Dr Kean POON Kei-yan
Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education and Counselling
Dr Kean POON Kei-yan is a registered educational psychologist in Hong Kong and a committed advocate for accessible quality education for children with special educational needs (SEN).
In 2020, Dr Poon won two major external grants awarded by HSBC Private Banking and Asian Charity Services and Advance Children Medical and Education Foundation Limited. Her two winning projects have both service and research components, involving training university students and graduates to provide quality after-school learning support for SEN students from low-income families.
Together, the two projects have trained over 200 undergraduates and graduates, and provided services to over 500 low-income primary school students in Hong Kong. These projects are expected to reach 75 schools, 400 tutors, 950 students, 950 student families, 3,000 teachers and 1,200 university students in the coming two years.
In addition to after-school academic support projects, Dr Poon built two award-winning, internationally recognised electronic training applications: (1) i-maze, a working memory training app, and (2) a task-switching training app. These are the first training apps whose aim is to enhance the executive function of children with special needs. The two apps have been used by 500 students in Hong Kong. i-maze was showcased at the 2020 International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN) and was awarded a silver medal and a special award presented by Toronto International Society of Innovation and Advanced Skills. Dr Poon was selected as one of the Best 10 Woman Inventors of the competition. In addition, her task-switching training app won the silver medal for educational technology innovation at the Silicon Valley International Invention Festival (SVIIF) 2019. The two apps are now being translated into English to benefit SEN students in more countries.
Dr Poon’s projects demonstrated the transfer of the University’s innovative knowledge from the research stage to community, where it has had a real impact on quality education for SEN students in special schools and the community.