CUHK “Jockey Club Community Care and STEM in Action Project” provides STEM learning platform for secondary school students
Improving the quality of life of disadvantaged groups through design of smart products
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) held a closing ceremony and achievement sharing session for the “Jockey Club Community Care and STEM in Action Project” (the Project) on 14 October 2023. Officially launched in September 2019, the Project was funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and organised by CUHK’s Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies (CLST), with assistance from the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research at CUHK and Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School.
Students from six participating secondary schools received guidance and assistance from the Project team, schoolteachers, student mentors from CUHK’s Faculty of Engineering, social service organisations and entrepreneurs. They applied STEM knowledge and skills, and unleashed their creativity to develop 21 smart products over the course of four years. Their inventions are aimed at helping elderly and disadvantaged communities overcome difficulties in their daily lives, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
The Project guided students to actively observe people and situations around them, empathise with the needs and difficulties of others, and apply STEM knowledge and skills creatively to solve the everyday problems they witnessed. Students learned how to conceptualise, design, create, improve and promote a product with real-life applications.
Professor Morris Jong Siu-yung, Principal Investigator of the Jockey Club Community Care and STEM in Action Project and Director of CLST, said, “As an educator, I am eager to see students apply their STEM knowledge beyond the classroom and immerse themselves in the community, explore first-hand and experience the challenges faced by vulnerable groups, and provide solutions using creativity and problem-solving abilities. The Jockey Club Community Care and STEM in Action Project was born for this purpose.”
Professor Poon Wai-yin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) of CUHK, further highlighted the Project’s rationale. “This project not only drives innovation and promotes moral education but also cultivates future talents and guides the younger generation to serve society, with the aim of improving the well-being of elderly and disadvantaged communities. It is a signature community engagement project of CUHK, and a significant representation of our educational mission,” she said.
The students’ remarkable creations covered various aspects of life, including clothing, food, housing, transportation and entertainment, with a diverse range of functions and an emphasis on ease of use. Beneficiaries included elderly people, visually impaired individuals, hearing-impaired individuals, wheelchair users, residents of social co-housing, and those living in confined spaces. The team from Carmel Holy Word Secondary School created the Railway Safety Device for the Hearing-impaired, which uses flashing lights to assist hearing-impaired individuals to avoid accidents involving train doors. The team from Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School designed Hale-Ware, and the team from Pentecostal Holiness Church Wing Kwong College designed the Smart Dining Assistant product, both aimed at allowing individuals with limb disabilities or those in other forms of physical need to dine more easily. The 21 products were exhibited in a display area at the ceremony, where the students introduced their features, demonstrated how they work and shared their experiences of building them. (For more product designs, please refer to the Appendix.)
The closing ceremony included two videos, covering a Project review and learning outcomes, in celebration of the students’ innovative thinking and scientific potential, allowing the Guests of Honour and participants to relive the Project’s highlights. Professor Jong and other guests then presented trophies and certificates to the students to acknowledge their outstanding contributions and dedication in developing the products. They also presented certificates of appreciation to the Project collaborators, recognising their unwavering support over the past four years.
In the video, the students expressed special gratitude to the Direction Association for the Handicapped, Hong Kong Blind Union and Silence, which allowed them to directly interact with the products’ targeted beneficiary groups, gaining first-hand insights into their actual needs and receiving feedback to improve product performance. Such first-hand experience cannot be obtained simply by reading news reports or watching videos in a classroom. The students also unanimously commented that after their diverse, rewarding four-year learning journey, they understood that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. They pledged to continue their relentless efforts to help those in need with the aid of technology.
Representatives from the three participating schools gave their thoughts on the Project. They concurred that in the past, STEM classes primarily focused on solving hypothetical problems, with limited opportunities to apply knowledge in the real world. The Project provided them with a rare chance to do so, helping elderly and disadvantaged communities to tackle daily life challenges with the help of technology, while fostering a sense of empathy.
One of the officiating guests, Mr Armstrong Lee, Chairman of Hong Kong Education City, urged the students to carry on the spirit of the Project. “I hope that after today, all students here can continue their commitment to helping others, grow up to be citizens with a sense of kindness and social responsibility, and strengthen the connections within society through engaging in social services, as well as extending care to the community, to make Hong Kong a society filled with love and respect,” he said.
For more details about the Project, please visit this website: https://jc-cc-stem.hk or call 3943 0421.