CoolThink@JC parent seminar discusses the benefits of computational thinking

Cathy Choi

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The seminar was well-received.
Parents play a very important role in enabling children to become technology consumers or creators.

About 300 parents of primary school students gained more insights on the topic at a seminar titled “Programme or let your children’s future be programmed?” at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 24 June. The seminar was part of the CoolThink@JC programme.

The four-year programme is a HK$216 million project funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust in collaboration with CityU, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, and The Education University of Hong Kong. It aims to equip senior primary school students with basic coding capabilities that will strengthen their computational thinking (CT) and help teachers master the necessary professional skills. ​​​​

Professor Tsui talks about the development of STEM education.
Mr Cheung Leong, Executive Director of Charities and Community of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, said that the Club strongly emphasised the need to improve social impact through innovative ideas.

The Club hopes the seminar will enable the public to know more about the benefits of CT on students’ learning and development. It believes that every child possesses his or her own potential, and hopes parents can support the programme and encourage their children to brighten up their future through technology.

Professor Matthew Lee Kwok-on, CityU Vice-President (Development and External Relations) and Member of the Steering Committee of the programme, said CityU was dedicated to reaching out to the community and utilising its strengths in professional education and research to contribute to the programme.

He pointed out that since parental support and understanding were crucial to CT education, CityU would organise workshops and other activities to strengthen their understanding and draw attention to their children’s studies.

In his talk titled “Future of STEM education”, Professor Tsui Lap-chee, Founding President of the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, shared his views on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education for nurturing young people’s creativity for social and economic advancement.​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​

Discussion on computational thinking education.
I​n the seminar facilitated by Mr Cheung, Mr John Tsang Chun-wah, former Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR government, and Mr Lau Chun-hung, Principal of Lok Sin Tong Yu Kan Hing Secondary School, discussed whether parents should allow their children to learn coding and programming skills, and clarified any misunderstandings among the public.

They also talked about how children could better equip themselves by learning coding and programming skills, enabling parents to know more about CT education and its positive effect on children’s logical thinking.

Primary students who have participated in the programme demonstrated the coding process and shared the fun of developing apps at the seminar. The Soup Recipe App developed by students can help parents work out the ingredients needed for cooking different kinds of soup after entering the number of people for a meal. The app also shows how to cook various soups and their ingredients.​​​​​​​​​​

A​Primary students demonstrate the coding process for an app with Mr Cheung (left) and Mr Tsang (second from right).
The four-year CoolThink@JC programme will teach 16,500 Primary Four to Six students and train 100 teachers at 32 pilot schools. The long-term objective is to establish CT as part of Hong Kong’s overall primary school curriculum.

In addition to organising parent education activities, CityU will train 400 tertiary students and a small number of disadvantaged youths as teaching assistants in support of the new pedagogy, and assist teachers in the pilot schools by acting as tutors who will assist students in learning. They will also act as ambassadors for the project, promoting CT to the community.



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