When educators contemplate the time period computational considering (CT), they typically consider math or coding. However for those who ask Daniel Fung, vice principal and English instructor on the Sham Tseng Catholic College in Hong Kong, he’ll inform you computational considering is a whole pedagogy geared towards instructing lifelong problem-solving abilities.
Fung has adopted the award-winning curriculum CoolThink@JC to show CT to his college students and fellow lecturers. Lately, EdSurge spoke with Fung about how he makes use of this curriculum to information college students by a brand new method to studying and considering.
EdSurge: How did you develop into concerned with CoolThink@JC?
Fung: I turned an English instructor eight years in the past. I started coding in my second yr, after visiting lecturers in Edinburgh who launched me to micro:bit as a platform for instructing a second language. My curiosity in studying code impressed me to observe on-line tutorial movies. I noticed my fourth, fifth and sixth grade college students may gain advantage from studying to code.
Whereas instructing English and dealing as a vice principal, I acquired a round from CoolThink@JC. I noticed a chance to refine my faculty’s curriculum.
What does a complete computational considering curriculum appear to be to you?
CT curriculum isn’t just about coding however fairly a pedagogy and mindset. Figuring out how you can code on completely different platforms is just not the purpose at our college—nor the CoolThink@JC program. We would like college students to method considering in another way. We now have stopped offering step-by-step directions to college students and have begun turning it over to college students for extra of a problem-solving method.
We need to transcend coding and combine computational considering into college students’ each day lives. We train our college students procedures as a strategy to develop into extra environment friendly; college students be taught every thought and motion is impactful. CT is a life ability—a strategy to method all issues tutorial and past.
How has your expertise as a CoolThink@JC fellow formed your skilled growth and method to pedagogy?
For me, it is a new mind-set. I embrace it as a curriculum and pedagogical change for our college students and need to use it to assist make my faculty programs extra environment friendly. For instance, we used it to revamp a really archaic methodology of scheduling lecturers and lessons. We started to method faculty operations and programs by CT. It has made my faculty and me extra systems-oriented.
After I facilitate skilled growth, I place lecturers into teams and design actions that information them to investigate an issue for various options. I’m making an attempt to alter their considering and the way they apply computational considering all through their instructing and each day lives. We spend little time speaking and extra time having lecturers downside resolve. We mannequin to the lecturers how any such considering is used and applied.
Some academic programs want a mindset change. As an alternative of primarily specializing in studying, how about taking part in and exploring? Once we first work with lecturers in CT schooling, we ask them to create an utility and respect their pleasure once they first create one. We actually have to get educators to embrace play, fairly than fear about explicit outcomes.
Lecturers typically assume CT is restricted to math or expertise classes. I’m an English instructor; I see worth in each educator advancing abilities in CT. It’s not nearly coding however fairly a mind-set and downside fixing that may profit college students and educators.
All educators have to see and expertise CT schooling. We have to encourage lecturers to share computational considering information and experiences with different lecturers. We additionally want universities to embrace this as a part of instructor schooling. We want leaders which are practitioners—tutorial leaders who combine coding and CT.
Are you able to describe among the studying outcomes you have seen along with your college students since adopting this curriculum?
There are tangible outcomes, such because the varieties of merchandise and tasks that college students produce. For instance, when college students take part, we frequently give them factors or credit score. This turns into fairly difficult and time-consuming. Our college students used micro:bit to create a method for scores to be computed routinely. They addressed an issue they skilled and helped enhance the category system on their very own.
One other instance is when college students seen that folks at residence had been leaving their fridge doorways open, which resulted in dropping temperature and losing power. They used micro:bit and sensors to inform folks to shut their fridge door. It is a nice instance of scholars utilizing computational considering to enhance the on a regular basis lives of others.
And there are intangible outcomes as nicely. By CT, college students start to ask fewer questions and develop into extra self-sufficient. They discover options through the use of their sources, asking the suitable questions, researching and experimenting.
Historically, college students in Hong Kong have been fairly passive. Our school rooms was dominated by rows. Nevertheless, as soon as we visited Edinburgh, we seen that college students had been seated extra collaboratively. Computational considering helps us deal with a lot of these challenges. Initially, college students use CT to resolve issues that we offer them. Ultimately, they transition to figuring out issues and creating options with much less tutorial steering.
I feel CT promotes entrepreneurship—a method to alter and enhance the world. The character of labor is altering. Our college students will proceed to be offered with new, world challenges, and CT is the trail to deal with these.