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CoolThink@JC Commendation Scheme 2024: Debut of Inaugural Teaching Assistant Awards Empowering Growth Through Digital Inclusion

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HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach Newswire – 28 June 2024 – As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly prevalent, students who possess creative thinking and problem-solving abilities can sustain their competitiveness in an era of rapid change. CoolThink@JC, an initiative created and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, aims to foster digital creativity in young learners, motivating them from an early age to use technology for the benefit of society.

Group photo of the officiating guests and representatives of the programme partners
Group photo of the officiating guests and representatives of the programme partners

The CoolThink@JC Commendation Scheme 2024 Ceremony was successfully held on 28 June, recognising schools and teachers who have made significant contributions to computational thinking education and demonstrated a commitment to excellence. The Ceremony also honoured students who are actively engaged in their learning, with the introduction of a new CoolThink Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award to acknowledge their exceptional achievements in promoting computational thinking and enhancing the overall quality of education.

The recipients of the CoolThink@JC Commendation Scheme 2024 have been announced following a rigorous selection by a jury composed of academics and educators (visit the website for full list of awardees). Three schools have been recognised as Resource Schools, 26 as CoolThink Network Schools, 20 teachers as CoolThink Fellows, 132 teachers as CoolThink Teachers, and 187 students as CoolThink High-Flyers. Nine teaching assistants received the new CoolThink Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. These dedicated individuals assist teachers in delivering high-quality education and facilitating meaningful learning experiences.

Ms Ada Chu, Head of Charities (Talent and Sector Development; Institute of Philanthropy) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, said at the Commendation Ceremony: “CoolThink@JC believes that computational thinking education should be a fundamental component of basic education as it is an essential skill for the 21st century. Over the last eight years, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has invested more than HK$500 million to provide computational thinking education for upper primary students, fostering their ability to actively use technology for societal benefit while integrating computational thinking into standard curricula. We are delighted that the Education Bureau formally adopted and adapted CoolThink@JC’s materials in 2023, integrating them into the standard curriculum of all primary schools in Hong Kong, thus ensuring equitable learning opportunities for all.”

CoolThink@JC not only cultivates critical thinking and encourages students to engage in digital programming, it also transforms the classroom dynamics for teachers. Through innovative educational strategies, teaching methods and comprehensive support, education is enhanced, magnifying the overall impact of teaching. The curriculum places students at the centre, transforming teachers from content deliverers to facilitators who guide students in critical thinking, questioning and problem-solving, motivating them to learn independently.

CoolThink@JC consists of two distinct phases: the pilot phase (2016 to 2020) and the second phase (post-2020). Both phases have yielded significant outcomes, global recognition and a sustainable impact. After eight-year on-going efforts, the scheme has engaged over 100,000 students and 30,000 parents. It covered 100% of public and subsidised schools, trained more than 2,000 teachers, and demonstrated The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s commitment to advancing computational thinking education. The CoolThink@JC content has been adopted and adapted in the Education Bureau’s Curriculum Modules for Innovation and Technology Education. By promoting STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) education in primary schools, it equips students with essential 21st-century skills and enhances their digital literacy.

Appendix:

CoolThink@JC Commendation Scheme 2024 – Teachers & Students Experience Sharing

Four students spoke on the topic of “Learning How to Learn”, discussing how computational thinking facilitates growth across various subjects and environments. Among them, Pui Kiu College F.1 students Clement Chan Yik-hong and Oa-Yang Yee-ching showcased the “I-smart school bag”. They shared the benefits of applying computational thinking outside the classroom and how it assisted secondary school learning. They are continuously refining their design of the “I-smart school bag” in the hope that more primary students will benefit. Damaso Clyde Jaiden, a P.6 student from Jordan Road Government Primary School and a non-Chinese-speaking student, explained how computational thinking has enabled him to develop new skills and significantly boosted his confidence and engagement in both school and the wider community. Siu Chor Laam, a P.6 student at Cho Yiu Catholic Primary School, shared her experiences as a CoolThinker, detailing how she helps her classmates learn computational thinking at school.

Three teachers and teaching assistants discussed the importance of computational thinking education for personal growth in teaching. Mr. Astom Wong from Fung Kai No.1 Primary School, a resource school, emphasised the importance of upskilling for teachers and explained how the computational thinking education programme enhances teachers’ skills. Janice So, a senior teaching lead from City University of Hong Kong, elaborated on her co-teaching role and summarised her experiences in promoting computational thinking education across various schools, highlighting the transformation of teachers and teaching assistants involved in the programme.

Mr. Oscar Chow, who transitioned from a teaching assistant to a CoolThink teacher at HKUGA Primary School, recounted his journey as a teacher without an IT background. He first engaged with CoolThink@JC while at university in 2017, and it inspired him to pursue a career as a STEM teacher to promote the development of computational thinking in schools. He discussed the growth and evolution of computational thinking education over the past eight years. Mr. Chow also anticipated a future in which artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly mature. He explored how computational thinking can effectively prepare students and teachers for the AI era.

Full list of awardees is available on the website:

https://www.coolthink.hk/coolthink-%E9%A0%92%E7%8D%8E%E5%85%B8%E7%A6%AE-23-2413131313/

Hashtag: #CoolThink@JC

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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