This report offers a framework for reviewing CoolThink@JC’s accomplishments to date and computational thinking education (CTE) initiatives in other jurisdictions.
CoolThink@JC aims to nurture students’ proactive use of technologies for social good from a young age, preparing them for a fast-changing digital future through hands-on, minds-on, and joyful learning experiences. After a successful pilot in 32 schools, CoolThink’s co-creators, led by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust (HKJC), have undertaken an ambitious initiative to take CoolThink to scale within Hong Kong, supporting high-quality adoption in 200 primary schools and laying a foundation throughout the system for more widespread adoption. By demonstrating success at scale, CoolThink partners hope to create a new paradigm for CTE at the upper primary level that will serve as an international model for other cities and states.
To capture the lessons learned from this effort, HKJC has engaged SRI International to study the implementation of CoolThink at scale. This implementation study will:
Assess the extent to which schools’ adoption of CoolThink is consistent with the initiative’s design principles and sustained over time,
Identify the conditions that support or impede successful adoption at the classroom and school levels, and
Validate an implementation model that will help interested stakeholders to learn from CoolThink’s scaling experience.
CoolThink partners began scaling CoolThink in summer 2020, when a third cohort of 47 schools joined the first two pilot cohorts in teaching CoolThink lessons. Drawing on data from teacher and school leader surveys administered between November 2020 and January 2021, this baseline report sets the context for the rollout of CoolThink in Cohort 3 schools.
This report is the first in a series from an implementation study being conducted by SRI International (SRI). The purpose of the study is to help stakeholders understand how CoolThink is taking shape in classrooms, schools, and systems, and to offer models for other initiatives as they seek to go to scale. This baseline report, based on surveys of school leaders and teachers prior to their implementation of CoolThink, focuses on conditions for success.
The Apple and ConnectED Initiative provides valuable lessons for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers about what it takes to sustain 1:1 programs in schools serving high concentrations of students facing socioeconomic barriers. SRI’s 6-year study of the initiative illuminates how key factors and conditions came together in some schools to keep their programs going and reveals some important lessons for future endeavors.
Experience has shown that sustaining the progress of 1:1 programs in schools serving under-resourced communities is hard, as technology requires upkeep and the initial burst of focused energy sparked by new initiatives can dissipate. The Apple and ConnectED Initiative was designed with an intentional approach to building a foundation for continued use of technology and to create conditions that would set school communities on a new learning trajectory, leading to continued deepening and expansion of technology use in classrooms. This vision of sustainability involved ramping up the provision of technology and integration support as schools were ready and then removing these scaffolds gradually to allow schools to assume local ownership of their 1:1 programs.
Through SRI International’s (SRI) 6-year study of the initiative, the Apple and ConnectED Initiative provided a unique opportunity to observe how sustainability played out across many schools over an extended time period. This report describes findings from the research about the strategies that schools used to address inevitable challenges to sustainability and what factors and conditions appeared to make a difference. It further addresses the dynamic relationship among these factors and conditions, which can lead to positive reinforcement.
Schools that appeared to maintain momentum of their 1:1 initiatives demonstrated a broad commitment to the program and shared vision for how technology could support instructional goals, strong leadership (often but not exclusively from the principal’s office), and community support. This shared commitment and leadership made it possible to put plans in place for mobilizing resources and devising ways to keep the program going. The continued use of technology and, in some cases, continued growth in practices and community engagement using iPad devices, produced visible benefits for key stakeholders which in turn helped to reinforce commitment.
This report focuses on implementation of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative with respect to the dual digital divides along socioeconomic lines in access to technology and its use in instruction. It describes why it was important to bridge those divides in the ConnectED schools and offers some lessons learned for others who are implementing similar initiatives.
Within and beyond the U.S., access to advanced technology for students and teachers is held out as a path toward educational transformation. However, in historically underserved schools and communities, this promise remains elusive. Many schools do not have access to the technologies that can open new learning opportunities for teachers and students (the digital-access divide). Even with increased access to technology, the use of that technology in active and creative ways does not automatically follow in schools serving high concentrations of students facing socioeconomic barriers (the digital-use divide).
This report explores the dual digital divides of disparities in access to technology and its use in instruction through the lens of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative, which has been the focus of a rigorous 6-year research study. It is one of a series of reports on the Apple and ConnectED research that address different aspects of implementing 1:1 programs that provide each student with access to a technological device.
Launched in 2014, the Apple and ConnectED Initiative has supported 114 participating schools across the country with an iPad for every child. Schools received a host of programmatic support including extensive professional learning opportunities for teachers and leaders, technology infrastructure upgrades, and process management. The initiative and this research are explicitly situated in a diversity of traditionally under-resourced communities, with schools ranging from pre-K to secondary and from the inner city to rural migrant communities to Native American villages.
This report presents findings from the Apple and ConnectED research related to
bridging the technological access divide, which refers to providing technological infrastructure, tools, and support.
bridging the technological use divide, which involves moving from passive consumption to using technology in active creative ways.
This report describes the methodology of Apple and ConnectED Research, a six-year study of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative that uses a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to tell a comprehensive story of implementation and outcomes.
Through the lens of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative, this report asks the questions, what does a promising start look like when you add technology to education and what types of support can enable conditions for success?
Technology, such as iPad™ devices for students and teachers, has the potential to energize classrooms and bring substantially new types of learning opportunities to children of all ages. These changes are not an automatic result of adding technology to education, and they often take place over a long period of time. This report asks the questions, what does a promising start look like and what types of support can enable conditions for success?
We ask these questions through the lens of the Apple and ConnectED Initiative, which has been the focus of a rigorous 6-year research study. Launched in 2014, the Apple and ConnectED Initiative has supported 114 participating schools across the country with an iPad for every student. Schools received a host of programmatic supports including extensive professional learning opportunities for teachers and leaders, technology infrastructure upgrades, and process management.
The initiative and this research are explicitly situated in a diversity of traditionally under-resourced communities, with schools ranging from pre-K to secondary and from the inner city to rural migrant communities to Native American villages. This report focuses on the first year of iPad use across these schools to describe the initial changes that might be expected to appear when sufficient support is in place to lower common barriers to its adoption.
The report describes early implementation in three successive stages:
Access: Many of the ConnectED schools saw daily iPad use across multiple subjects, even early in implementation. This level of use was facilitated by strategic and technical preparation prior to the introduction of the iPad devices, coupled with initial strategies for their instructional application. Daily widespread use demonstrated how universal technology access has the potential to “level the playing field” and broaden students’ horizons.
Integration: In classrooms where iPad use had become the norm, the learning environments looked different from those in typical classroom settings. In particular, iPad classrooms leveraged immediate access to rich information, offered new opportunities for expression, used technology to increase student engagement, and benefited from more organized and efficient workflows.
Innovation: In addition to more active and engaging learning environments, technology is often seen as holding promise to facilitate meaningful changes to students’ opportunities for learning. This study uses a framework for “deeper learning” to describe emerging opportunities for teamwork, critical thinking, and other skills that prepare students for success beyond the classroom. Teacher surveys and a review of lesson plans reveal some initial steps toward deeper learning for a broad range of teachers, particularly in the dimensions of personalization and communication/creation that were most directly enabled by the affordances of the new iPad devices. More advanced opportunities require careful and creative lesson planning, and were most likely to be seen in the classrooms of teachers who held deeper learning as an explicit goal.
1:1 programs bring initial excitement and, later, deeper learning opportunities. But sustaining and funding over time is a challenge. This paper shares insights on sustaining 1:1 technology programs in economically challenged K–12 settings, based on a large research study of an iPad program.
Measuring Chinese middle school students’ motivation using the Reduced Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (RIMMS): A validation study in the adaptive learning setting
Valid measures of student motivation can inform the design of learning environments to engage students and maximize learning gains. This study validates a measure of student motivation, the Reduced Instructional Materials Motivation Survey (RIMMS), with a sample of Chinese middle school students using an adaptive learning system in math. Participants were 429 students from 21 provinces in China. Their ages ranged from 14 to 17 years old, and most were in 9th grade. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) validated the RIMMS in this context by demonstrating that RIMMS responses retained the intended four-factor structure: attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. To illustrate the utility of measuring student motivation, this study identifies factors of motivation that are strongest for specific student subgroups. Students who expected to attend elite high schools rated the adaptive learning system higher on all four RIMMS motivation factors compared to students who did not expect to attend elite high schools. Lower parental education levels were associated with higher ratings on three RIMMS factors. This study contributes to the field’s understanding of student motivation in adaptive learning settings.
In today’s increasingly digital world, it is critical that all students learn to think computationally from an early age. Assessments of Computational Thinking (CT) are essential for capturing information about student learning and challenges. Several existing K-12 CT assessments focus on concepts like variables, iterations and conditionals without emphasizing practices like algorithmic thinking, reusing and remixing, and debugging. In this paper, we discuss the development of and results from a validated CT Practices assessment for 4th-6th grade students. The assessment tasks are multilingual, shifting the focus to CT practices, and making the assessment useful for students using different CS curricula and different programming languages. Results from an implementation of the assessment with about 15000 upper elementary students in Hong Kong indicate challenges with algorithm comparison given constraints, deciding when code can be reused, and choosing debugging test cases. These results point to the utility of our assessment as a curricular tool and the need for emphasizing CT practices in future curricular initiatives and teacher professional development.