WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., — West Liberty University hosted a 10-day study abroad program in Taiwan this summer that will strengthen the growing partnership between the College of Education and the National Hsinchu University of Education. Dr. Li-Wei Peng, associate professor of education in the College of Education, led the June trip around the small island nation known for one of the highest standard’s of living in Asia.
“There is so much to explore beyond the classroom in this high-tech, diverse, and hospitable country. Our program engaged participants in direct experiences that were tied to Taiwan’s education, technology, history, culture, tribes, religious beliefs, agriculture, fishery, animal husbandry, cuisine, scenery, and hot springs,” explained Dr. Peng, who also is the College of Education’s Instructional Technology coordinator.
Peng plans on returning next summer with a student group again.
The group visited National Hsinchu University to meet with Dr. Huan-Sheng Peng (chairman) and faculty members, Dr. Chun-Min Wang, Dr. Tzu-Hua Wang, and Dr. Fu-Yuan Chiu in the Department of Education and Learning Technology. The participating student gained hands-on learning experiences in 3D model creation and printing, Unity game-based learning, technology-enriched assessment, collaborative classroom design, and university/school professional development partnerships.
Hsinchu Municipal Zhu Guang Junior High School’s Academic Director and English teacher, Mrs. Rui-Ling Cai presented overall K-12 English curricula and teaching strategies in Taiwan to the study abroad group. She guided the team to take a campus tour, especially highlighting the classrooms for students with special needs and the labs for science, computer technology, art, and music teaching and learning. The group also attended Instructional Technology director and Chinese literacy teacher, Ya-Jei Xei’s workshop to learn the flipped classroom approach integrating 1Know, PaGamO, Moodle, and PingPong – SPOT Networking on iPad.
Participating student Samuel Marshall of Wheeling enjoyed an active learning opportunity that compared and contrasted the United States versus Taiwan education system, class setting, teaching style and technology integration.
During this trip, Dr. Peng cooperated with the leader of the SMART 4C Global Model Research Project, Dr. Cheun-Yeong Lee, to connect Marshall with students at Wutai Elementary School and Ai Liao Elementary School in the remote areas of Taiwan for practical field interdisciplinary teaching experiences and addressing English language learning.
After the online ice-breaking activity on Skype, Marshall played a teacher’s role to co-teach a group of 1st and 2nd graders and construct their concepts of counting numbers, simple addition and subtraction, and naming animals in English through dynamic activities, such as Ten Little Indians song, hopscotch, Chegg Flashcards and Charades! on iPad. The study abroad group also worked with Dr. Lee and the classroom teachers to facilitate groups of 3rd – 5th graders in learning vocabulary for giving directions.
“I am very honored to bond West Liberty University’s study abroad team with Dr. Lee’s SMART 4C Global Model Research Project to extend reciprocal learning opportunities for students in both the United States and Taiwan. The SMART represents synchronous online model for assistance in remote elementary school English teachers. The 4C stands for collaboration, cooperation, co-teaching, and community. The principal of the Ai Liao Elementary School, Mr. Ming-Quan Lin expressed his interest in the clinical partnership with West Liberty University,” Peng noted.
The group visited Taiwan’s “Silicon Valley” — Hsinchu Science and Industrial Park — and talked with the senior engineer, Mr. Yi-Cheng Peng, in the start-up and global technology company, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to understand its working environment since TSMC has built its reputation by offering advanced and “More-than-Moore” wafer production processes and unparalleled manufacturing efficiency.
“I am very grateful for West Liberty University and everyone who made this study abroad trip to Taiwan happened. I have been taking the Chinese classes at Catholic Central High School. My Chinese teacher, Mr. Lee specially introduced me to Chinese and Taiwanese cultures and helped me enhance my daily Chinese Mandarin conversation skills through Skype prior to the trip,” Marshall said.
“Dr. Li-Wei Peng organized this trip systematically and comprehensively – from rural to urban, and from northern Taiwan to southern Taiwan covering food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, and entertainment. I have gained significant knowledge about Taiwan and I’m grateful. What impressed me the most during this trip was the co-teaching experience at Wutai Elementary School and Ai Liao Elementary School. Dr. Peng and Dr. Lee taught me the technological pedagogical content knowledge and worked with me to design and implement the lessons closely. I am very honored that Dr. Lee and Dr. Peng invited me to be part of the SMART 4C Global Model Research Project. They both volunteer in this project to offer a broad expertise in diverse areas of instructional technology, with a focus on distance education and professional development connecting the resources in the United States and Taiwan to enhance the quality of teaching and learning. I am working on a book documenting my learning experience in Taiwan as the final project and will do a presentation with Dr. Peng at West Liberty University to share my study abroad soon.”
- Click here to read The United Daily News (Taiwan) interview with the study abroad team.