Launched in 2016, CoolThink@JC seeks to inspire digital creativity among students and nurture their proactive use of technologies for social good from a young age. The project also aims to prepare students for a fast-changing digital future, and mainstream computational thinking education in Hong Kong. This innovative and comprehensive computational thinking education program, CoolThink@JC, recently won three international accolades, showing that its overall design, curriculum and pedagogical approach have reached international standards, and have far-reaching impact to Hong Kong’s technology education ecosystem. The project is created and funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, co-created by The Education University of Hong Kong, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and City University of Hong Kong and supported by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong.
The three accolades include:
QS Reimagine Education Awards
- Silver Award in the Engineering & IT category
- Bronze Award in the Presence Learning & Teaching category
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) international certification (Seal of Alignment – Student Standard)
- Scored full scores in two major standards including “Innovative Designer” and “Computational Thinking”
Education Alliance Finland certification
- 96 points for “Pedagogical Approach” (out of 100 points)
- 4.4 points for “Learning Engagement” (out of 5 points)
As one of the world’s top 10 charity donors, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust has a unique integrated business model through which racing and wagering generate tax and charity support for the community. Among them, “Children and Youth Development” is one of their focus areas. Cheung Leong, Executive Director of Charities & Community at the Hong Kong Jockey Club said: “The Club is committed to nurturing the next generation to develop their strengths. While enhancing their skills, knowledge and abilities, it also hopes to cultivate young people’s care, like the Club, for the betterment of our society. By end of 2024, the CoolThink@JC project will have cultivated nearly 100,000 upper primary school students in Hong Kong to integrate computational thinking into innovative designs, actively use technology to solve problems and help people in need and make contributions to society. It has also developed a set of internationally recognised top education programmes to set an example for other regions. Now that the project has entered the second phase, the Club is determined to mainstream this world-class education program, so as to enable students from different backgrounds to gain its benefits.
Michelle Li Mei-sheung, JP, Permanent Secretary for Education, said the Education Bureau (EDB) is dedicated to nurturing talents in support of shaping Hong Kong’s future development in the era of rapid technological advancement. She extended her gratitude to CoolThink@JC for its proactive alignment with the direction of school curriculum development, and its contributions to enhancing coding education in primary schools, thereby strengthening students’ computational thinking, enhancing their creativity and problem solving skills, and fostering learning and teaching effectiveness.
She also expressed congratulations on the project for obtaining international accreditation and added, “It is encouraging to see that aside from acknowledging the effectiveness of the programme, the award is also a testimony to Hong Kong developing into one of the regions at the forefront of computational thinking education. With the EDB’s continuous promotion and the support of different stakeholders, including The Hong Kong Jockey Club, we are happy to see that most primary schools have implemented coding education. We hope that fellow educators will continue to pursue excellence in teaching, and contribute to nurturing diversified innovation and technology talents in Hong Kong.”
Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung, President of The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK), said the University is privileged to have played a role in the project, adding that “as a university focusing on nurturing future talents for education and related sectors, EdUHK is committed to equipping students with essential knowledge, such as STEM, coding and other innovative pedagogies, to meet the challenges nowadays. I am delighted that the University has co-created the CoolThink@JC project, which successfully introduces computational thinking to primary school children and unleashes their potential. We will continue to enhance the project’s contents and foster more collaboration with the education sector.”
Wins two major “Oscars” of education
Known as the “Oscar” in the education sector, the QS Reimagine Education Awards granted 90 awards after reviewing 1,350 applications from 84 regions in recognition of their innovative teaching programs. Among them, the CoolThink@JC project won the Silver Award in the Engineering & IT and Bronze Award in the Presence Learning and Teaching category. The person-in-charge of QS said more than 300 independent judges and 20 distinguished Grand Jury participated in the evaluation process for this year’s awards, thus the winners received the unequivocal backing of education experts across the world.
The first in Asia to be accredited by the ISTE and applied in curriculum-based education projects in mainstream schools
The ISTE is a premier non-profit membership organisation serving educators and education leaders. Resources and products designed with the ISTE Standards in mind are choosing to demonstrate their commitment to support critical digital age learning skills and knowledge. The CoolThink@JC project achieves full scores (foundational level) on two major standards including innovative designer and computational thinking. The former reflects the project can effectively help students use various technologies to design innovative and creative problem-solving solutions; the latter shows the project can enable students to use a variety of technologies to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions. This international certification shows the programme has reached the international leading level in encouraging the application of science and technology and made significant contributions to the application of science and technology in teaching and the promotion of key scientific and technological skills. At present, only 27 student resource projects in the world have obtained this certification. The CoolThink@JC project is the first and only curriculum-based education project applied in mainstream schools in Asia recognised by this international standard.
Achieves outstanding performance in “Pedagogical Approach” and “Learning Engagement” under the evaluation of the Education Alliance Finland
The Education Alliance Finland (EAF) is a certified member of Education Finland that specializes in quality verification of educational solutions and services. EAF offers evaluation and certification for EdTech products. There are 175 certified products over 30 countries under EAF, out of 360 made evaluations. The CoolThink@JC project achieved 96 points (out of 100 points) in “Pedagogical Approach” and 4.4 points (out of 5 points) in “Learning Engagement.” In the evaluation of the “Pedagogical Approach,” the project was rated as the highest level, showing “the project is exceptionally innovative and of great educational value and its teaching materials for computational thinking and programming are very comprehensive and complete.” As for “Learning Engagement,” the project was also rated as the highest level, showing it not only effectively enhances students’ technical abilities, but also successfully inspires independent learning and enhances students’ “learning engagement.”
Mainstreams Computational Thinking in Formal Curriculum
Since its launch in 2016, the CoolThink@JC project has developed a three-year curriculum for upper primary school pupils with 14 class hours per school year. It has supported 131 primary schools and 674 teachers in Hong Kong, and targets to enable almost 100,000 upper primary school students to benefit from the computational thinking learning classes. An independent evaluation has found that students participated in CoolThink@JC grew twice as much in problem-solving skills when compared with non-participating students. The project supports 368 primary schools in different ways. At the same time, through cooperation with different school-sponsoring bodies, teachers’ associations and the Education Bureau, it encourages more than 70% of the public and Direct Subsidy Scheme schools in Hong Kong to take the first step and jointly promote computational thinking.
Seeking to inspire digital creativity among students and nurture their proactive use of technologies for social good from a young age, CoolThink@JC is a computational thinking education initiative created and funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, and co-created by The Education University of Hong Kong, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and City University of Hong Kong. In collaboration with local educators and the world’s leading experts, CoolThink@JC empowers teachers with high-quality teaching materials, learning platform, and professional development programmes.
The CoolThink@JC approach prepares students for a fast-changing digital future through a hands-on, minds-on, and joyful learning experience. Following the successful implementation of the four-year pilot, the second phase of the CoolThink@JC is launched in 2020, with the aim of mainstreaming computational thinking education.