On June 16, 2021, Faculty of Education of East China Normal University and School of Human Sciences and Education, University of Tsukuba, Japan, successfully held an online seven-hour academic symposium, which included two sessions in the morning and afternoon respectively, and attracted nearly 100 participants. The main speakers attended from College of Education, School of Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba were Professor Yoshinori Shimizu, Director of Degree Programs in Education, Professor Naohiro Higuchi, Head of Undergraduate Course in Education, Professor Hirofumi Hamada, Professor Teruyuki Fujita, Associate Professor Takanori Ueda and four master and doctoral students. The attendees of the Faculty of Education of ECNU were: Professor Xun Yuan, Executive Associate Dean of Faculty of Education, Professor Wu Zunmin of Department of Education Science, Professor Gu Xiaoqing, Director of Department of Education Information Technology, Associate Professor Sun Yanyan of Department of Education Information Technology, Associate Professor Gao Xingyuan of Department of Education Science, Qiu Yue, Director of International Affairs Division, and four master and doctoral students. The symposium was presided over by Associate Professor Takanori Ueda from University of Tsukuba. The two sides conducted an academic discussion focusing on ” Education Development and Challenges in the Future”, and jointly discussed the opportunities and challenges in education that China and Japan faced in the future. Professor Teruyuki Fujita from University of Tsukuba and Associate Professor Sun Yanyan from ECNU respectively gave wonderful keynote speeches at the symposium in the morning and afternoon respectively.
Participants of the 2021 Online Academic Symposium
Participants of ECNU and the offline venue
Associate Professor Takanori Ueda from University of Tsukuba presiding over the meeting
Professor Yoshinori Shimizu, Director of Degree Programs in Education, University of Tsukuba, delivering a speech
At the beginning of the meeting, Professor Yoshinori Shimizu, on behalf of University of Tsukuba, expressed his gratitude to the teachers and students who participated in the exchange meeting and reviewed the previous academic exchange activities between the two universities. He mentioned that the last time he led students to visit ECNU was in November 2019, and then the academic exchanges between the two sides were interrupted due to the COVID-19 epidemic worldwide. However, during the epidemic, this kind of online communication had opened up a new form of academic exchanges, and he was full of expectations for this.
Professor Xun Yuan, Executive Associate Dean of Faculty of Education, delivering a speech
Professor Xun Yuan, Executive Associate Dean of Faculty of Education, reviewed the history of two universities partnership, and pointed out that the academic exchange activities had been carried out for four consecutive years since 2016, including academic seminars, educational visits and practical activities, covering a wide range of research fields and having in-depth exchanges. The academic exchanges for teachers and students had sparked academic thoughts, which fully embodied the significance of transnational academic exchanges. He said that Faculty of Education would continue to strengthen the cooperation with University of Tsukuba in the future to promote deeper and higher-standard academic exchanges between the two universities in education disciplines.
Professor Teruyuki Fujita from University of Tsukuba giving a keynote speech
In the morning session, Professor Teruyuki Fujita shared the challenges and opportunities Japan’s schools faced in the age of digital technology in his report. He first introduced the basic situation of schools in Japan during the epidemic and pointed out the problems that Japanese schools encountered in using digital technology to ensure online learning. Later, he analyzed and stated: on the one hand, education budget accounted for too small a proportion of fiscal expenditure in Japan; on the other hand, school teachers were confronted with multiple pressures, such as large class sizes, and combination responsibilities for teaching and vocational guidance, etc. In response to the problems, he introduced the “GIGA School Initiative” launched by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, which aimed to ensure that schools would be equipped with high-speed Internet and students could possess computer equipment to acquire fair and personalized learning. The GIGA project had achieved phased results. Despite the uncertainties in the digital development of schools in Japan, Professor Teruyuki Fujita still expressed his confidence in education development in the future.
Four graduate students from the two universities giving reports in the morning session
Afterwards, doctoral student Miki Yoshikawa and postgraduate student Satoshi Tanabe from University of Tsukuba as well as doctoral student Ma Hao and postgraduate student Shen Wangqi from Department of Education Science of ECNU, delivered speeches respectively. Miki Yoshikawa focused on the early school-leaver guidance system in Denmark and discussed its comparability with Japan; Satoshi Tanabe focused on the classrooms of social studies and discussed the role of an “open classroom atmosphere” in handling social and political controversial issues; Ma Hao shared the current situation, problems and countermeasures of digital campus governance in China’s primary and secondary schools; Shen Wangqi took cMOOC beginners as the research object, and explored their learning behavior patterns from the perspective of connectivism.
Associate Professor Sun Yanyan from Department of Education Information Technology, Faculty of Education, giving a keynote speech
In the afternoon session, Associate Professor Sun Yanyan from ECNU gave a keynote speech on Rethinking the Role of Technology in Education for a Post-Pandemic Future: Challenges and Opportunities. She first introduced the emergency response measures taken by primary and secondary schools in Shanghai during the epidemic, such as the opening of Classroom in the Air. Afterwards, she showed excellent personalized teaching practice cases launched by schools for students of different levels, and shared China’s successful experiences. Then, she pointed out the main challenges in the application of educational technology in China, such as the acquisition and distribution of resources, the information technology capabilities of teachers and students, and the guarantee of education quality. Finally, she presented her rethinking of the role of educational technology from four perspectives: policy and strategy, teaching and learning, technical support, and collaboration. The wonderful report triggered enthusiastic discussions among the teachers and students.
The four graduate students from the two universities giving reports in the afternoon session
Subsequently, postgraduate student Shi Hui from Department of Education Information Technology, postgraduate student Qiu Yannan from Department of Education, Faculty of Education, ECNU, doctoral student Chen Xin and postgraduate student Yuriko Okura from University of Tsukuba, respectively delivered a speech. Shi Hui discussed what was a sound online learning platform from the dimensions of online learner satisfaction, the sense of belonging in online classrooms, and urban-rural differences; Qiu Yannan focused on teacher evaluation practices and discussed the “breakthrough point” and “growth point” of teacher evaluation ability training in the age of intelligence; Chen Xin introduced a comparative study on the teaching guidance of the “Analects of Confucius” textbooks in junior high schools in China and Japan; Yuriko Okura shared her research design for elementary school teachers’ practice of multicultural classrooms.
Professor Wu Zunmin from Department of Education Science, Faculty of Education, commenting on the students’ reports
Students and teachers from various countries participating in this online symposium
Professor Wu Zunmin from Department of Education Science, Faculty of Education, raised some questions and commented on the students’ reports. In addition, online participants from different countries also interacted with student speakers focusing on their own research interests.
Professor Naohiro Higuchi, Professor Hirofumi Hamada from University of Tsukuba
Professor Gu Xiaoqing, Associate Professor Sun Yanyan, and Gao Xingyuan from ECNU
Finally, the two sides made concluding remarks. Professor Naohiro Higuchi recalled the friendly relationship with ECNU and said that this online exchange activity expanded his understanding of China’s educational research and development. Professor Hirofumi Hamada affirmed the value and significance of this academic symposium between the two universities, and expressed his great expectations for the future activities. And meanwhile, he introduced to the participants the scholarship program of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology that University of Tsukuba had applied for, and hoped that it would be helpful for the students to attend exchange programs between the two universities in the near future. Professor Gu Xiaoqing from ECNU fully affirmed the reports of the students, and indicated the significance of multi-dimensional and multi-level thinking on various academic topics in the field of education, which deepening our understanding on Japanese education. And she also expressed her expectation for more opportunities to participate in this kind of academic exchange activity between the two universities in the future. Associate Professor Sun Yanyan commented on the reports of students, reaffirmed the value of transnational academic exchanges, and also hoped that there would be more opportunities for such academic dialogues and discussions in the future. Associate Professor Gao Xingyuan further summarized the theme of this symposium and put forward his own views on the opportunities and development of future education.
ECNU established a university-level cooperative relationship with the University of Tsukuba in 2012. Faculty of Education of ECNU and College of Education of University of Tsukuba have carried out on-site exchanges of academic exchanges for four consecutive years since 2016. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this academic symposium was held online and achieved satisfactory results. Moreover, the two sides reached a consensus that in the future, academic symposiums on education disciplines would continue to be held through the combination of online and offline so as to promote deeper and higher-standard academic exchanges between the two universities.
Source: International Affairs Division of the Faculty of Education