October 30, 2018 The Standard
CoolThink@JC Competition 2018 bolsters students’ problem-solving and innovation prowess
In its latest ‘Fourth Strategy on Information Technology in Education’, the Education Bureau has recognized the importance of computational thinking (CT), and urges schools to allocate no less than 30% of their ICT curriculum to coding education. This underlines the importance of learning coding languages at a young age, as early exposure to computing and programming facilitates a better understanding of what is shaping contemporary society, and equips our children to meet the digital future.
Coding languages are no longer confined to ‘computer programmers’ for product inventions, as they have also become everyday tools in developing one’s ability to design, write, test, implement and maintain operations of a computer program.
Recognizing the significance of promoting CT education, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charites Trust has created and funded the CoolThink@JC. The programmer’s co-creators are The Education University of Hong Kong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and City University of Hong Kong.
CoolThink@JC has initiated a competition, which aims at enhancing students’ awareness and interest in CT through coding, enabling them to apply their CT knowledge and skills on problem-solving, boosting creativity, innovation and coding techniques, as well as encouraging collaboration among all Primary Four to Six students.
The competition this year was, once again, a roaring success, with over hundreds of applications. A short-listed selection of 40 teams were invited to participate in the Final to showcase their inventions in the morning session, and conduct presentations to compete for one of the eight places at the Grand Final in the afternoon.
This year, the competition is divided into two categories – App Inventor and Scratch. Participating teams can choose either one to write their Apps and compete for separate awards.
Solving daily-life problems
Students from the King’s College Old Boys’ Association Primary School No. 2 addressed the problem of on-street parking in their project. The students have come up with an ingenious mobile app device by which car owners can enlist the help of pedestrians to feed the meters, thereby obviating penalties due to expiration of paid parking time.
Beyond computational thinking
Students from Fung Kai No.1 Primary School addressed the problem of prolonged waiting time at the school canteen due to insufficient seat provision. They created a program to allow students to queue online and pre-order their meals. The team plans to introduce the program to fast-food stores to cut waiting time and enhance the overall dining experience.
Participating students agreed that, through the competition, they have not only learned the use of coding language, but also the skills for effective team collaboration.