Chinese characters contain Chinese aesthetics, philosophy, culture and wisdom. To allow people of different background to understand the structure and meaning of Chinese characters more easily, Dr Hung Keung at the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of The Education University of Hong Kong created the pedagogy of “Interactive Chinese Characters as a New Learning Method”.
The new learning method integrates digital media technology with the meaning and structure of Chinese characters to create an inclusive art education system. It further transforms the aesthetic value of Chinese “creating words”, “brush writing” and “painting” in 2D and 4D practices (time-based experience) as part of creative teaching methodologies.
The concept of space and time of Chinese characters are introduced to learners through story-telling. Upon understanding of some basic concepts, learners would then practise writing animated Chinese characters in their own ways. Some of them would use their imagination to add creative elements to the characters. The completed artwork would turn out to be an animation by a special software that learners can share it on the screen. Through motion sensing technology, learners can interact with the animated characters by controlling their motions, the character size and speed of moving.
Through this new workshop-based learning which integrates new media art, design, traditional culture and digital technology, learners will gain an enhanced experience of the cultural ideas of Guan shang (observe-appreciation); Wan shang (play-appreciation); and Ya ji, (literati gathering) with Chinese characters. Combining Chinese culture, arts and digital technology, this course enables both experienced learners and novices to engage in their learning in different ways, enhancing cross-generation and cross-cultural relationships.
This research project creates a new form and experience of Chinese characters’ learning and appreciation for foreigners. The significant database generated from all learners’ characters also serves as a valuable resource for ongoing educational research. The project brought Dr Hung the Silver Medal of the 2018 International Trade Fair “Ideas – Inventions – New Products” (iENA) in Germany.