Computational Thinking (CT) is the prerequisite skill for understanding how technologies work. It is a thinking process to help students analyze problems and develop solutions; in other words, it is a problem-solving skill! Computational thinking, when taught well, can enhance students' problem-solving skills, creativity, and collaboration skill, and prepare them well to face challenges in different sorts of domains. Below are some tips for parents to support students in developing CT.
Tip 1. Encourage children to try
CT is a problem-solving skill, so the best way to develop it is to apply and practise it. When our children encounter a problem, try to encourage them to solve it with the CT skills learned. For instance, can the problem be decomposed? Have we faced a similar problem before? Is there any similar pattern with the problem we encountered before?
Tip 2. Explore and find the answers together
When our children have a question, we do not need to provide an answer immediately. Instead, we can tell them that “I have no idea either, but let’s find the answers together!” In exploring the answer together with our children, we do not only solve the problem but also enrich the parent-child relationship.
Tip 3. Learn from mistake together
CT is closely related to coding. If a set of code is not working to achieve what we expected, we should work together with our children to find out what went wrong and debug together! We often learn something valuable from the mistakes. Maybe we can discover a more efficient and effective way to rewrite the line, and we will even have a better understanding of the application of CT in coding!
Tip 4. Get parents involved
Parents' participation is crucial, particularly when supporting children to develop a new skill. Information sharing between parents and children can ensure that our kids are heading in the right direction and working towards the achievable goals, and it helps them master the new skills.
CoolThink@JC Family Workshop provides a way to support parents in developing CT through coding education with the children. Parents can visit the CoolThink@JC’s Facebook fanpage (www.facebook.com/coolthinkatjc/) for workshop details or visit the CoolThink@JC website (www.coolthink.hk/direct-coolthink-classroom/ ) for the workshop replay.
Seeking to inspire the 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. Since the launch of project in 2016, CoolThink@JC has trained more than 110 teachers from 32 pilot schools and benefited over 20,000 primary students with CoolThink classes. Following the successful implementation of the four-year pilot, the second phase of the CoolThink@JC is launched in 2020, with the aim of facilitating the mainstreaming of computational thinking education.