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Tak-Wai Chan is the Director of Science and Technology for Learning, Chairman and Professor of Graduate Institute of Network Learning Technology, and Professor of Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering at the National Central University of Taiwan. In the field of digital technology supported learning (digital learning), he has contributed to the research sub-areas of intelligent tutoring system, computer supported collaborative learning, mobile and ubiquitous learning, and is now interested in digital game-based learning and educational toys. To him these sub-areas are all related and complemented to each other. Actually he considers himself an interdisciplinary researcher and a lifelong learner, looking forward to being able to shed new light from technology view to the field, from psychology view to the field, from education view to the field, from subject matter view to the field, from real world practice view to the field, from global society view to the field, and from emerging new disciplines such as brain science and game design to the field. Conversely, he hopes for being able to recognize the strengths and limitations of these various disciplines from the perspective of their potential contribution to the field.
For years, Chan has been working on two research problems. The first one is learning companion, a concept he proposed in 1988 as a part of his PhD thesis, which subsequently generates an active sub-field of intelligent tutoring system research. Furthermore, his work contributes in widening the horizon of the field from intelligent tutoring to collaborative learning and social learning. The second one is an "intelligent futuristic classroom," since he and his colleagues published possibly the earliest synchronous (real time) network learning system called Distributed WEST in 1992. This prototype is also an example system for studying computer mediated face-to-face interactive learning in the classroom. His subsequent work represents two parallel threads following along these two topics.
Learning companion research has been drawing a rapid growth of interest in recent years. Researchers, besides learning companion, have adopted various names such as co-learner, trouble maker, virtual character, pedagogical agent, virtual peer, affective learning companion in addressing different research perspectives. Advancement of research and technology of the field over the years have reached to a status that Chan is now trying to pave some conceptual and prototypical foundation for realizing the ultimate vision of learning companion research - building "lifelong learning companion." For intelligent futuristic classroom, his research group studies a series of prototypes such as competitive game-based learning, reciprocal peer tutoring, learning by teaching learning companion, learning by posing questions. The emerging wireless and mobile technology have made "intelligent futuristic classroom" more possible than ever. Indeed, there will emerge more and more "digitalclassrooms" (digital technology supported classrooms) in which every student is equipped with at least one handy device with wireless capability for learning, as envisioned by a group of international researchers (see www.g1on1.org). Chan is interested in designing various novel learning activities in the digital classroom such as learning by asking a good question, learning by peer tutoring, and so forth, understanding the dynamic that constitutes with cognitive, social, affective, and attitude enrichments of computer mediated face-to-face interactive learning in the digital classroom, and investigating how such learning can be sustained by incorporating computer mediated distance interactions through Internet outside or after classroom.
In 2000, Chan led a research project called "Active social learning and its applications - from Taiwan to the World" with a budget of USD 14 millions and over 30 researchers and 100 graduate students participated. A research issue in that project is to study and design a variety of innovative active social learning in the future network society, leading to the development of one of the largest network learning communities in the world, EduCities, that comprises 1.5 million of students and teachers and 2,500 schools. Another research issue is investigation and exploration of wireless, mobile, and ubiquitous technologies in education. This research produces a collection of prototypical learning scenarios in and out of the classroom. EduCities is now a research basis and dissemination platform for Chan's research on learning companion and experiments of digital classroom learning scenarios. Besides, Chan is conceiving a new paradigm for the next generation of EduCities.
Chan has adopted a 'hobbit.' Throughout his career, Chan has been helping promote this research field and foster research communities. For Taiwan, he was the coordinator of the Information Technology in Education Program of National Science Council from 1994 to 2002. Chan was also the chief architect of the Master Plan of using information technology in K12 education for the Minister of Education of Taiwan, launched in 2001. He also helped initiate and design a cross-ministry National Science and Technology Program for e-Learning for 5 years, starting from 2003, with a budget of 130 million US dollars
For Greater China, Chan, together with other researchers from China, co-founded the Global Chinese Conference on Computers in Education (GCCCE) in 1997. This conference series has been held in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Taiwan, Beijing, and Nanjing. Currently, Chan is the President of Global Chinese Society of Computers in Education (GCSCE, www.gcsce.org) that monitors GCCCE and Global Chinese Journal on Computers in Education (GCJCE).
For Asia-Pacific region, Chan was the originator of the Asia-Pacific region based conference series, International Conference on Computers in Education (ICCE). The conference has become the most prestigious annual conference in that region and has been held in Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Australia, and Taiwan. He established the Asia-Pacific Chapter of AACE in 1994 that monitored ICCE series and starting from 2004, he is responsible to manage headquarter of Asia-Pacific Society of Computers in Education (APSCE, see www.apsce.net), the society that monitors the ICCEs and an upcoming journal for the Society.
Foreseeing the emerging of more and more digital classrooms that signaling the arrival of the golden age of digital learning (technology enhanced learning), Chan has recently co-initiated a global network of collaborative researchers and test-beds on one-on-one digital learning (see www.g1on1.org).
Chan has given keynotes in various international conferences. He is an organizer of conferences ICCE93, ICCE98, IEEE WMTE2004, CSCL2005, ITS2006 and GCCCE series and serves ?on editorial boards, as associate editors, advisors of various international journals, including Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, Educational Technology & Society Journal, Journal of Computer supported Collaborative Learning, among others. He is also a member of International Scientific Committee of the European Union's Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence Project on Technology Enhanced Learning, panel reviewer of Interagency Education Research Initiative (IERI) Program NSF, USA, and serves other international research consultancy work.
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