In 2015, the Hong Kong Jockey Membership Charities Belief got down to develop a computational pondering (CT) and coding education initiative of world-class customary, primarily based on up-to-date instructing instruments and confirmed pedagogy. Funded by the Belief, in partnership with the Schooling College of Hong Kong, Massachusetts Institute of Expertise and Metropolis College of Hong Kong, CoolThink@JC was created as a free, fundamental education for all college students, designed to be applied in mainstream curricular and formal computing classes.
Since that point, CoolThink@JC has gained a number of awards and gained recognition on the worldwide education stage. And in a transparent demonstration of its potential and early success, this system earned ISTE’s Seal of Alignment in 2021, acquiring full scores within the classes of Modern Designer and Computational Thinker.
Just lately, we spoke with Marjorie Yang, Chairlady of CoolThink@JC’s Steering Committee, to study concerning the previous, current and way forward for this system and focus on its influence in Hong Kong and past.
EdSurge: What impressed the creation of CoolThink@JC?
Yang: We had been first prompted to handle issues over the digital divide. Not each pupil has an equal alternative to study trendy, fundamental expertise that’s important to profitable careers, equivalent to in STEM fields. We wish to shut the wealth hole. And we wish to shut the digital divide. We would like all people to really feel comfy with expertise. I feel it’s as much as each one among us as customers to know expertise, to grasp expertise and to extend the advantages of expertise for all of us.
This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of future readiness. Expertise has undoubtedly modified each side of our lives. But, some sectors—together with the education ecosystem— haven’t saved tempo with the fast change. We urgently want a complete and trendy curriculum, which thoughtfully incorporates edtech, together with a scalable and sensible instructor improvement program to construct a sustainable studying ecosystem that helps future generations.
And eventually, we wish to promote computational pondering education, somewhat than merely STEM or coding. We strongly imagine that CT—as a thought course of, equivalent to logical pondering, downside fixing and creativity—is extra necessary than technical abilities at a younger age. College students ought to be thinkers and creators who flip concepts into actions with empathy, not mere customers of expertise. CT is a vital and demanding Twenty first-century talent.
And this goes past merely embedding computational pondering right into a curriculum; it’s actually about empowerment. Initially, this concept appeared to use solely to our college students. However as we went on with the entire mission, we realized that this additionally utilized to folks and lecturers, which is important. I feel because of this CoolThink has turn out to be so related.
Let’s focus on that concept additional. How is your program supporting every of the assorted stakeholder teams throughout the education panorama?
We’ve developed a complete and versatile curriculum supposed for mass adoption. Educators from all backgrounds can select the models they discover most acceptable and customise them to suit the wants of their college students.
CoolThink brings alongside a variety of pedagogy modifications: flipped school rooms, teamwork, peer studying. And this is not simply penetrating the scholars; it’s additionally altering the mindset of the lecturers. It’s very attention-grabbing to listen to testimonies of a number of the lecturers who’ve gone by way of the CoolThink expertise. It modified their complete type of instructing.
If we will change education, if we will change the scholars, then we have to vary the mindset of the lecturers. We’ve to empower the lecturers. We have to have a technology of lecturers who’re going to show in a different way, encourage innovation and really feel comfy when college students ask questions that they do not know the reply to.
So, now we now have peer studying for the lecturers, permitting them to share their experiences. We additionally supply modularized instructor coaching programs. Lecturers can select the best choice for them to boost their confidence in instructing CT lessons. Our surveys replicate that over 90 % of lecturers who accomplished this skilled improvement had been assured in instructing CT classes of their faculties and keen to advocate CoolThink to different faculties. Profitable skilled improvement creates a sustainable instructing capability inside the college system.
This permits us to actually concentrate on studying outcomes for CoolThink college students. We engaged SRI Worldwide to conduct a rigorous, unbiased, three-year-long analysis on college students’ studying outcomes relating to CT ideas, practices and views. The report concluded that CoolThink college students considerably outperformed their friends in different faculties. This promising end result gave us confidence to proceed scaling our CT education to succeed in a important mass of adoption.
College students are actively engaged in this system, inside and outdoors of the classroom. However as I discussed, we additionally imagine that parental participation is necessary to our mission. Therefore, we launched a collection of computational pondering father or mother workshops to supply a platform for folks and their kids to study programming (Scratch) collectively. Dad and mom grasp computational pondering abilities whereas speaking and cooperating with kids by way of interactive actions.
What’s subsequent for CoolThink@JC?
We intention to focus our strategic efforts on attaining ends in just a few particular areas. We’ll develop the protection of our college community to succeed in a tipping level the place adoption of efficient CT education turns into a mainstream apply. PD will likely be scaled to construct instructor capability for the entire main education sector. We’ll optimize the CoolThink Mannequin to assist faculties handle variety in pupil studying and join classroom studying with each day lives and information, such because the development of synthetic intelligence. And we wish to empower all main faculties to embrace, maintain and evolve our mission with obtainable assets and policy frameworks within the education sector.
And also you see, I come again to empowerment once more. CoolThink is embedding a way of empowerment in these little youngsters. We have to preserve this effort all through all the education stream. I feel we must always embed empowerment in our complete inhabitants.
This has been a implausible journey for me to witness. As a chairperson, I get to see all the advantages, and it is fantastic. I feel CoolThink got here at simply the appropriate time, when the world is speaking lots about innovation and entrepreneurship. This system just isn’t merely about coaching college students to turn out to be coders; it is the underlying sense of empowerment that’s Most worthy.
The profitable implementation of computational pondering education begins with the event of a powerful proof base. And its sustainability depends upon public-awareness constructing and associate administration. Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust’s devoted central coordination group manages an ecosystem of companions—together with Massachusetts Institute of Expertise, Schooling College of Hong Kong and Metropolis College of Hong Kong—and organizes public occasions, promotions and strategic communications to succeed in goal stakeholders. CoolThink@JC is grateful for the Belief’s thought management and funding in high-quality and needle-moving edtech initiatives, that are designed to arrange the following technology for a productive and affluent future.