Mountain school in NW China’s Gansu brightens students’ science dreams

(People's Daily Online) 09:36, March 07, 2023

Using a futuristic classroom with advanced teaching facilities, a mountain school in northwest China’s Gansu Province has sowed the seeds of science in the hearts of hundreds of students.

In August 2022, a “Future Classroom” that covers around 140 square meters was built at Wenxian No. 2 Middle School in Wenxian county, once a severely impoverished county in Longnan city, Gansu.

Students have a class at the “Future Classroom” of Wenxian No. 2 Middle School in Wenxian county, Longnan city, northwest China’s Gansu Province. (Photo/Guangming Daily)

The classroom, which was recently put into use, is equipped with multimedia teaching facilities, hardware and software for programming, virtual reality (VR) equipment, 3D printers, and other devices. It offers courses on graphical programming, 3D printing, laser cutting, and robotics, and allows students to experience augmented reality (AR), VR and eye-movement tracking technologies.

Liao Wenting, a 12-year-old student at the school, was excited to use a 3D printer to make a pen container. “I want to learn more about 3D printing technology and will learn programming in the future,” Liao said.

Dong Wenchao, vice principal and an information technology teacher at the school, recalled how excited students were when he led them to the classroom. “When the construction of the classroom was completed, they cheered as I told them that we would have a class inside the classroom. I could see in their eyes how they thirst for science,” said Dong.

Xu Wei, the school’s principal, said the classroom aroused students’ interest in science and technology, which is of great significance to their personal development.

The “Future Classroom” was donated by the All-China Journalists Association (ACJA), which has been offering pair assistance focusing on education to Wenxian county since 1998, and Chinese technology giant Tencent.

Photo shows the “Future Classroom” of Wenxian No. 2 Middle School in Wenxian county, Longnan city, northwest China’s Gansu Province. (Photo/Guangming Daily)

In 2021, Zhang Yeliang from the association served as deputy mayor of the county. “Receiving better education is the best way for young people to change their lives,” Zhang said, adding that financial difficulty in the county led to relatively shabby teaching facilities in local schools, including Wenxian No. 2 Middle School. Due to digital gaps, teachers and students didn’t have the opportunity to use teaching facilities empowered by new technologies.

In the same year, Tencent launched a program to build “Future Classrooms” and “Future Sports Grounds” across China to assist in quality-oriented education and rural revitalization.

Against such a background, the ACJA cooperated with Tencent to build the classroom at Wenxian No. 2 Middle School.

As some teachers and students, including those at Wenxian No. 2 Middle School, had never seen advanced teaching facilities such as 3D printers before, Tencent has held 46 training sessions for teachers in rural areas across China.

“‘Future Classrooms’ need professional teachers to instruct children to rationally use the internet and stimulate their curiosity, imagination and passion for science and technology. And rural children need to communicate with their peers in developed areas to broaden their horizons,” said Zheng Zhong, senior director of Tencent’s division responsible for protecting minors. Zheng hoped that “Future Classrooms” would become a window for students to embrace the future.

“By participating in Tencent’s program of ‘Future Classrooms,’ we enable students to gain cutting-edge knowledge and teachers to upgrade their teaching philosophy,” Xu said.

(Web editor: Hongyu, Du Mingming)


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