In 2015, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust established out to acquire a computational pondering (CT) and coding training initiative of world-course conventional, centered on up-to-date training resources and confirmed pedagogy. Funded by the Trust, in partnership with the Training University of Hong Kong, Massachusetts Institute of Know-how and Metropolis University of Hong Kong, CoolThink@JC was created as a cost-free, simple education and learning for all college students, intended to be implemented in mainstream curricular and formal computing classes.
Given that that time, CoolThink@JC has gained multiple awards and gained recognition on the international education phase. And in a very clear demonstration of its prospective and early results, the plan attained ISTE’s Seal of Alignment in 2021, obtaining complete scores in the types of Impressive Designer and Computational Thinker.
Recently, we spoke with Marjorie Yang, Chairlady of CoolThink@JC’s Steering Committee, to study about the past, present and long run of the method and talk about its effect in Hong Kong and over and above.
EdSurge: What influenced the creation of CoolThink@JC?
Yang: We had been first prompted to tackle problems over the electronic divide. Not each and every pupil has an equal option to master contemporary, simple technological know-how that is necessary to profitable professions, these kinds of as in STEM fields. We want to close the wealth hole. And we want to shut the digital divide. We want everyone to truly feel comfy with technological know-how. I think it is up to each a single of us as users to have an understanding of technologies, to learn know-how and to enhance the rewards of know-how for all of us.
This goes hand-in-hand with the principle of future readiness. Know-how has definitely changed just about every facet of our life. Nevertheless, some sectors—including the schooling ecosystem— have not stored pace with the swift alter. We urgently want a complete and modern day curriculum, which thoughtfully incorporates edtech, along with a scalable and functional instructor advancement application to build a sustainable finding out ecosystem that supports foreseeable future generations.
And eventually, we want to boost computational imagining training, somewhat than just STEM or coding. We strongly imagine that CT—as a assumed procedure, these kinds of as rational thinking, dilemma solving and creativity—is a lot more important than technological skills at a youthful age. Learners need to be thinkers and creators who turn thoughts into actions with empathy, not mere buyers of technological innovation. CT is an crucial and important 21st-century ability.
And this goes past just embedding computational contemplating into a curriculum it’s actually about empowerment. To begin with, this concept appeared to apply only to our students. But as we went on with the total undertaking, we recognized that this also used to parents and lecturers, which is essential. I imagine this is why CoolThink has become so relevant.
Let us discuss that thought further more. How is your system supporting each of the several stakeholder teams across the education landscape?
We have formulated a detailed and flexible curriculum supposed for mass adoption. Educators from all backgrounds can opt for the models they come across most ideal and customize them to suit the desires of their students.
CoolThink provides together a good deal of pedagogy adjustments: flipped classrooms, teamwork, peer finding out. And this just isn’t just penetrating the college students it’s also modifying the way of thinking of the instructors. It’s pretty intriguing to hear testimonies of some of the teachers who’ve absent as a result of the CoolThink working experience. It altered their whole model of instructing.
If we are likely to alter education, if we’re heading to adjust the pupils, then we have got to improve the way of thinking of the instructors. We have to empower the lecturers. We want to have a era of instructors who are going to train in another way, really encourage innovation and feel snug when students question queries that they don’t know the remedy to.
So, now we have peer studying for the instructors, making it possible for them to share their activities. We also present modularized instructor schooling classes. Academics can pick the greatest possibility for them to improve their assurance in instructing CT courses. Our surveys reflect that around 90 p.c of lecturers who finished this specialist improvement have been self-assured in instructing CT classes in their universities and ready to advocate CoolThink to other schools. Profitable professional growth generates a sustainable instructing ability within the school program.
This will allow us to actually focus on mastering outcomes for CoolThink pupils. We engaged SRI Worldwide to perform a demanding, unbiased, a few-year-extended evaluation on students’ finding out results with regards to CT concepts, techniques and perspectives. The report concluded that CoolThink pupils substantially outperformed their peers in other educational institutions. This promising result gave us self confidence to go on scaling our CT instruction to arrive at a essential mass of adoption.
Students are actively engaged in the software, within and outside of the classroom. But as I described, we also imagine that parental participation is important to our venture. For this reason, we released a collection of computational wondering guardian workshops to present a platform for mom and dad and their children to study programming (Scratch) jointly. Mother and father learn computational wondering competencies although speaking and cooperating with youngsters by interactive things to do.
What’s following for CoolThink@JC?
We goal to target our strategic endeavours on achieving outcomes in a several unique places. We’ll broaden the protection of our faculty community to reach a tipping place the place adoption of productive CT education and learning becomes a mainstream apply. PD will be scaled to establish trainer capacity for the whole key education sector. We’ll improve the CoolThink Design to support schools deal with diversity in university student learning and link classroom mastering with daily lives and information, such as the improvement of synthetic intelligence. And we want to empower all main educational institutions to embrace, sustain and evolve our mission with accessible resources and coverage frameworks in the instruction sector.
And you see, I come again to empowerment yet again. CoolThink is embedding a sense of empowerment in these small youngsters. We have to have to keep this effort and hard work throughout the total training stream. I believe we should really embed empowerment in our total populace.
This has been a fantastic journey for me to witness. As a chairperson, I get to see all the gains, and it truly is fantastic. I feel CoolThink arrived at just the right time, when the globe is speaking a good deal about innovation and entrepreneurship. The program is not merely about teaching college students to turn into coders it really is the underlying perception of empowerment that is most beneficial.
The successful implementation of computational imagining training commences with the progress of a potent proof base. And its sustainability relies on general public-consciousness making and lover administration. Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust’s dedicated central coordination group manages an ecosystem of partners—including Massachusetts Institute of Technological innovation, Training College of Hong Kong and Town College of Hong Kong—and organizes community gatherings, promotions and strategic communications to access focus on stakeholders. CoolThink@JC is grateful for the Trust’s considered leadership and investment in higher-high quality and needle-relocating edtech initiatives, which are intended to get ready the following generation for a productive and prosperous upcoming.