香港機械人學院的故事

《校友零距離》: 公大人

Alumni Linkage — OU People

今天推動科技教育之聲高唱入雲,但邱嘉俊(Jacky)卻早於2003年已創辦香港機械人學院,指導中小學生組裝機械人及編寫程式,初探科技領域;這年他正修讀本校學位教師教育文憑(小學)課程。

Technology education may be all the rage nowadays but, even back in 2003, Jacky Yau already founded Robot Institute of Hong Kong. This represented his first foray into the technology frontier, teaching secondary and primary students how to build and programme robots. During the same year, he was studying in the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (Primary) programme at the OUHK.

機械人燃點科普童心

Kindling curiosity about popular science

早年Jacky執教小學時首次接觸機械人套件,深感既好玩亦具學習價值,後來決定卸下安穩的教職創辦自己的機械人學院。初期主要是到中小學開辦興趣班,礙於人手有限,Jacky經常都是獨個兒拿着六盒套件、兩箱物料,從周一至周六不停遊走各校。「當時在公開大學所學的帶領小組學習、課堂管理技巧都用得着;實習課尤其重要,導師觀課後給予的意見,推進了我的教學技巧。」

Back in the days when he was a primary teacher, Jacky got to try his hand at robot construction kits. His interest was piqued and he began to realize the learning value of robotics. Eventually he made the decision to quit his stable teaching job and set up the Robot Institute, which – at the beginning – mainly ran interest classes at primary and secondary schools. Owing to limited manpower, Jacky had to carry six robot construction kits and two boxes of material all by himself, doing the rounds visiting schools from Monday through Saturday. ‘All the techniques for guiding group learning and for class management I had learnt at the OUHK came in handy. Practicum experience was particularly important. Supervisor’s comments after class observation also helped to hone my teaching skills.’​

Jacky一台接一台的獨腳戲,既能啟發學生,亦為學院的科研興趣班定位。年多後學院便設立教學中心開辦課程,招收學生。之後學院不斷拓展,迄今他帶領廿人的團隊,每學期有逾千名學生。其間他在本校完成了工商管理碩士課程,又修畢「教育領導與管理」科,計劃繼續在本校逐步完成教育博士。

His one-man shows served to not only inspire school children but also anchor the Institute’s interest classes around scientific research. Just one year or so later, new programmes were offered to students through its newly-established teaching centre. Going from strength to strength ever since, the Institute now boasts a 20-member team led by Jacky and over 1,000 students each semester. In the meantime, Jacky has completed an MBA and a course about leadership and management in education, with a plan to pursue a doctoral degree in education at the OUHK.

關顧基層學童 開發自家品牌

Building his own brand of nurture for disadvantaged students

十五載經營,學院宛如他的機械人,展示一個個漂亮動作,像學院連續三年舉辦「ROBOFEST機械人比賽」香港區選拔賽,今年並推展至澳門區,年初他更率領獲獎學生在美國的國際賽中勇奪18個獎項。

 

Jacky鼓勵學生參賽積累經驗,擴闊視野。「可惜部分學生礙於旅費而未能成行,失卻交流機會。我明白低收入家庭較難接觸機械人課程,所以去年我成立『兒童科技教育基金』,希望推動普及科技教育。」其實在創校初年,他已留意到一般機械人套件價格高昂,故致力為學生研發優質、價格較外國產品相宜的教材和套件,現時已開發成自家品牌「EDbotic」。

Through one and a half decades of development, like his robots, the Institute has made a series of perfect moves, including organization of ROBOFEST Hong Kong for three years in a row. This year saw the launch of the competition in Macau. Early this year, a team of award-winning students led by him scooped an impressive 18 awards in the World Championship held in the US.

 

Jacky has been encouraging students to participate in competitions to gain experience and broaden their horizons. ‘Pity that some of them have missed the exchange opportunity because they can’t afford the travelling expenses. I understand robotics programmes may be too expensive for low-income families. So last year, I set up the Children’s Technology Education Foundation to promote technology education to the community.’ In fact, shortly after the establishment of his Institute, he already noticed the exorbitant prices for robot construction kits. In a bid to develop high-quality teaching material and kits more affordable than foreign products, he has built his own brand ‘EDbotic’.

科學知識與個人成長

Knowledge of science and personal development

Jacky指出,學生由拼砌物料到編寫程式驅動機械人,須運用科學、技術、工程及數學知識;隨着政府推廣STEM教育,不少學校會把組裝機械人編進常規課程。為支援學校推行科技教育,他開辦教師培訓,又不時與教育局合辦講座,與學界分享經驗。

 

歷年引領學生從趣味方向探索科技,他深信背後有另一層意義:「學生須搜集資料、思考解難,用自己的方法、技術令機械人活動,有時要跟隊員合作,都能鍛練他們處事更成熟」。

As pointed out by Jacky, from assembling the parts to writing programmes to drive robots, students need to apply their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Given the Government’s increasing efforts to promote STEM education, many schools have incorporated robot assembly into their regular curriculum. To support technology education, he has been running training workshops for teachers as well as organizing seminars in collaboration with the Education Bureau to share his experience with academia.

 

Over the years, having guided schoolchildren to explore technology with interest, Jacky has come to believe there is an underlying meaning in the process: ‘Students have to do preparatory research work, use their problem-solving skills, and come up with their own methods to make the robots tick. The opportunity to cooperate with their teammates also facilitates their growth and development.’ 

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