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Ocean Park and The University of Hong Kong Sign MOU to Strengthen Collaboration on Education and Research Programmes

2019-02-14

Collaboration kicks off with the Park’s first-ever STEAM Education Conference and an innovative hackathon

Ocean Park and The University of Hong Kong (HKU) join hands in signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will see the two entities deepening their collaboration in innovative education and research initiatives. These include the inaugural Ocean Park International STEAM Education Conference and a hackathon that empowers students to design guest experience solutions for the Park.
 
“With a mandate to promote conservation and education engagements that inspire guests to discover and care for nature, Ocean Park is delighted to formalise its collaboration with The University of Hong Kong to build on this,” said Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park. “We have a long-standing relationship with HKU and will be working with the University on an exciting array of education, scientific research and public engagement initiatives to maximise impact of our edutainment programmes and conservation endeavours. The new MOU is set to benefit both the teaching and student communities. Most importantly, the collaboration will promote the spirit of innovation and intellectual quest among the next generation with activities that provide students with tangible opportunities to experiment and realise their ideas in a real-world setting.”
 
Professor Andy Hor, Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) from the University of Hong Kong said, “Today’s memorandum is a historical milestone of Hong Kong as two of its ‘household names’, viz. HKU and Ocean Park, come together to bring the fruits of academic discoveries and inventions to our community in form of education and entertainment through innovation. This partnership enables research in areas such as conservation, virtual reality and environment be translated and transformed into learning opportunities for students and life experience for families and tourists. The Park’s extensive resources on wildlife and edutainment also bring new research opportunities and challenges to our academics. This type of synergistic relationship also represents a new wave of exciting cross-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations as we develop the research and innovation in HKU.”
 
In formalising the collaboration, Ocean Park and HKU will extend from their long-standing working relationship, with the MOU offering a framework to support ongoing cooperation in four key strategic areas. These include educational programme development, ranging from seasonal educational camps, credit-bearing courses for tertiary education, public engagement initiatives such as Water Fun Fest and more; student internships; research projects in areas including but not limited to zoology, wildlife and environmental conservation; and innovation and knowledge exchange projects including the DreamCatcher’s hackathon and STEAM conferences.
 
Upon signing the MOU, Ocean Park will work with the HKU’s School of Biological Sciences on zoology, wildlife and environmental conservation researches. The Park will also work on a new Summer Adventure camp with the Faculty of Engineering to help educate and develop secondary students’ interest in science; and work with the Faculty of Education on the joint creation of experiential learning education programmes for future education professionals. 
 
“Ocean Park has long engaged students in in-park education and outreach programmes to promote conservation both locally and internationally, with close to one million students having taken part in educational programmes at the Park since the early 1990s. HKU is an international leader in teaching, learning and knowledge exchange. This collaboration further demonstrates our commitment to the academic and education communities in Hong Kong,” added Kung.
 
Park to Host First-ever International STEAM Education Conference
To be held from 21 to 22 June 2019, The Ocean Park International STEAM Education Conference 2019 for teachers and education professionals is the first international conference focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education knowledge-sharing in a live edutainment setting with input from The University of Hong Kong and the Education Bureau of HKSAR.
 
Uniquely positioned as a resource hub for global STEAM education in practice, Ocean Park aims to offer through this conference an international research and collaboration platform for educators from Hong Kong and overseas. Featuring internationally esteemed guest speakers who are luminaries and acclaimed experts in the fields of STEAM, the conference ultimately aims to facilitate the development of STEAM education in and beyond Hong Kong by creating a STEAM learning and practice community for educational professionals worldwide.
 
Alongside the conference, The First Ocean Park International Conservation STEAM Competition is held to extend STEAM learning to student communities. Students from around the world are invited to leverage STEAM-related knowledge and skills to submit creative solutions to environmental issues based on the theme “STEAM and Marine Conservation”.  
 
Ocean Park x HKU Hackathon
An exciting undertaking co-organised with iDendron, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub of HKU, the Ocean Park x HKU Hackathon will be an invaluable experiential learning opportunity where students will be given a week to develop innovative solutions for the Park in the fields of visitor experience, education and conservation. Scheduled to be held in June 2019, students will challenge themselves to help resolve operational and relevant issues at the Park, working with professionals and academics to generate solutions within the theme park business environment. The best solutions will be pitched to industry professionals and, if successful, students may have the enviable opportunity of seeing their solutions come to fruition and be implemented in the Park.
 
Water Fun Fest
To raise public awareness on water consumption and sustainability, Ocean Park and the Faculty of Social Science at HKU will host the Water Fun Fest from 19 April to 1 May 2019 in conjunction with the Park’s Animal Discovery Fest. The event aims to educate the public on issues such as the size of their water footprint, water sustainability and river management. Weaving technology with educational messages, a series of edutaining and interactive game booths will be offered. Members of HKU’s academic staff will also be available for further explanation.