think Showme is an excellent example of an empowering educational tool.

Janine Ritter
Watch now! Chain Rule

Chain RuleTell us about yourself
I’m a secondary maths teacher from Brisbane Australia. I was fortunate to attend the ISTE conference this year and this inspired me to produce flip lessons for my math classes. The students view these lessons before my class so I only have to spend a little time at the board and the students have more time to work on questions in class. The students have responded well to the lessons and have told me they have also used them for revision as well.



InspireMe Contest Highlights (Pt 1)

We want to extend a warm thanks to everyone who participated in the InspireMe Contest! We witnessed an incredible amount of talent and we want to highlight some of those fantastic contest entries along with the creators behind the lessons. Of course, there’s still a lot of knowledge to be shared, and we look forward to seeing what’s to come down the pipeline!

InspireMe Contestants

Spencer Leu
Watch now! Compound Interest

Compound Interest ShowMeTell us about yourself
I’m a financial guy (CFP(r) Professional) who enjoys helping people understand personal finance and investing better. I’ve spent over 10 years in the financial services industry and have held roles in service, marketing and sales. My favorite role has always been making financial topics easier to understand and helping people make better financial decisions.

What inspires you?
New concepts in education like the Khan Academy and technology that promotes this type of education like your ShowMe app.

Watch now! Writing a Conclusion

Writing a Conclusion ShowMeTell us about yourself
I am an ESL Instructor at a University in SoCal. I’ve taught ESL overseas, and have taught from pre-k to college level. Because I teach international students from all over the world, at all levels of Second Language Acquisition, my job is full of fun cultural and language challenges! There is never a dull moment.

What inspires you?
My ESL students, of course! They are so brave to come study a new language in a foreign country, so when I make them feel that they can overcome the fear of English, they try very hard to improve their skills. The best ideas for lessons have come from observing them. This quarter I taught English through Social Media and I’ve used ShowMe for many tutorials for students who were absent or needed review. They love it!

Laura Holmgren
Watch now! Stepping Up with ShowMe

Stepping up in ShowMeTell us about yourself
I earned my B.A in English from UC Irvine, a certificate in Web-based Instruction from Simon Frasier University, and a Masters in educational technology from Leslie University. A high school English for twenty-four years in private and independent schools in Southern California, I also coach my school’s fencing team and recently started offering an interdisciplinary, project-based elective course entitled New Media Psychology and Application. In the classroom, I might describe myself as a cross between Jane Eyre and Mary Poppins: a mix of seriousness of purpose and focus with the spirit of play that manifests in the creative use of technology rather than in magic, song, and dance.

What inspires you?
The possibility to make a positive difference in students’ lives if I can engage their interest, spark or fan the desire to learn, and help them surpass their self-imposed limits to achieve personal growth inspires me to give as much to my students as they give to my class. Learning to communicate effectively and, equally important, developing something worthwhile to communicate empowers students to then make positive differences in the world themselves.

Iris Qiu
Watch now! Chinese 上

Shang (Up) in ChineseTell us about yourself
I am currently teaching at 3d Avatar School.  I installed ShowMe when it was still at testing stage.  I did not pay much attention on it at that time.  I was actually inspired by watching my son (7 year old) playing with Showme. He was drawing, talking to himself and laughing. Then  I thought I probably can create some interesting stuff for my students. The first idea came into my mind is about 书房(study room) and 厨房(kitchen) which my students always struggled on. Chinese character 上 is actually my third ShowMe entry. I believe ShowMe has great potential in language teaching.  It is such a great tool for us!



Building an ePortfolio: add a ShowMe to the mix!

I’ve spoken to many educators about how they might use ShowMe as a tool in their classroom and the idea of using them in ePortfolios and ePubs has come up many times. This is a fantastic use case and one that I hope to see more educators adopting. Portfolios on a whole provide an opportunity for reflection, to demonstrate progress, and to exhibit pride in ones work. Pride, I think, is the most important of the three to a student’s long term education. Pride builds confidence, it creates a hunger for learn more, and it encourages growth. It’s something that is missing from a lot of traditional educational opportunities and we need to inject it back.

That said, why do we need ePortfolios? Simple: the internet is forever, paper is not. An ePortfolio can follow a student from grade to grade, it’s not static like a stack of papers or a binder might be, and it can be easily searched with tags or good ol’ command + F. Best yet, it’s available to whoever you like, no matter their location in the world (everyone’s grandma is on the internet now, and she wants to send your work to her best friend). At the same time it will teach students to instill value in their work and direct their own course of study. As a result, they will also learn how to be better digital citizens and navigate media.
I’ve found a few places to host an ePortfolio like eduBlogs and foliospaces, as well as standard services like google sites and WordPress. I’ve yet to see a sleek timeless and simply designed example so if you know of any, I’d love to collect more resources. Also, if your students are including ShowMes on their ePortfolios, it would be great to see some examples!

Team ShowMe creates lessons too!

The team at ShowMe is just as dedicated as you to spreading knowledge. For the past two weeks we’ve gathered in a room here at HQ with our iPads to each create lessons to share with all of you! We’re making this a weekly event so watch out for our new uploads. You can see them first by following Ling, San, Karen and me over on

Hopefully Ling will continue her chinese lessons tonight!

 I’ve discovered San is a music theory expert! 
 And I’m no Martha Stewart but I’m sharing some handy baking tips!

If you’re ever in the area and want a live and captive audience, come grab a slice of pizza at ShowMe HQ and get your knowledge on.


Innovative education, it’s everywhere!

Since our launch, we have seen many thoughtful, informative and innovative lessons uploaded to the site. We continue to be impressed with our community every day! I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few ways ShowMe is being used by our community of educators.

These examples come from Brette in Melbourne, Australia. As stated in her bio, Brette is a “Primary school teacher looking to use ShowMe for student-centered learning”. We’re excited to have her as part of our community! You can follow Brette on twitter @brettelockyer and on her class blog.

Writer’s workshop conferences: This is a great way to help students get feedback from their peers and build their portfolio of writing. I love the idea of students interacting with the iPad as a class and marking up the text.

Reader’s workshop and assessment: Brette let me know that she sent home this type of ShowMe home to parents to let them know where their child was at with their reading level. For the student, this is such a valuable way to remember what they’ve been taught and also a great way to reflect. Awesome to see “chunking” on the ipad!


Lifelong learners: where and how to continue your education

Lifelong Learners

We’re all about creating an engaging learning community here at ShowMe that not only assists students as they grow but is also a resource for life long learners. Our wealth of lessons created by our educators will continue to expand and we hope your mind grows alongside it!


That said, there are many ways for you to engage yourself in learning opportunities. Just yesterday I read on MindShift that Stanford University has launched three free online classes open to anyone and everyone world wide. Instead of students watching a whole lecture online, everyone will be watching a series of 10 minute video clips and answering quiz questions to track their progress. You can send questions to the community and the professors while you watch, the ones voted up as most valuable will be answered first. Welcome to the 21st century! You can read the whole post over on MindShift.

I love that Stanford has created a program for this because it not only gives access to an amazing university but it also reminds us that everyone learns at their own pace, in their own way. I can see unschoolers using this, college students wanting to delve deeper into a subject, or people like me who just like learning everything about anything.

Everyone learns at their own pace, in their own way

There are several other organizations that make it very easy to continue growing your mind

  • TeachStreet: Easily search your city for already existing classes being offered in a whole host of areas. Yoga, Cooking or even private lessons on the banjo–so many opportunities!
  • Udemy: This is the “Academy of You” and allows anyone to create and publish their own online course. This site is great for individuals who need to learn on their own time.
  • Skillshare: Skillshare is not only focused on getting you to “learn anything from anyone” but also the large social aspect to learning as well. The best Skillshare classes where you can learn something and make new friends!

We would love to hear more ways that you are growing your own learning community!


Featured User #3: Meet Pedro A Tamayo

Featured User - Pedro A TamayoMeet Pedro A Tamayo, an economics professor from Madrid. Learn about basic economics concepts in Spanish! ShowMe has truly gone global 🙂

Visit Pedro’s awesome ShowMe Portfolio:

Keep up with Pedro through Twitter, Facebook, Blog

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I teach Economics at the Spanish distance University (UNED), to students of different areas like Social Work, Law, and Public Management. My teaching activity is fully based on e-learning, that’s why I try to select the best tools to develop content for my students. When not working, I like to read novels, watch movies, and try new tech gadgets.

How do you currently use ShowMe?
I’m trying ShowMe as a tool to be used massively next course into an Economics teaching & learning open community, Facebook based, we are designing. Its simplicity to use and to embed, with its powerful explaining capabilities, make it perfect to review complex ideas and to show graphical explanations of economics concepts. And so we will contribute to enrich the open community of ShowMe.

Do you have any advice for someone new to creating a ShowMe lesson?
Try to make it simple, as if you were using a piece of paper to explain a single idea or concept. And make it short, a five minutes recording as much.

What’s the coolest ShowMe you’ve seen (aside from your own, of course)?
I think all ShowMe lessons are cool because each of them has something to explain. I value very much the power of simplicity when explaining something, as if you were in front of a whiteboard into a classroom. If I have to choose someone, I like very much those recorded by kids, because they show a great creativity when explaining something to others or to themself, much more creativity than adults.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges teachers face?
To engage students. It’s a challenge that we can afford using properly new tools, and new approaches, competing with the informal learning they have access to.

Where do you see education technology headed?
I think that education technology and its future development is headed to foster open learning and teaching, and to change the places where we teach in. Learning is no longer only an activity closed into bricks schools or universities, and there are very interesting movements in that way, as the Flipping the Classrom experiences are showing.


Featured ShowMes: 8/12

Multiplying integers: Yvette shares a really fun and creative way to multiply integers. We love her way of showing us how to remember which sign a number takes when multiplied. Thanks Yvette!

Indo-European language tree: Blaine created a great explanation for his class about the origins of European languages. This is an awesome example of creating a guided example for students that they can study on their own time.



Making the flip

As mentioned yesterday, there was a conversation bubbling from the overflow of #edchat about flipped classrooms. Many great resources were shared and we thought it would be helpful to post them all here!

The flipped classroom (or #flipclass on twitter) is a movement started by Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams, two high school teachers in Colorado. However a similar method of teaching, named the Thayer Method, was pioneered in the early 19th century at West Point. The idea is that at home, students watch videos, lectures, demonstrations created by teachers which saves class time for discussion, labs, and activity. Thanks @ccassinelli for this definition!

A great video explaining how a flipped class works and why it might work for you!

So, where do you start you ask? Right here! First, Jon and Sam cover helpful information about beginning the process of flipping your classroom. There is also the Flipped Class Network, a social network for flip classroom teachers, or check out Principal Greg Green’s blog on how they are flipping their Michigan high school. For essential resources across the internet, Jerry Blumengarten has got you covered on his flip class site.

How do you plan on using ShowMe in your class to help you make the flip? We’d love to hear and see examples!