INDEX | Foreword | Editorial | About Wah Yan
THE SHIELD > IT EDU IN WYK
  Interview with Mr. Wong Wai Leung
By Kwan Yat Tong, Alvin Leung, Ng Ka Ho, Henry Chan

R: How did the Wah Yan Student Computer Team (SCT) begin?

W: The student team in Wah Yan began with a CD-Shield.

In 1995-96, a F.6 student participated in the election of the Students?Association. One of his goals was to computerize the SA. However, they lost in the annual election. Eventually, they started to work in electronic publishing. A CD-Shield and a website were published with mainly 486 computers, facilities were backward. This organization was the beginning of the SCT.

This organization moved on to the next academic year. Some considered that it should be included in the SA, under the Secretariat. Later, a student, Chan Man Hin proposed the establishment of an independent SCT to explore how computer technology can be applied in Wah Yan. SCT then made suggestions for the SA as well as the school. That is what SCT does at present and the SCT is actually a computer development researcher.

R: Who were the main characters of the SCT?

W: I think they were Chan Man Hin, Chan Hoi Ho and Ho Yue Jin. Around ?6-?7, there were three telephone lines and several accounts, which provided students studying Computer Studies and members of the Computer Club with online service in the Computer Room. However, we found connecting online very difficult because the telephone lines were often being occupied. Later, we discovered that it were the above three boys who occupied the lines. They were in F.2 and F.3. They were able to occupy the lines by removing others from the connection. Around the same time, several alumni of Wah Yan were conducting a research in the Chinese University, helpers were needed. We then recommended those students to them. Unexpectedly, the F2 and F3 boys learnt a lot from the CU students.

On a nice day in the summer of 1997, these guys and I discussed about the development of information technology in Wah Yan. What could we do in Wah Yan? I remember that they used an old machine to build up a Linux server within three days. Every Wah Yan boy would have an account. More than that, they proposed to establish a network in Wah Yan. At first, material was very limited. We had to connect the cables ourselves. The Computer Room and the Art Room were roughly connected by throwing a wire from the second floor to the first floor through windows. The Art Room was then connected to the main staff room with about equipment costing $2000. The Staff room and server room were connected through the network managed by the school. At that moment, we had 20 computers in Computer Room and five to six in Library as a student network.

R: How about the present situation of IT in Wah Yan?

W: The IT in Wah Yan has improved a lot with the help of government's Information Technology Pilot Scheme. Cables in the original network have been replaced by optical fibres. The topology is the same but the transfer speed has been improved. This new network is centered at the server room with six optical fibres extending to other places.

Recently, the school has offered students receiving subsidy with a notebook lending scheme. We found that IT Education may be 'monopolised?by students who can afford a computer. Those having no computers would be outdated in IT Education. This is not fair! The idea of this scheme is very good, but we lack the resources. Therefore, the duration of lending a computer is limited to a month. Through this scheme, perhaps some students can have their first step to information technology. In fact, IT Education could intensify the gap between the rich and the poor. We would like to see all students having the right to do what they like, irrespective of their financial stature. Therefore, the IT lab and the language lab are open to all students. In IT lab, They may do homework, projects, as well as play computer games. I think playing computer games is not bad. I believe that something could be achieved through computer games, although we do not know exactly what that is. One of the benefits is that, a student would not be afraid of a computer. After some time, he would be used to a computer. But a basic principle is that, in school, students using the computers for work should have higher priority for using the computers.

Now, we are investigating to the possibility to introduce wireless online instruments, like Palm. Students could get their notes from the network through the Palm. Also, multiple-choice tests, for example a psychological test during ethics lessons, could be conducted through it. Results could be collected and analyzed immediately. Time could be used in a better way.

R: In the present time, how is IT applied during lessons?

W: First, students can use the computers themselves. They may search for information from the Internet. Second, teachers can make their presentation and use the colourful screen to replace the blackboard. In my opinion, replacing the blackboard is not the main aim. The most important function of IT is to allow students to get information.

The Internet can be considered as an electronic library. Much information could be downloaded on the net. But students need to learn an effective way to search for useful materials. With IT, students can take a more active role in learning. It is an effective way of learning, but its help in examination is very limited unless there are dramatically changes in exam format.

We really hope that everyone can have one computer so that we may apply some new methods of teaching. Now, it can be achieved by having lessons in the IT Lab. As for performing experiments with IT, we are still investigating the possibility.

R: Are there any problems associated with the development of IT in Wah Yan?

W: We have many different problems every day. We encounter problems, we solve them and new problems emerge again. When our students face some problems, they may sometimes ask the others, for example the authors of some Chinese software in Taiwan. The experts are willing to answer questions which are meaningful.

Also, we have to exploit our limited resources in the most effective way. For example, several years ago, 486 computers were sent to the library for students to get online. These computers could only run Window 3.1 but Java was not supported. Later, Chan Hoi Ho found a new solution. We are almost the first to employ the Chinese version of this system. It is still used in computers at the library and the corridor.

Recently, we have been involved in the Sino-American computer war. Two of our servers were cracked by Chinese crackers as a weapon to attack the United States?web site. Our SCT stopped it. There are also problems about security. Students manage our server that has exam materials. They may get access to exam papers through the server. Therefore there is an area managed by teachers and students are not allowed access. Both students and teachers agree that computers should be allowed to be used freely. However, the Education Department suggests us to lock up all computers in property. Recently, we have received some old machines from the Polytechnic University. So, we put these old fashioned computers in corridor. Students can use them to surf the Internet. Through these computers, students can have more contact with IT.

R: What are the benefits of having an IT lab?

W: The IT Lab was built with the help of the IT Pilot Project. In the past, we did not have any classrooms to provide every student with one computer. When designing the Lab, every effort was spent on establishing as many computers as possible. Finally, we decided to remove the teachers?table. The IT lab is a workshop where each student has one computer. Students have opportunities to familiarize themselves with computers. The IT lab is quite different from the Computer Room. In the Computer Room, two students share one machine. One of them could learn nothing if he is passive This explains why we insist every student must have one computer. Students could do what they like. This is the main theme of the IT Lab.

R: How about the Language Lab? What is that?

W: The Language Lab is subsidized by the Quality Education Fund. SCT provided technological advices at help. The Language Lab is a place for learning language. Special software is provided here. Similar to the IT Lab, every student has one computer in the Language Lab. As we have to buy more computers and software licenses, we encountered great financial problems. In order to reduce the cost, we employed a video server solution other than Microsoft Server. The saved capital was then used to buy a film editing machine and other instruments. I believe that it is the first language lab in Hong Kong without a Microsoft Server. The SCT has been invited to share this Linux Solution in the IT Expo 2000 in Convention and Exhibition Centre.

R: Is there any difference between how senior and junior form students use computers?

W: Yes! When someone first touches computers, he probably plays games. We find that more junior form students play games. The most important principle is that those who are working are not affected. We find that, as mentioned before, playing computer games makes students handle the computer more easily. They would not fear their playing machines like Game Boy or Play Station. Similarly, through computer games, they would not be afraid of a computer. Through computer games, they can also learn about the language of computers. So I am not against playing computer games. Some educationalists now talk about 'edutainment? That is combining education and entertainment. For example, students could learn geography by directing urbanization in SimCity. The value of games is now changing.

R: We have talked about the present situation. So, would you please tell us about the future development of IT and SCT in Wah Yan?

W: The development of IT in Wah Yan is very rapid and effective. In the past, the main members of SCT learnt from researchers in Chinese University. They learnt advanced computer knowledge. Their computer skill was even better than ours. I remember that at one calm and quiet night, I sent an e-mail at 3:00am to some students telling them to do a task within a week. At 4:30am, I got a reply with a completed mission. It was very efficient. It was amazing. The development has slowed down.

For the IT Lab, we are testing some servers. Next year (2001-02), the development is focused on WEB TV, making interactive videos and movies for educational purposes. With the advanced technology, during the video, there may be some pop-up windows or it may switch to another video. It may be similar to ' 人 生 交 叉 點? We are doing research to see how to apply this in education and how to present our ideas efficiently. This is one of our directions.

R: Thank you very much for your help.

R: How did the Wah Yan Student Computer Team (SCT) begin?

W: The student team in Wah Yan began with a CD-Shield.

In 1995-96, a F.6 student participated in the election of the Students?Association. One of his goals was to computerize the SA. However, they lost in the annual election. Eventually, they started to work in electronic publishing. A CD-Shield and a website were published with mainly 486 computers, facilities were backward. This organization was the beginning of the SCT.

This organization moved on to the next academic year. Some considered that it should be included in the SA, under the Secretariat. Later, a student, Chan Man Hin proposed the establishment of an independent SCT to explore how computer technology can be applied in Wah Yan. SCT then made suggestions for the SA as well as the school. That is what SCT does at present and the SCT is actually a computer development researcher.

R: Who were the main characters of the SCT?

W: I think they were Chan Man Hin, Chan Hoi Ho and Ho Yue Jin. Around ?6-?7, there were three telephone lines and several accounts, which provided students studying Computer Studies and members of the Computer Club with online service in the Computer Room. However, we found connecting online very difficult because the telephone lines were often being occupied. Later, we discovered that it were the above three boys who occupied the lines. They were in F.2 and F.3. They were able to occupy the lines by removing others from the connection. Around the same time, several alumni of Wah Yan were conducting a research in the Chinese University, helpers were needed. We then recommended those students to them. Unexpectedly, the F2 and F3 boys learnt a lot from the CU students.

On a nice day in the summer of 1997, these guys and I discussed about the development of information technology in Wah Yan. What could we do in Wah Yan? I remember that they used an old machine to build up a Linux server within three days. Every Wah Yan boy would have an account. More than that, they proposed to establish a network in Wah Yan. At first, material was very limited. We had to connect the cables ourselves. The Computer Room and the Art Room were roughly connected by throwing a wire from the second floor to the first floor through windows. The Art Room was then connected to the main staff room with about equipment costing $2000. The Staff room and server room were connected through the network managed by the school. At that moment, we had 20 computers in Computer Room and five to six in Library as a student network.

R: How about the present situation of IT in Wah Yan?

W: The IT in Wah Yan has improved a lot with the help of government's Information Technology Pilot Scheme. Cables in the original network have been replaced by optical fibres. The topology is the same but the transfer speed has been improved. This new network is centered at the server room with six optical fibres extending to other places.

Recently, the school has offered students receiving subsidy with a notebook lending scheme. We found that IT Education may be 'monopolised?by students who can afford a computer. Those having no computers would be outdated in IT Education. This is not fair! The idea of this scheme is very good, but we lack the resources. Therefore, the duration of lending a computer is limited to a month. Through this scheme, perhaps some students can have their first step to information technology. In fact, IT Education could intensify the gap between the rich and the poor. We would like to see all students having the right to do what they like, irrespective of their financial stature. Therefore, the IT lab and the language lab are open to all students. In IT lab, They may do homework, projects, as well as play computer games. I think playing computer games is not bad. I believe that something could be achieved through computer games, although we do not know exactly what that is. One of the benefits is that, a student would not be afraid of a computer. After some time, he would be used to a computer. But a basic principle is that, in school, students using the computers for work should have higher priority for using the computers.

Now, we are investigating to the possibility to introduce wireless online instruments, like Palm. Students could get their notes from the network through the Palm. Also, multiple-choice tests, for example a psychological test during ethics lessons, could be conducted through it. Results could be collected and analyzed immediately. Time could be used in a better way.

R: In the present time, how is IT applied during lessons?

W: First, students can use the computers themselves. They may search for information from the Internet. Second, teachers can make their presentation and use the colourful screen to replace the blackboard. In my opinion, replacing the blackboard is not the main aim. The most important function of IT is to allow students to get information.

The Internet can be considered as an electronic library. Much information could be downloaded on the net. But students need to learn an effective way to search for useful materials. With IT, students can take a more active role in learning. It is an effective way of learning, but its help in examination is very limited unless there are dramatically changes in exam format.

We really hope that everyone can have one computer so that we may apply some new methods of teaching. Now, it can be achieved by having lessons in the IT Lab. As for performing experiments with IT, we are still investigating the possibility.

R: Are there any problems associated with the development of IT in Wah Yan?

W: We have many different problems every day. We encounter problems, we solve them and new problems emerge again. When our students face some problems, they may sometimes ask the others, for example the authors of some Chinese software in Taiwan. The experts are willing to answer questions which are meaningful.

Also, we have to exploit our limited resources in the most effective way. For example, several years ago, 486 computers were sent to the library for students to get online. These computers could only run Window 3.1 but Java was not supported. Later, Chan Hoi Ho found a new solution. We are almost the first to employ the Chinese version of this system. It is still used in computers at the library and the corridor.

Recently, we have been involved in the Sino-American computer war. Two of our servers were cracked by Chinese crackers as a weapon to attack the United States?web site. Our SCT stopped it. There are also problems about security. Students manage our server that has exam materials. They may get access to exam papers through the server. Therefore there is an area managed by teachers and students are not allowed access. Both students and teachers agree that computers should be allowed to be used freely. However, the Education Department suggests us to lock up all computers in property. Recently, we have received some old machines from the Polytechnic University. So, we put these old fashioned computers in corridor. Students can use them to surf the Internet. Through these computers, students can have more contact with IT.

R: What are the benefits of having an IT lab?

W: The IT Lab was built with the help of the IT Pilot Project. In the past, we did not have any classrooms to provide every student with one computer. When designing the Lab, every effort was spent on establishing as many computers as possible. Finally, we decided to remove the teachers?table. The IT lab is a workshop where each student has one computer. Students have opportunities to familiarize themselves with computers. The IT lab is quite different from the Computer Room. In the Computer Room, two students share one machine. One of them could learn nothing if he is passive This explains why we insist every student must have one computer. Students could do what they like. This is the main theme of the IT Lab.

R: How about the Language Lab? What is that?

W: The Language Lab is subsidized by the Quality Education Fund. SCT provided technological advices at help. The Language Lab is a place for learning language. Special software is provided here. Similar to the IT Lab, every student has one computer in the Language Lab. As we have to buy more computers and software licenses, we encountered great financial problems. In order to reduce the cost, we employed a video server solution other than Microsoft Server. The saved capital was then used to buy a film editing machine and other instruments. I believe that it is the first language lab in Hong Kong without a Microsoft Server. The SCT has been invited to share this Linux Solution in the IT Expo 2000 in Convention and Exhibition Centre.

R: Is there any difference between how senior and junior form students use computers?

W: Yes! When someone first touches computers, he probably plays games. We find that more junior form students play games. The most important principle is that those who are working are not affected. We find that, as mentioned before, playing computer games makes students handle the computer more easily. They would not fear their playing machines like Game Boy or Play Station. Similarly, through computer games, they would not be afraid of a computer. Through computer games, they can also learn about the language of computers. So I am not against playing computer games. Some educationalists now talk about 'edutainment? That is combining education and entertainment. For example, students could learn geography by directing urbanization in SimCity. The value of games is now changing.

R: We have talked about the present situation. So, would you please tell us about the future development of IT and SCT in Wah Yan?

W: The development of IT in Wah Yan is very rapid and effective. In the past, the main members of SCT learnt from researchers in Chinese University. They learnt advanced computer knowledge. Their computer skill was even better than ours. I remember that at one calm and quiet night, I sent an e-mail at 3:00am to some students telling them to do a task within a week. At 4:30am, I got a reply with a completed mission. It was very efficient. It was amazing. The development has slowed down.

For the IT Lab, we are testing some servers. Next year (2001-02), the development is focused on WEB TV, making interactive videos and movies for educational purposes. With the advanced technology, during the video, there may be some pop-up windows or it may switch to another video. It may be similar to ' 人 生 交 叉 點? We are doing research to see how to apply this in education and how to present our ideas efficiently. This is one of our directions.

R: Thank you very much for your help.


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