I was very interested in the application of ICT in education. Before I applied to the MSc in Educational Technology and Society at the University of Bristol, I had been in the ICT and learning field for nearly five years. I was awarded a BSc in Educational Technology from the Zhejiang Educational University in 2003. Then I worked for one year for the Educational Bureau in a local government. My job mainly focused on digitalized learning in primary and secondary schools, such as educational website design, educational resources design and teacher training in ICT. I chose to study at the University of Bristol because the Graduate School of Education was in the top three departments in UK, in The Times newspaper in 2004.
My life in Bristol was so unforgettable. All the tutors on my courses were so professional and knowledgeable and I learned a lot from them. I think that a one year MSc is difficult for most students especially international students. I still remember that I often stayed up very late, sometimes till next morning, to accomplish an essay. But at Bristol they spent time organizing activities for international students, so that we could have a break from heavy academic work, which I thought it was very important. I would recommend to new students that they keep up their enthusiasm, read extensively with guidance from tutors, ask questions and make sure they take their education in their own hands.
The education I received on my MSc gave me valuable insight with which to further explore and exploit the potentials of ICT. I read extensively with guidance from tutors and developed systematic analytical skills through the writing of my essays. I studied different applications of ICT, such as, “online learning in the attention economic age”. One of my essays examined the significance of culture in communication and representation through analyzing two visual PowerPoint poems. In order to achieve this objective, I invited a group of Chinese students from Zhejiang Normal University to design a visual PowerPoint Chinese poem “A Night-Mooring Near Maple Bridge” and the English poem “Auguries of Innocence”. I also invited two PhD students (one Japanese lady from the University of Bristol and a gentleman from the University of Sheffield) as the audience to interpret the two poems. During the course of this project I achieved a deeper understanding of the role of e-communication in different cultural backgrounds as well as become more critical in analysing ICT and learning.
The MSc not only gave me valuable insights on ICT and learning but also some wonderful practice opportunities. For example, I had two fantastic research experiences with researchers from Nesta Future Lab, especially on my dissertation: an investigation into Children’s Collaborative Response to Uncertainty. This study was accomplished by using the software Debating the Evidence, which was developed by researchers from Nesta Future Lab. Through this project I learned to develop a set of coherent research aims which link theory, methodology and empirical work. Through working with other researchers, I learned about the process of conducting research in the social sciences. I also learned to communicate research in a coherent and cogent manner.
Since graduating from the University of Bristol I worked in E-government, mainly on the development and application of OA (office automation) software, and then in Personnel and Political Affairs for the Ouhai District People Government, Wenzhou, China. My study at Bristol has been invaluable in these roles by improving my critical thinking skills and problem solve abilities.
My proudest achievement since leaving the University of Bristol has been designing and developing OA software, currently used by about 3000 officers, for the Ouhai District People Government. The online OA software greatly improves officers’ work efficiency and promotes openness in local government affairs. Ouhai People Government is one of the best local authorities in e-government in Zhejiang Province, China.