Dr. Sean McMinn, Director @ HKUST Center for Education Innovation

Navigating the Path to Lifelong Learning

2 minute read ~ #lifelonglearning ~ #innovation

On the left is Dr McMinn's favorite meme from an assignment he gave his Digital Literacy students. It's a simple visual that repurposes a famous photograph but perfectly encapsulates our education system today. We live in a system that fosters a mindset of grades over learning and one that Dr McMinn hopes to change.

Technology is the Catalyst for Change

With the emergence of generative AI and other new technologies, Dr McMinn aims to use these tools to push educators to rethink learning. He believes that the data generated from this technology can be beneficial for the learning process. It can allow educators to identify gaps in knowledge, gain real-time insights that identify student needs or even predict if a student is at risk of dropping out. Data can also create organizational changes and make schools reevaluate their recruitment process and the support they provide outside the classroom.

Learning Through Play

One significant aspect Dr McMinn believes is missing from Hong Kong's education system is play. Through play, students naturally develop and apply critical thinking skills, creativity, negotiation and problem-solving. He specifically highlights the learning potential in video games, where players have a task, make an attempt, reflect on what went wrong and try again - "this is a scaffolding for learning".

Motivating Students without Grades

With a system hyperfocused on the final grade, how can we transition out of this mindset while still keeping students motivated to learn? Dr McMinn highlights the importance of teaching topics with real purpose and real-world applications. These topics should be relevant and exhibit near and far transfers of knowledge. A near trasnfer means that the topic is relevant within the class. A far transfer is that the same topic is applicable in other contexts outside of the classroom. But more importantly, educators need to be transparent with their students about these efforts so that they can understand the rationale behind why they are learning such things.

Dr McMinn says that innovation is not invention but enhancement, and he is on a mission to enhance our education system. He urges all of us to listen with empathy, exercise patience, and collaborate with others to rethink how we learn.

  • Director @ HKUST Center for Education Innovation
  • Bachelor's Degree, English Literature, Carleton University
  • Master's Degree, English Literature, Carleton University
  • Master's Degree, Educational Technology, UBC
  • PhD, E-Research and Technology Enhanced Learning, Lancaster University
  • Fun Fact: Sean's favorite holiday is Canadian Thanksgiving!

Connect with Sean!

Lightning Round ⚡️: Fast Questions with Even Faster Answers

A Myth about Education

Favorite Quote

Best Decision

Most Important Question to Ask

One size fits all

"And of course you don't become if you only say what you would have done." - Steal My Sunshine

Going back to school and changing my career

What don't I know?

Student Reflections on Facebook

Thank you Dr. Sean McMinn for sharing. Part of the most connecting part of the sharing was actually the fact that “I was not a good student back in those days”, yet you still ended up becoming a person who’s innovating to solve problems in education. As a person who was also not a good student at all, it really connects to how adaptability and change is simply part of life. The #fearlesness and #resilience are really demonstrated as you try to survive and improve throughout the process. It also seemed that university education was used as a funnel to the next step, which tells us about how to buy time for change. I believe that I would note this down for my own reference. - Sun Ruei Hsiang (Stuart), Student from ENTR 3100

After attending Dr. Sean McMinn's insightful talk, I was truly inspired by his emphasis on innovation and the importance of embracing change. His words resonated deeply with me, as I recalled numerous instances where I had attempted to initiate new projects or rebuild existing ones, only to face obstacles rooted in resistance to change and ingrained beliefs. Dr. McMinn's perspective, that innovation does not necessarily mean invention, struck a chord with me. It made me realize that by focusing on improving the status quo and gradually introducing change, acceptance and openness to innovation can be fostered more effectively. His words served as a valuable reminder that mistakes are an integral part of the learning process. #fearlessness #resilience - Guo Jack, Student from ENTR 3100

Session Summary on Miro

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