From the 9th to the 10th May, the Developing in Digital Worlds team hosted a delegation from SMILE, the Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education at East China Normal University. SMILE is the first research institute of its kind in China, with an aim to provide solid decision-making consultation and academic support for the development of lifelong education in Shanghai and across China more broadly. The SMILE staff are experts in varied research fields including higher education studies, adult and vocational education, pedagogy, and educational governance.
Associate Professors Dingkai Hou and Yun Bai, along with Project Manager Chen Huang, spent two days with us in Auckland as we presented findings from the Developing in Digital Worlds project and learned about their research. From our side, we shared our current research in the digital, 21st Century and school-home partnership space, and investigated opportunities for future collaboration, including in our research of digital tools to promote cognitive, social and student achievement. The delegation expressed particular interest in argumentation as a means of developing student perspective taking and critical thinking. Members of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre also presented on other Centre projects including Summer Learning Journey and The Manaiakalani Project.
We were fortunate to learn about what the team at SMILE are doing to form a Chinese model for lifelong education in the international arena, including their development and practice of livelong education theory, and collaborative interventions between families, schools, and communities. We also had the chance to exchange ideas from respective Summer and Winter school holiday programmes. Before wrapping up our two-day session, we met with Associate Professor Mark Barrow, the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, and visited Literacy Aotearoa, a national organisation of adult literacy providers.