In the afternoon on March 31, 2017, Professor David Clarke from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne with Professor Yiming Cao from School of Mathematical Sciences at Beijing Normal University visited the Advanced Innovation Center for Future Education (AICFE) . Professor Cao is the director of a research project titled Development and Application of Diagnostic and Analytics Tools for Mathematics Discipline in Middle Schools, which is funded by AICFE. Professor Clarke is one of core members in this team, and he is the director of International Centre for Classroom Research of the University of Melbourne and an expert in mathematics education and classroom research. Other Attendees are Associate Professor Xuefeng Qiao from Beijing Normal University, Assistant Professor Esther Chan from the University of Melbourne, Director Wei Tang and Si Gao of International Cooperation Office, Dr. Lishan Zhang of Learning Science Laboratory, Binbo Sun and Linghong Du of Subject-centered Education Laboratory.
The visiting is separated in three sections. First, Director Tang warmly welcomed Professor Clarke. Director Tang introduced the background and organizational structure of AICFE. Beijing, as the national political, cultural, and scientific and technological innovation center of China, is leading the development of education in the country. In 2015, Beijing Municipal Commission of Education launched the "Advanced Innovation Center Construction Plan of Higher Education in Beijing", aiming to build around 20 advanced innovation centers. The Advanced Innovation Center Plan is a long-term mechanism for the effective integration of the national and local, domestic and international colleges and universities and resources to utilize domestic and international innovative resources, to promote both research and application, to combine technological creation and talent development, to develop both national and local colleges and universities. AICFE is one of them.
Second, Ms. Gao demonstrated functions of the “Smart Learning Partner”, which is a creative and original public education services platform. It is designed and developed by AICFE for secondary school students, teachers, and parents in Beijing. For example, the knowledge and capability structure is modeled based on various types of data of students, which can accurately reflect the well-being, capability, and literacy of students. SLP is intended to realized strength-based teaching and learning, collecting big data during learning processes, modeling knowledge and capability structures, diagnosing learning difficulties and addressing them, and finding and strengthening students' strengths in different subjects. Director Tang sincerely invited Professor Clarke to participate in AICFE’s research projects collaboratively, which are closely related to SLP.
Finally, Dr. Lishan Zhang introduced Problem Solving Ability Assessment (PSAA) research project and the prototype of it. Professor Clarke and Dr. Zhang made more detailed discussions on the design of open ended questions. Some multidisciplinary open-ended questions are more complicated than questions only related to one subject . Collecting and analyzing data from students solving open-ended questions may reflect their problem solving abilities. Professor Clarke was very interested in the research and looking forward to future collaboration. Professor Clarke also introduced his current work and expressed his willingness to work with the AICFE.
This visit facilitated the deep communication between experts in the field and AICFE. The feedback and suggestions from international professionals locate AICFE in the world, which may open a new page of international cooperation in subject-centered curriculum and education.